Appreciation and a True Smile Back

Have you noticed how many parents instruct their children to smile back or say ‘hello’ when you first meet them?

In my part-time work at a supermarket checkout many families come through every day and I enjoy looking into the eyes of the babies and children because I find that in the way they look at me they are truly seeing me and feeling who I am, exploring who or what is there to be felt. So I look at them and sometimes I can feel that we are truly connected in that moment and nothing more needs to be said or done.

But the parents, wanting their child to ‘be polite’, often instruct the child to smile back or say hello: it feels like they are being asked to perform on behalf of their parents.

In reflecting on my own childhood, and that perhaps I was brought up in the same way, I wondered if I sometimes smile to be polite too?

I know that in my work it is expected of me to smile and be nice, and I can switch that on really easily, but it feels so much lovelier when the smile is a genuine one from deep inside, one that arises because I am enjoying the experience of truly meeting another person – be they adult or child – and my inner playfulness simply and naturally bubbles up, and I naturally smile back in response.

I feel a true smile like this also comes from appreciation. For example, I was recently in a conversation with two beautiful ladies who were expressing their appreciation of me and as I felt what they were saying, my whole body responded with a delicious warm feeling and I began to smile because it felt great. As they watched me, I noticed that they were smiling back in response and our smiles simply grew and grew with the gorgeous feeling of harmony that was developing between the three of us – they appreciated me and I appreciated them in that moment.

And that is what I am learning – to appreciate – both with others and myself.

I was on a course run by Universal Medicine recently where we did a practical exercise on listening to others with appreciation: it showed me how much I listen with judgment, and that judgment of another is impossible if we listen with appreciation… and when we express that appreciation, the true smile cannot help but be there too.

I have found that truly connecting with and deeply appreciating another human being is a heart-warming experience.

Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

By Carmel Reid

856 thoughts on “Appreciation and a True Smile Back

  1. I will have to try the exercise of listening with appreciation. I am so interested to see what I find. We don’t know if we are judgemental till we choose to shine a spotlight on our own behaviour.

  2. I agree Carmel truly appreciating each other is a heart warming experience and when we are able to open up and connect deeply with each other and feel the equality within us both we cannot but truly smile from our heart with the joy of connecting in this way with each another.

  3. ‘Listening with appreciation’…..as I read you blog Carmel, I could feel how much I also listen in judgement, not from the appreciation first. I just had such an aha moment and that others would feel that is how I listen. I will be looking at how I listen going forward and more importantly, listening with appreciation first.

  4. Recently, I have been in judgement of another and was not listening with appreciation. But the reflection was in how much I still judge myself ( an ingrained pattern of mine). Time to let that old habit go…..

    1. When we smile from who we are we cannot but help to light the world with the warmth of our glow.

  5. Thank you Carmel for spelling this out so clearly as often I get caught in going into judgement or reaction to others and to hold them in appreciation feels like a simple and great way to undo this pattern. I guess when we appreciate someone we are connecting with their essence and their qualities and seeing that first before anything else including any behaviours or traits that we may find disturbing.

  6. .”And that is what I am learning – to appreciate – both with others and myself.” Gorgeous Carmel. We are so quick to judge and condemn. Appreciation serves everyone and then those who receive it go on to appreciate others……

  7. Recently I was writing an email on what I felt might be a difficult subject and I had no idea how the recipient was going to respond. I went through all sorts of drafts, it took hours, and the one I truly clocked was the one in which I was trying to be ‘nice’. It was long and complicated and didn’t feel great. It’s funny how we feel the need to apologise, justify, and weasel our way out of problems we’ve created… all so that other people will ‘like’ us. In the end I made it polite and short, just saying what I needed to say with no fluff – and had a beautiful response back. We can waste a lot of time being ‘nice’ and it is not necessary.

  8. Doing what we are told instead of doing what we feel, is a sure way of learning to disconnect from our innate ability to read, feel and respond to energy i.e our clairsentience.

  9. When we listen with absolute presence, we are given everything that needs to be said in that moment without a moments thought.

  10. I also know the smile we can put on to get us somewhere. To do nice to people because we know they are useful in our plan. We can be very manipulative with our smile. The best smile I know is the one which is making the belly move or shake. That we laugh from the inside out. That smile from within.

  11. This is beautiful Carmel: “I have found that truly connecting with and deeply appreciating another human being is a heart-warming experience”.
    By this one sentence, and the addition of this one life – it is known that through loving appreciation of oneself, appreciating another is just simply a heart-warming growth, just like loving yourself!

  12. There is no need to be ‘nice’ because that has a horrid, sticky energy, that can feel draining. It’s far better to simply be open to feeling what is needed in each moment and express from there, with no imposition.

  13. Truly listening and observing others is an art that we appear to have lost in the hustle and bustle of modern day life. But it is an art we definitely all need to all resurrect to revitalise our quality of relationships we have with each other.

  14. From the other side of the counter as a customer I also find connecting to people, who appreciate a smile and being connected to, in a way so that they can be open and natural in their conversations. This brings a joy and smile to faces on every occasion.

  15. Carmel the insidious nature of being polite is something that you’ve clearly exposed deeply harms our children, in many ways it is abusive to ask someone to smile or say hello when they don’t truly feel to do so. Asking someone to do this because we are wanting to be polite further compounds the issue, the problem and the child soon learns that what they feel is less important than playing the game.

  16. What a sweet blog Carmel. You remind me how so often I make conversation not because there is something to say, but to relieve a tension. That tension seems to come simply from what I feel. Sometimes I sense that if I just cleared this conversational junk out of the way, I would not be able to stop myself from feeling the love and care that is there and the connection that is possible with everyone around. Rather than choosing to fill in life with obstacles and verbal walls, today I am inspired to experience and feel and appreciate.Thank you.

    1. This is a great comment, Joseph, to talk in order to relieve tension, yes, I think I do that too – the silence feels awkward because in the silence we are feeling and the talking stops us from feeling, as you say, the love and connection that is naturally there. Perhaps the tension is us not living and expressing the love that we naturally are.

  17. I love the concept of connecting deeply to another and listening with appreciation rather than any form of judgment… this is something the world is truly lacking and as such is suffering from.

  18. When parents carry a picture of how they and their children have to be in the world, we have to play certain games to fit in and be accepted, to appear good and nice. Living according to pictures keeps the world in a comfort zone, where truth is being hidden and reflections for evolution are not lived.

    1. I have seen great evil cloaked in a smile and if we do not discern the quality of that smile as either expressing the warmth of love or not, we will fall hook, line and sinker for it every time.

      1. It goes to show the importance of discerning by what we feel and not just going with what we see with our eyes, because when we feel what is going on we can be aware if the smile is coming from deep joy or an emptiness

  19. Reading this blog Carmel has allowed me to appreciate the little moments I have at work with the many customers who come my way. I have one little baby girl who comes in with her mum quite often and we always have a deep look into each others eyes. Her mum always wonders why she does this and I simply tell her she is admiring the beauty she knows she is. We always have a laugh and a chat and it feels so lovely to note that we don’t have to hold this for just children but we can have these moments of connection with everyone. A very cool way to spend a day at work.

  20. I was just walking into my house when I felt it was time to slow down and be present with myself and my movements and how much I appreciate being with others and the smile that connection brings.

  21. Your words today leave me reflecting Carmel, how much of our lives are tainted by reciprocation. If we see someone offer something we offer it back. We listen to tales of woe and say ‘oh yes that happened to me too’. Like a multiple choice quiz we know exactly the answer that should be supplied, in each situation and happily fill in the blanks. But is it true, is this how we really feel? Is this what we actually had to say? For when a connection is there, there’s no need for this game of energetic ping pong at all.

    1. ‘…this game of energetic ping pong’ what a great expression! Yes we do follow up stories with more stories or swap experiences, this is so true! It’s like sharing a brotherhood but in a false way.

  22. The quality that is felt, of a smile that is naturally shared as the result of a loving and honouring connection with another, is a deep confirmation of the oneness that we are from, appreciated and known as such in the moment. With this quality of smile there is a divine richness that is shared, in our being together in Soulfulness.

  23. From very young, I have had this belief that I looked angry/miserable/serious without a smile and that was repelling people away, and there have been some periods when I was very conscious to smile to show that I am not angry/miserable/serious. But the truth is I WAS angry/miserable/serious and I don’t think putting on a smile changed anything.

    1. Well said, Fumiyo, the rest of our body language will tell the truth and our put on smile will only generate a feeling of mistrust. That’s why we may feel that certain sales people are untrustworthy because their smile is laced with a need to close the sale.

  24. I love observing children they are some of our greatest teachers. I know if I have any expectation from them in either returning a smile or saying something they just look at me slightly bemused and walk away. Children can feel if there is anything other than truth being presented to them.

  25. Reading this I felt like smiling, and it is true what you have written Carmel, when we genuinely smile it comes with a different quality than smiling because we have to, and is infectious.

  26. Your words remind me Carmel of looking at a stunning sunset and how there’s a warm feeling inside that just rises up. It is like you can’t help but feel connected to nature and wonder and so it’s almost impossible not to smile, even if it is just on the inside. This morning I went walking in a market and practiced feeling the connection that was there between me and everyone else. The more I did this, the more I found people just started to open up and be with me. From here the smiles we shared felt amazing, confirming, instead of looking for, the beauty we are.

  27. Reading through some of the comments above reminds me how we often adapt our behaviour to give off a certain image, to please others, or to keep the peace, but that is not a true representation of who we are. When we let ourselves be fully seen, warts and all, and we are open to truly seeing and feeling others, there is a whole different level of communication that feels amazing.

  28. I so loved that blog Carmel, it’s so simple. When we appreciate another nothing but love flows through our body. Appreciation being the key to living the love we are.

  29. In the appreciation of oneself there is a confirmation or a reminder if you like of all that we are, so when we appreciate others we are also confirming them which they can feel and their sweet smile shines through.

  30. “Listening to others with appreciation.” These words really stood out for me Carmel and with it the realisation that the more we build a consistency in listening to ourselves with understanding, care and true appreciation the more we naturally appreciate everyone equally in the same way.

  31. Agree Carmel, sometimes we smile just because but I have also found that a smile can actually confirm the joy that I hold within me but are not always accepted and being let out so the smile can also be at least for me a rewiring of the picture I hold myself restricted by.

  32. Appreciation can not be played down for how powerful it truly is. Learning to appreciate myself has had a huge impact on all my relationships as I am develop more love and acceptance of myself this has naturally extended to everyone I now connect with.

    1. This is true, Anna, when we appreciate ourselves it gives us a confidence which takes away the anxiety about what other people think, therefore we are less needy in our relationships, which leaves other people free to be themselves.

  33. Gorgeously and simply put Carmel – appreciation is the antidote to judgement and thus it is the quality that allows us to see another for who they (and we) truly are and not the layers that may get in the way of this essence.

  34. Appreciation is really important, and beautiful to read how through appreciation of yourself, you were able to smile and expand the joy with everyone else, it is lovely when we smile from the inside out, and everyone gets to feel it and join it.

  35. Appreciation is such a fundamental key to our livingness, it is one thing we crave, and yet cannot give it to ourselves. Perhaps, once we have mastered it, we can inspire others, particularly parents, to live with appreciation for absolutely everything, because even the Bad Stuff is teaching us something by reflection.

  36. It’s beautiful how true appreciation doesn’t leave room for judgement and that doesn’t mean that we can’t be discerning of the energy another is coming with but that we don’t react to it if they feel off by condemning them.

    1. This is such a great observation, Fiona, we often react emotionally to other people and what they do or say, but if we can read the situation that helps us to understand and see past the behaviour to the beautiful essence within. We all have a reason for doing what we do, and if it comes from a past hurt, there is nothing to judge. We certainly do not need to take anything personally because it is all down to energy.

  37. What teaches children manners is the fact that they are respected at the same and equal level to adults – then they will naturally respect and express in a way that is true to the situation, with respect.

  38. I have come to understand that appreciation is a total science, it keeps deepening, and the more I express with it in my movements the more beauty and joy is reflected back to me confirming that which within.

  39. “it showed me how much I listen with judgment..” Until I read this I hadn’t quite realised that so often our default position is to listen with judgement, to wait for the other to say something we can use to justify our feelings of either superiority, inferiority or any other position. It’s a truly awful way to be with ourselves and others and will only foster comparison, separation and more judgement. Appreciation is the powerful antidote that wipes out judgement in one fell swoop.

  40. Learning to smile for others when it does not come from a true impulse deep within, is one of the first signs of a child choosing to shut down their clairsentience (their ability to feel the world) and opting instead to play ball with the societal ‘norms’ (that have strayed so very far from our true normal) that keep us living in separation to the great love that we are.

    1. That is true, Liane, and we can feel the difference: when a child smiles from its innate natural joy, we can’t help but smile back and we can feel it through our whole body, whereas when a child smiles politely, we move our lips into a smile to be polite back, but it’s not a whole body experience.

  41. I agree, when we appreciate others and ourselves it is like a light bulb goes off inside. We fill ourselves up when we appreciate.

  42. You cannot fake a smile. People know if you are putting on an act or not. No one is dumb when it comes to this level of communication with each other. Sometimes a fake smile is the most imposing as it is covering up something that is not wanting to be shown.

  43. A smile explosion! I love it Carmel and can definitely feel here, and recall for myself, times in which that same kind of warmth has grown in my body and bubbled up into an uncontainable and delightfully contagious smile. Delicious : )))

  44. Carmel it’s great what you share about how we easily listen with judgement rather than appreciation. What we don’t realise in that moment, that energy is felt by the other,our body language is so obvious that we don’t even need to say the words. But when we truly are smiling from within and appreciating ourselves and another, in that moment, that is truly felt and that’s when they too cannot but smile back in truth.

  45. With developing appreciation of myself so I have found it is so much easier to appreciate others and to smile from my heart.

  46. Listening to others with judgment is so insidious that most of the time we do not recognise that we are doing so. Realising this, as you share Carmel, is a game changer that opens up a whole new way of relating with people, which I have found cannot help but result in the appreciation of them.

  47. Children have a heightened level of sensitivity something we forget as adults. They are beautifully clear and very aware energetically of what they feel around them but they begin very early in their lives over-riding this innate way of being in the world. What an lovely experience to have re-connected you Carmel back to the true essence felt in a natural smile. As I feel appreciation in my body now, I can feel a natural curve playing with my lips as a smile begins to find its way out.

  48. What I love about babies is they do exactly what they are feeling, they really look at you, they refuse to look at you etc they don’t do anything to please or be polite as you share here Carmel. We call being polite socialisation and a good thing, but in truth it is the opposite of how we should be raising our children or being ourselves. I work with children who have autism and aspergers so they don’t ‘do’ normal social cues that well, but I love that they just say what they are feeling or thinking, but we find that awkward and rude. We are along way off from being ourselves on a daily, moment by moment basis.

    1. This is so beautiful, Vanessa, society may describe the children you work with as ‘abnormal’ but from what you write, they are the normal ones because they are still in touch with their natural expression.

  49. Yes Carmel, we are instructed by our parents from a very young age to be polite, smile and/or hug adults. Its interesting to observe how often young children don’t want to.

  50. I am often aware of how many opportunities in a day there are to have these smiles that grow and grow Carmel. There are opportunities with every person I meet, and when I skip over them or find myself trying to get out of connecting as fast as I can, then I really miss out and I quickly feel the regret. It is part of self-care to let the appreciation and connection settle into the body.

  51. “I have found that truly connecting with and deeply appreciating another human being is a heart-warming experience.” Absolutely Carmel and it also deeply confirms each person too and that feels so very beautiful and so very needed too. Thank you.

  52. You just can’t fake a true smile as it does things to the whole of your body not just the lips, ever part of your body shines and emanates that warmth and glow that a smile is. Anything else is just a poor version of what really lies within.

  53. I was recently part of a women’s day presented by Natalie Benhayon and we participated in a practical exercise where we were appreciating each other’s qualities – it was amazing, and I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time, with in appreciating the others in my group and in appreciating myself – it makes such a difference to our day when we appreciate everything and everyone around us.

  54. It’s possible to smile and greet someone in mild irritation, to present a nice face but underneath be saying ‘I disagree with every word you speak’. It’s common to put on a front that seems pleasant to others eyes, but below that be upset or jealous of them. No wonder we are sceptical and cautious to accept and embrace the smiles that we see everyday. Yet all of this does not discount and cannot block out the simple fact that we also have immense power to convey the truth, God’s Love and grace, just in a single look. The difference is just the intention and energy we choose to do these things in. This great example that you give Carmel shows how every act in life can become magical and loving too if you connect to you and remember the truth.

  55. I love it when I meet someone I don’t know and the moment of lights up with the joy of connection and a smile burst back – just the same as with a friend I know intimately.

    1. Jenny, this is lovely – I am discovering the same thing – in the past I wouldn’t have dared look a stranger in the eye – now I smile and say hello to everybody and (they don’t all respond) sometimes I get the most amazing smile back, as you say, a beautiful moment of connection with another human being.

  56. That sounds a great idea Carmel, listening with appreciation, ‘and that judgment of another is impossible if we listen with appreciation… and when we express that appreciation, the true smile cannot help but be there too.’

  57. Appreciating another is also an appreciation of one’s own qualities and a double love bomb. Appreciating another is an opportunity to see the essence of who we all are and that is an awesome opportunity of connection we can encounter always.

  58. Medicine talks about ways to keep our heart healthy and learning to appreciate is definably a great way to do this.

  59. I can relate appreciation of another with a smile by being with myself. For eg as I walk in the joy of being consciously present with my body I cannot help but be open and warm to others by receiving them from the warmth and appreciation of who I am.

    1. Indeed Rik, everything we experience is a reflection of how we live our lives, as what we live within we will meet in the outer world.

  60. In my upbringing I too was told to be polite and be friendly with people while nothing in my body felt to express in this way. I can now feel that with this imposition I was told to not listen to this inner feeling but instead to neglect these and instead made politeness and being friendly as my way in life.

    1. This instruction to be polite or be nice is insidious in our society and a child who speaks absolute truth is sometimes considered rude and told off. As a result we live from lie to lie, no-one getting the reflections they truly need and so nothing changes.

      1. Exactly Carmel, nothing changes and we keep repeating the same patterns over and over again. While we think we are advancing on the outside, we actually are not and keep each other in this conundrum of not living the truth that lives within.

  61. Yesterday I spent some time with family and a young baby who is not yet one. Everyone was so determined to get him to smile, they even threw him (gently) in the air to get him to change his expression. Yet this didn’t work but when I looked in his eyes and held him on my chest he seemed to communicate so much more than you could ever say – the universe and the stars were in there too with the rich colour and his big retinas too – amazing! It felt so great and like we knew exactly how each other felt. So why do we so callously settle for a surface expression on our face when we are always saying so much with our every cell, if we just are willing to stop and listen? Thank you Carmel for helping me stop today.

    1. Oh wow – a moment of truth – the need to have a baby smile is a symptom of our general neediness and when we love ourselves from the inside out, it gives a baby permission to love themselves too and not to feel they have to perform for anyone. I love this sharing, thank you Joseph.

  62. I have had this experience too Carmel – to me it highlights how deeply affected everyone alive has been by not feeling loved. We are so scarred by feeling rejected in our life, we gear everything around making others feel safe. If only we could see that this just perpetuates the misery, after all, we were the ones who dropped the Love ball in the first place. This rejection seems real but is just a game.

  63. Thank you Carmel, listening with appreciation is something I am going to do, and explore that with everyone. Your observations of children really show how there is so much communication is already being exchanged without the need for the child to be made to smile.

  64. In fact you can say that we have bastardised our smiles as they often do not come from that inner place of sacred stillness we all carry within, but instead are from complying to a picture, like being polite and to not to show our real face.

  65. This is beautiful Carmel. When we listen with appreciation, we are allowing space – and this space the other gets to feel themselves. It is a very precious stop moment – and how beautiful it would be if this is what we allowed for each other – our children absolutely included.

  66. There are some great comments here, thank you, every one deepens our appreciation of a true smile. I recently sat with a friend in hospital and as we sat in silence just enjoying being with each other, our smiles deepened and we commented on how much we appreciated each others company with no need for conversation.

  67. It is interesting to consider that we have a true smile, that emanates from deep within and is genuine and invites us to connect, while we too have that superficial smile, that we might have learned from young because we were told to do so. But in this superficial smile there is a protection, like how a dog is showing his teeth, telling you to not come any closer.

    1. This is true, Nico, when we understand that our body language can be read by everyone, what is the point of offering a smile that is not truly from the heart – it’s like telling a lie. Our body always tells the truth so even if our lips are forming the shape of the smile there will be a part of us that tells a different story. Too many of us learn to shut people out at an early age and we miss out on the true brotherhood available to us all.

      1. Indeed Carmel. But the question remains with me that while in fact we all know this, that we actually do love people to the bones and want to connect deeply all the time, why have we made life about protection and security in which we try to avoid this connection continuously?

  68. It’s actually disgusting to feel how underneath a smile made with no real connection is an energy of avoiding true connection in the first place. Being polite actually feels imposing as you are trying to be something rather than simply just be you.

  69. A smile from that divine place deep within, not from being polite or of obeying any etiquette, is an invitation for others to connect to that same divine place in themselves too.

  70. With judgement we can feel superior and safe “distant from that specific situation or person”.
    But what if that is actually the energetic imprint we give in our relationships with others. Plus is this safety, actually safe or actually very imprisoning and lonely?
    To judge we have to separate as we all have a free will to choose and live life — who are we to judge another? Powerful blog that presses on the right and such important (urgent) bottons and asks the needed questions. Become aware and ponder on these.. When we seek truth we will always find it.

  71.  ‘It showed me how much I listen with judgment, and that judgment of another is impossible if we listen with appreciation’. This is such valuable wisdom Carmel. When love and appreciation are felt we leave no room for judgment to enter.

  72. From my observation children are generally raised, as you have expressed Carmel, to ‘do the right thing’ yet it seems we are not questioning whether this way of living is supportive. It appears we assume these forced behaviours are part of living as a respectable human being yet ignore the fact that they rob us of our natural expressions with each other.

  73. Appreciation is such an important foundation for life. The smile that beams out is so very natural. You just can’t help it.

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