smiling leaf

I’ve been thinking lately about how much we all experience pain and suffering. Not exactly an uplifting thought, I admit. Yet, when I think about being human, I think that throughout all time, every one of us endures suffering, some more, some less. What a condition, this human one is!

A moment ago, a new client phoned me. As we spoke, I asked how he found me. He mentioned that he’d looked at dozens of therapy websites and what attracted him to me was my smile — not what I said about therapy, not all my education or experience. It was my smile.

“Wow!” I thought. In the midst of his suffering what touched him was my smile.

Of course, a smile evokes diverse thoughts, feelings, reactions. He said when he saw my smile, he thought, “Someone is happy out there.” Another client who had also responded to my smile said, “I imagined sitting across from a smiling face and thought that happiness, or at least a degree of contentment, was possible for me, too.”

As the holidays are upon us, I am aware of those who have much, those who have enough, and those who have little. Perhaps, in the midst of the holiday shopping craze (not that I don’t like a gift here and there), what we can give one another is a smile. I’m talking about an authentic smile, one that comes in a moment when we see another and recognize something human and shared. I believe we are hungry for warmth and acceptance and perhaps a smile conveys, at least for a moment, that the person you are smiling at matters. And that, I believe, is a wonderful and meaningful gift.

Happy holidays to all.