I was having one of those "reminiscing" phases earlier tonight, trying to be careful not to drift off course and cross the line into the "regretting and dwelling upon" states. I was looking through some old pictures, which I enjoy from time to time. What I noticed above all, that connects with something I've been noticing a lot of in the real-time world lately too, is that a simple smile adds a ton of attractiveness to anybody, regardless of physical traits. Now, I fancy myself a pretty positive person these days, but I do have to admit one area I still lack confidence in is physical appearance. But it's a funny thing with that; the whole smiling thing seems to erase some characteristics you or others might see as "flaws" in your appearance. I noticed it on older pictures of myself, and I've noticed it on some of my friends' pictures on things like Facebook. I've noticed it in person too, when you see someone smiling. Even if you don't have the prettiest of smiles, such as myself.
Without trying to come off sounding too philosophical, it's almost like that facial expression is a window into the true essence of the person. And who wants to see or be mad or sad, right? A smile brightens a picture, and a smile brightens a mood. When I was younger (and perhaps am still a bit guilty of to this day), I used to get scolded by the elders in my family for not smiling for pictures. A large reason was I knew I didn't have a nice smile, with my crooked teeth that weren't anywhere near pristine white. Somehow I thought faking a grin would be acceptable and look better than me with a smile. I really didn't like taking photographs. Honestly I still don't for the most part, I'm just not very photogenic. But...
Man, I look back now and realize how I cared way too much about what others saw and thought of me, and how I really allowed that to make me way unhappier than I ever had any right to be. A smile illustrates and expresses positive and good qualities like confidence and just plain happiness in its purest and most unfiltered form. Have you ever found yourself smiling or laughing so big or hard but you just couldn't help it? I'm sure you have, and that's good, we need more of that. Forget everything else, forget money and stress and what anyone else thinks about anything - and just smile. None of that other stuff is worth anything, but a smile is worth a lot more than you might think. Another great thing about them is that they're totally contagious.
I have since gotten braces and have learned to smile more, even though my teeth and smile remain subpar. There's a popular quote floating around, that varies but essentially goes "what other people think of you is none of your business," and sometimes it's elaborated to include "if you start to make that business your business, you will be offended for the rest of your life." I've seen several variations and authors, but no matter who said it or how it was originally worded, it certainly remains true. I've learned firsthand that if you make it your business, it will grab you and hold you down, and limit anything you ever do. This is why a smile is so attractive, because it exudes confidence and says "I don't care what you think, I'm happy." It also tends to spread the happiness around. What I think of myself right now though is that it's getting late and I'm rambling, so I'll end here. Remember to smile, my friends.