When I moved to a new city, I longed for something. And it took me some time and a mini-experiment to regain what I missed. The people in this city could have been very friendly, but I had no way to sense that. Not too many smiling faces. Very busy and some stern faces in fact. Plus I was a stranger, in a new land, and I felt like an outsider. I missed being an insider.
I tried a little experiment and saw some pleasant results.
I used the “mirror neuron” theory. It’s simple. We have special neurons called the “mirror neurons” which simultaneously sense both the move the other person is going to make as well as the feelings concerned with that, and immediately prepares us to both move and feel the same way. (Source – Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman).
So on my walks and runs – which I love to do, I decided to see how I could put in the effort to consciously greet strangers even though they were busy in their thoughts and worlds. And all I did was put on a smile, and acknowledge them.
And as expectd almost everyone I smiled at smiled back, though some quite reluctantly. Many people like me are new to this city as it has a high expat population. And a smile from a stranger was not what they were expecting. Some reluctant faces, but I was not giving up. Smile and the world smiles back at you was working. But it was working at a deeper level. I realised that later.
Many days later even when I had forgotten about my mini-experiment, I had started receiving more smiles & acknowledgments from absolute strangers. Now this was interesting. What had transpired this shift?
There is a theory in psychology that emotions are the result of physiological changes and not the other way around. So we see a bear, run and then fear. Not fear, and therefore run.
So it had happened! My new state of being was more “positive and happy” as a result of my mini-smiling campaign. And the “mirror neurons” in others sensed and reflected the same back at me. As a person radiating positivity I automatically received more smiles.
Hurrah to that “crescent” on these faces!!