The Power of a Smile

Are you smiling right now? Probably not. I’m certainly not. My brows are furrowed, and I’m squinting at the screen.

So let’s take a moment, and do it. Smile. I’ll do it too.

Go ahead…It’s okay, I’ll wait…

Done? Feel better? Me too!

Every single day that I am here, I am in awe of the power of smiling, because every single day I find myself having to use my smile as a way of communicating.

Let’s be honest here, no matter how much Rosetta Stone I did before I left, and no matter how many times I look at our Spanish language book, my Spanish skills are pretty lacklustre. I find myself hyper aware of my body language on a daily basis.

We’ve all read those stats “93% of communication is through body language”, and I’ve never believed it more then I do now. Some of the most wonderful interactions I’ve had with people throughout this trip have been with no words at all.

Case in Point:

A few weeks ago, I took a bus to Liberia to meet my family at the airport. During the drive we drove into several remote towns, far away from the Coastal communities we had been staying in. We made one stop in a very small town, and parked outside a house, waiting for some riders.

I looked out my window, and saw a beautiful young Costa Rican girl. She was probably 6 years old, wearing pink shorts, and a white flowered top. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and she was gazing blankly up at the people on the bus. In an instant, I thought about what she must be thinking about this gigantic bus full of Gringo’s parked outside her little house. In that same instant, I caught her eye, and gave her a huge smile.

What happened next was so simple, yet will stay with me for the rest of my life. She smiled back. She smiled back in a way that lit up her whole face. One of the most beautiful, genuine smiles I’ve ever seen. I could literally feel my heart grow warm, and goose bumps grow on my skin. We communicated more in that moment, then we would have if we sat down and talked for an hour. Our interaction lasted less then 3 seconds before we drove away.

I’m going to remember that little girls face for the rest of my life. And am now more concious then ever of the power of a smile. Ever since then, I have made a point to smile at everyone that I see.

It is a powerful gift that we all have. I think that we should use it more often.


Are you still smiling?? I am.

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

4 thoughts on “The Power of a Smile

  1. Hi Kate!
    What a wonderful post about communication. I know what you mean about making that connection with that little girl. One time in Venezuela I went on a jungle tour up in the mountains and we went along a road in our jeep in the jungle with trees hanging over the road. All along the road were pockets of people living. As I love children so much I was drawn to these three little boys with large brown eyes and beautiful white teeth. One looked African and the other two looked Latino. As I could only say “Hola, gracias, and a very few other words to them it was difficult to have a real conversation but I gave them some candy and got some very big smiles and hugs. I took their picture and they were thrilled! I will always remember that and wonder how they are doing today.
    Take care. x

  2. That’s one of things I like most about the Panamanians. Their smiles seem to light up their whole face. It was similar in Costa Rica too – friendly, happy people. The children are absolutely adorable! You are right, a smile and a “hola” lights up the moment for both of you.

  3. Pingback: Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go | Hostels and Hot Rollers

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