"A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg
even if you are half-cracked."
I'm generally a friendly person and it's bode well for me for the connections that I serendipitously make. Yet, growing up in a traditional Chinese household, my tendency is still to keep to myself when walking down the street. Today, I decided to just smile and say "hello" to everyone!
Part of what happened was that while walking with a friend on the cliffs by the beach, there was a somewhat questionable character who seemed to be sauntering back and forth in a way that seemed he started following us. Alarmed, I walked up to a man walking his giant Akita towards us, made conversation and played with the dog, then began to change direction, so that we could go along with where he was going. From there, my friend and I split off and went back home.
While that was a perhaps slightly alarming experience, this was balanced out by my experience at the dentist's office. As I was lying back in the chair, looking through the glass windows towards the sidewalk above our lowered location, a young teenage girl walked by, peered in, then waved "hello" without my prompting. I smiled, waved back, and slightly embarrassed she ran to catch up with her friends. It was such a curious little moment, as though she were timid and shy, but wanted to be outgoing as well.
It used to be that when I was walking down the street, I'd have random strangers comment, "Smile! Why do you look so mad?" I had no idea I looked so furious, but my face reveals everything about my emotional state, and looking standoffish was my chosen protective mechanism.
In ways big and small, I find that smiling leads to many more worthwhile experiences. Including getting asked out on dates and inspiring students in my yoga class to remember to have fun throughout their practice.
I call it smile-asana.