I'm a teacher, and each year I begin with a unit on short stories so that I can ensure students have a grasp of the components of literature. My students read and even write a short story of their own. Saying that to say... stories have been on my mind a lot lately.
Every Sunday is my long run day, which lately hasn't been that long, but I digress. And every Sunday as I near my neighborhood, I pass the same two ladies. This morning the contrast was striking.
Grumpy lady is first. She always looks absolutely miserable. I always put on my biggest, happiest, most cheerful smile and say, "Good morning!" She frowns, keeps her head down and continues on her grumpy way. I pass her and scrunch up my face in a bigger frown than she was wearing.
Happy lady comes about 1/2 mile later. She always looks cheerful. Seeing her brings an enormous smile to my face. I know she is happy. I can practically feel her joy as I run towards her. I want to give her a hug and invite her to have coffee. I feel like I'm a better person for just having passed her on the street. Her cute little housecoat and slippers (EVEN in 85 degrees and 70% humidity) just make me smile. I often find myself hoping that I see her on my morning runs.
So, there it is: the power to influence people without a word. Everything about you is telling a story-- the story of you. What are you wearing? Not just your clothes. Your attitude about life, others and yourself is written on your face and carried in your body language. Each one of us has the power to impact the people around us without even saying a word.