It is a powerful form of nonverbal communication, which expresses emotion, transcends language barriers, reduces stress, elevates mood, makes you appear more likable and even lengthens the life span.
Before I go any further, please check out the video below, which covers many salient points of smiling.
It was an ordinary summer day in LA when I took this photo of myself with my cellphone.
I was leaving a Wienerschnitzel where I was immensely complimented on my smile by a staff member.
This was not a random occurrence for me. I smile a lot and I'm ordinarily happy, so people pay me much heed.
However, this encounter did make me think more about my smile as it relates to the development of other areas in my life (e.g., character, self-awareness, self-determination, self-respect, etc.).
I've come to understand over the years that diastema is more than a cosmetic blemish.
Gapped teeth are a cultural stigma and have become an indication of social status.
I think I have been able to successfully combat and reduce this stigma in my life by merely and unapologetically showing my unaltered "pearly whites" off to the world.
I do not have many adolescent memories of turbulent trifle about my teeth; snide comments and rude remarks were almost nil or perhaps they were implied and went unnoticed by me (e.g., covert as opposed to overt criticisms).
Perhaps I smiled so much and so big that I gave the world no choice but to respect my happiness and reciprocate it.
Nevertheless, growing up, gapped teeth did distress others I knew because it would sometimes cause speech impediments or raise issues with their health (e.g., nutrition), which was unfortunate for them but as for me, I was fortunate not to have problems with my speaking or well-being, so I never faltered in my allegiance to myself (e.g., got braces or had cosmetic surgery).
Furthermore, my smile made me feel validated as a member of my family because many members had gaps too (e.g., legacy) and I felt that it managed to garnish my individuation from peers (i.e., I liked to be different).
I've never been conceited about it either, simply confident in my whole self because I was always taught at home that I was an Afrikan, born into a legacy of Afrikan people that are powerful beyond measure despite whatever plight they face.
I believe understanding at a young age that I am kin to these people and that I am apart of their literal hope for the future, has always made me:
But I digress, the point of this post is the general power of smiling.
It is one of your superpowers that can empower others.
You can use it to change the atmosphere inside you and that is stronger than the atmosphere around you; your smile is infectious and it can be used to overpower many of your tribulations.
All of your physical flaws are just unique identifying marks and it's irrelevant if anyone doesn't like them because there are 10x more people in the world who will love them plus you'll love yourself in the end.
Your past (e.g., individual or collective) is just that; now you have the opportunity to master your fate and rule your future. Do so with a smile!
I would like to dedicate the following song to all those with less that perfect teeth. Don't be ashamed of yourself! Keep your twisted grill, just to show the kids it's real.