In my first job as a Counselor in a school, I was advised by well-meaning people not to smile in front of students and to maintain a firm composure. I took the advice. Only that, I chose not to act on it!

Wearing a pleasant smile is the best and priceless piece of natural ornament one can adorn oneself with. It is the best gift one can give away to brighten someone’s day. Smile wins hearts and springs sparks of hope where there are none. Smiles are powerful!

Years later as I took up my second job, this time in a Government sector, I was again advised not to smile (Not that I smile too much!) And, this reminded me of the similar advice rendered to me as I was entering my first job.

It made me think – why is man ready to trade what is original with that which is artificial – to barter what is human with what is mechanical and what is intense with what is superficial? Are we training ourselves and others to burgeon into emotionless machines? Why are we so easily, without any fear or remorse, tampering with the original design God has carved us with? Just to suit our interests? We have enough AI-enabled robots these days, making their presence felt in different fields! We need not manufacture robots out of men!

The higher primates like chimpanzees are known for facial expressions that are interpreted as smiles. Though there isn’t (and cannot be) any recorded evidence of the first human smile, I searched online for the first recorded smile.

Google sprang up the following picture with the details.

(Photo from the National Library of Wales)

The photograph is simply labeled as ‘Willy’. It shows a young man with close-cropped hair and dressed in fine clothing, including a collared shirt and jacket. Willy is looking at something amusing off to his right, and the photograph captured just the hint of a smile from him—the first ever recorded, according to experts at the National Library of Wales. Willy’s portrait was taken in 1853, when he was 18.

While ‘smile’ is not an emotion, it is the external facial expression of inner joy and/or happiness. I’m not in the least suggesting that people everywhere ought to be garrulous giggling geeks all the time. To smile when required, relaxes the person who smiles and also the person/s smiled at. I fondly remember a teacher of mine who taught me Psychology in Senior Secondary classes. No matter what chapter she taught, no matter what questions were asked to her by the students, no matter how her health was (she suffered from severe arthritis), a smile was always writ on her face. That gave all the students not only the joy of learning but also a sense of confidence in themselves. Undoubtedly, Psychology went on to become the favourite subject for many who were taught by her!

God has created humans in His image and has infused His Spirit into us. This means that He has also infused emotions into us. And, He expects us to be emotional beings – expressing and appreciating the expression of emotions and feelings in ourselves and others.

The Bible says –

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,

But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Proverbs 15:13)

Can one rejoice with a serious grumpy expression? Can the heart be merry while wearing a pensive countenance? Well, at least not unless one has latent malicious intentions or is too good an actor!

People with a rare disorder of lifetime facial paralysis called Moebius Syndrome can’t smile. How they wish they could smile – but they are unable to! And, there is no cure to this condition. Those with Cleft Palate especially children, though can smile, are generally hesitant to smile because of fear of ridicule, bullying and inviting weird expressions from people. That is why we have organizations like Operation Smile, Mission Smile, Smile Train that assist in reconstructive surgeries to repair the damage and help children / people smile again.

On one hand, we have people who wished they could smile. On the other, there are those with the ability of wearing smiles but increasingly habituating themselves to suppress them. What a paradox!

A quote reads thus – “People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.”

If you are blessed with the ability to smile, never stop smiling. If your circumstances threaten to rob you of your smile, make the necessary amends so that you can continue smiling and exhibiting your God-gifted radiance. Smile is a powerful way of emoting the naivety of the heart. Don’t kill it.

Smiles are infectious! One smile elicits another in return. And, so the chain continues. Smiles are good reality checkers too! If you don’t get a smile in return for yours, its a red signal that not all is well at the other end.

If you are a person with grim life circumstances that have shackled you from all sides so that you seem to have lost your smile, remember that God loves you. You and your circumstances are not beyond the reach of the Creator of the heavens and the earth. No matter how harsh people or situations in your life may be, the overwhelming boundless love of God is sufficient to lighten your countenance with a genuine smile proclaiming out loud that God’s grace is sufficient.

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa

My Prayer for us: Lord, help me to be the human you made me. I need your strength. Amen.


  1. Fabulous article this one, Rajnandini. It was really sad to know about such rare diseases like Moebius Syndrome and cleft palate which do not let human to express themselves naturally when they are joyful. That’s an information as well.

    Loved the opening of the article where you began with your first job and then the second job. Loved also the way you made the readers understand how we humans are turning into robots. Analogies are beautifully presented.

    Fitting Scripture portions were used very appropriately.

    God bless you abundantly!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.