My daughter’s resting face is … severe. Her friends kid with her about it, and people often tell her to smile more. But I tell her, “You don’t have to smile if you don’t want to, but when you do feel like smiling, we will all be in awe of your radiance.” When my girl smiles, it’s like a thousand suns have brought joy to the planet. Her smile may be infrequent, but its brilliance is rare. She can flash her fake smile at any moment, but her true, breath-taking smile only comes when she experiences genuine joy. Not only does her smile transform her, it transforms everyone in her presence.
Transformation. I have learned a few things about transformation from watching the evolution of my daughter’s smile.
Transformation is easier when you live with childlike wonder. When my daughter was little, nearly everything brought her joy, so she beamed frequently. As a child, she felt free to fully embrace and enjoy whatever she encountered. As she has become a teenager, cynicism and self-consciousness keep her from allowing herself to revel in her lived experiences. Similarly, transformation most readily occurs when we open ourselves up to it. As we age, however, we fill our minds with limiting beliefs that tell us we are too old or too tired or too fill-in-the-blank to become anything different than we already are. Consider what makes you truly smile. Who are you in the moment of that transformation? How can show up as that version of yourself more often?
Transformation happens when you are ready. Telling my daughter to smile will produce nothing genuine from her. At best, she will flash her fake smile and go about her business. At worst, dour lines will etch her face as she replaces her resting severity with annoyance and anger. Likewise, people transform on their own schedules; prompting from others will not produce transformation. You can prepare yourself for transformation by listening to God and living consistently as who He created you – the amazing individual with gifts and talents and passion and drive and uniqueness – to be. How are you preparing for your next transformation?
Transformation will run its course. And then run it again. And again. Once begun, the unquenchable brilliance of my daughter’s smile lasts until it stops. She occasionally tries to stop her smile, but she can’t. It dawdles in her eyes and cheeks, in the way she wrinkles her nose, in her breathless speech, in her body’s energy. Sometimes her smile lingers for hours; sometimes it only lasts for seconds. Sometimes we go long stretches of time without seeing her smile; sometimes we see multiple smiles in a day (although rare). Transformation also shows up as an irrepressible force, doing its work until complete. And it will come back to you again and again. What transformation are you looking for next?
Transformation changes people. My daughter’s smile, whether brief or extended, morphs her entire being, and we are all the better for it. Transformation, great or small, creates lasting change in you. People around you not only notice, but they also respond. Some people don’t recognize your transformation, but they recognize something different about you. Some people realize you’ve changed and may respond positively or negatively. Whatever the response, transformation in you precipitates change in others. How have you transformed and how has your transformation influenced others?
Transformation, like a smile, can happen frequently, can shine briefly or linger, and it can bring people closer to their true selves. Are you ready to transform?
Please comment below to share your transformations. And if you need some help navigating through a transformation, please contact me for 1:1 coaching.
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