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Be the Reason Somebody Smiles Today

Be the Reason Somebody Smiles Today

Having seen a slogan on social media, ‘Be the Reason Somebody Smiles Today’, Fiona Cook, Director of Training, reflects on what she might do to make someone smile. She highlights a gesture like this in Transactional Analysis is known as positive strokes.  Enjoy watching or reading Fifi’s reflections.


I read this slogan on a social media platform the other day and it got me thinking. First of all wondering about what I could do that might help somebody to smile, then who I might want to see smiling and then wondering what helps me to smile. All quite deep questions.

I realised when I thought about what I could do and who I might like to see smiling that it would depend on who it was and how much I knew about them. For example, I might smile at a stranger as I pass them by on the way down the road, or let a driver out of congested traffic in rush hour, or stop to let a pedestrian cross the street. Fingers crossed they would accept my gesture and be appreciative and maybe smile?

In Transactional Analysis gestures like this are called Strokes which are otherwise known as units of recognition. They let us know we exist and are so important we actually need them daily to survive. Sadly, in life we often accept and take in negative strokes because they are better than no strokes at all and it can take time to be thoughtful to either offer and/or receive positive strokes. I realise how intentional it can be to provide others with positive strokes and help them to smile. We have to be thoughtful. The better I know someone the more intention and knowledge I can put into my thoughtfulness and ‘tailor’ the stroke I hope will make them smile.

The other thing that I know of myself is that culturally I often think and notice nice things about someone, but for some reason I don’t tell them, or I might think of something nice to do for someone and then I don’t follow through and complete; yet I know when I receive genuine positive strokes they always make me smile. So often helping people to smile costs nothing or very little in financial terms. And I realise how helping others to smile, actually helps me to smile and feel better in the world because I also gain something in the process.

In this world where there are many things that seem to be against us, I wonder what we might do a little bit differently to help us all to smile more. Stroking others can cost little but can be priceless in helping another feel better about themselves. Have a wee think today of something you could do for somebody that might bring a smile to their face, no matter how small. Notice how you feel…and then do it more of the time.

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