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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

The Smile Behind the Mask

I am not a huge fan of taking "selfies," but there was a wonderful piece on CBS's "Sunday Morning" today with the same title as I have given this blog. The title immediately caught my attention because of the mask that I typically wear these days when I am out and about. It is reversible, so I can "chicken out" and wear it with just the white side out. But after seeing this piece this morning, I have decided that the smile side is the one that I should always be using. Jim Axelrod made an important point about what we are missing especially these days when we wear masks when we are out in public. Our"smiles are the grease that oils our interpersonal communications". They are our "most efficient" way to express warmth, safety, empathy, compassion and gratitude. Smiles are contagious. "They lift the mood of both the source and the target of the smile." Covid has "robbed us of this critically important tool to connect with each other." Axelrod continues by suggesting that wearing masks has created a "structural change in the way we live." Covid has "literally wiped the smiles from our faces." For now all we have is our words. The tone and inflection of our words have never been more important than now. They are the "new smiles." In a mask to mask world the golden rule has become "People can't feel what they can't see. " He closes by suggesting that we can all become part of the solution by finding "other ways to smile." Whenever I wear my smiley mask, I am always noticed, and often complimented, certainly more than in the pre-mask days when it was only sometimes that a stranger would tell me that they liked my shoes or shirt. This, I think, proves Axelrod's points. When I received my smiley masks back in June and took a picture of me wearing one of them, my daughter's response was that it was funny, "creepy and creative." Ordered as a lark last spring when wearing masks was first suggested, I had no idea that wearing mine would be just a small way to communicate with others in such an important way. I am glad that my mask is doing something so positive and I don't have to depend solely on just my words and how I am delivering them. If you are interested in getting some for yourself, here is the link to Printerpix where I got mine.

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