I know that’s a really big title but it says it all about this post. I had an epiphany this morning at work. I am a nurse, not in the front lines, but caring for patients none the less, and I realized while I was smiling like an idiot at my patient, that they could not SEE that smile. After all I was wearing the prescribed paper mask. Who could tell what my face was doing. I could have been sticking out my tongue for all they knew.
Oh, my eyes crinkled, and my checks pulled upward, but my patients or even people just out in the community can not tell that I am smiling at them, if indeed I am.
If you google communication, I love google, you will find that our facial expressions are very important in completing the messages that we are trying to get across to others. Just say to someone “have a good day” with a frown on your face. They would probably look at you as if you were being weird. And that would mean that your facial expression didn’t match up with your words. I am sure you have heard that you should smile when talking with others on the phone, it changes the way the message is heard. Believe it or not.
When we are sitting with our arms and legs squeezed tight against our bodies, it tells someone we are probably uptight. The way we smile, or even if we are smiling, tells the onlooker if we are sincere.
Now there are people out there who don’t mean a thing they say even if they are smiling, but most of us mean it from our hearts, not just our faces.
Now, also think about all of us walking around with our masks on. What must the other person be thinking, or that child when they walk past, and this deep voice gruffly says ” have a good day.” How does that make us feel? Do we think that they really care?
When I was talking to my patients I realized that they didn’t have a clue if I was smiling or not. It made me feel a little sad. I want the patients to know that I am smiling at them. I want them to know that I mean it when I say I wish them a good day.
I think what I am going to start doing, if I am the required six feet away, is to quickly slip my mask down a bit and give them a quick smile when I walk past, as long as they aren’t coughing or sneezing.
This virus has taken so much from us, and the worst part is our closeness with each other. Not only are people important in our lives, but communicating with them, smiling at them, giving a nod of acceptance, goes a long way in wishing everyone a good day.
Another thing I am going to do is paint a little smile on my mask for my patients to see, nothing toxic, just a little marker. I want them to know that I am smiling when I talk with them even if it can only be through a smiley face marked on my mask.
Maybe we could make some smiley faces on paper, and paste them to sticks to wish everyone a happy day when we walk past. You know just give them a little wave. That might be a another of my great ideas. Oh, and as I always say, have a great day today, you and I deserve it. And stay well, hopefully the end is near.