I was running this morning and I passed an older man along the way. He waved and said “hello” and I responded back with a “good morning.” That is all. He smiled, I smiled, and I kept running. It happen to be close to my turnaround spot and so I passed him one more time on my way back home. As I passed by him I said, “In case you don’t lap me again, I hope you have a good day.” He laughed out loud and said that was very unlikely. I smiled back and responded, “Well, just in case, have a good one” as I waved and kept running.
There isn’t anything exciting in that interaction, no hidden meaning, not some plot twist to unveil. But there was power. Power in those few seconds of positive interaction.
The struggle is real
See, I struggle when I run. It is not easy for me. Even though I’ve been back at it for weeks now, it is still a difficult activity for me. I have heard from many people that running is a mental exercise and I believe that 100%. The mental chatter in my head can be especially hard on my run days. When the chatter is especially loud and negative it’s always harder for me. I am very much an over thinker and my running can activate that mechanism like a tidal wave. The crazy part is running is also my antidote for the inner critic, but that is for a whole other discussion.
The inner dialogue is one thing, but when I pass another person, that adds a whole other element to my experience. There is something about seeing/talking with someone when I’m exercising. I know it’s because I feel vulnerable. I mean, I am exercising. I’m hot, I’m sweaty, and I’m trying to summons all my energy to just keep going. There are all the feels going on and I’m trying to navigate through them and keep going. So when someone smiles or says, “good morning” there is a boost that I can’t explain in my physical stamina. It just feels good. It is only a second of activity. But it impacts me.
An unexpected boost
This is where the power shows up. When someone smiles, waves, or simply gives me an acknowledgement they see me, there is a surge of energy that is transferred from them to me. It may originate as benign or neutral, but I receive it with incredible positive intent that gives me a surge I need to keep going.
When the guy laughed this morning, I instantly smiled back and reaped the benefits. Because up until that interaction I had been telling myself that I was going to walk the rest of the way, and feel just fine about it. But a simple smile enabled me to run the rest of the way and finish my run feeling strong and satisfied.
I won’t spend hours analyzing the power of positive interaction but I will take this moment to provide you with living proof that something as simple as a smile, a morning salutation, or even a wave, can be more powerful than you may imagine. Simply stated, never underestimate the power of your smile.