Chapter6-4 : Things that pleasant people have in common A smile and a kindly look double your appeal
We all want the people around us to have a good impression of us; to have people think “What a pleasant person he/she is!”
If in fact you practice cultivating certain attitudes recommended in Buddhist teachings, people’s impression of you will greatly change for the better.
These are the Seven Types of Non-material Giving that Shakyamuni Buddha speaks of.
They refer to seven sorts of kindness that one can practice even without money or possessions.
If you practice the Gift of a Kindly Gaze and the Gift of a Peaceful, Joyous Countenance, which are among the seven, you will find that the impression people have of you greatly improves.
The Gift of a Kindly Gaze means that you interact with those around you with a warm, gentle look.
“Eyes tell us more than mouths do.”
“Eyes are the mirror of the soul.”
As these sayings indicate, nothing reflects such complex tonalities as a human being’s eyes.
The gentle radiance that can fill a human eye has the power to console and to encourage others.
People who are “down,” in particular, can be reinvigorated simply by receiving a gentle look from another.
When meeting someone for the first time, it is far more effective to send the person a friendly look than to say something clever and witty.
If you receive a friendly look from someone you are meeting for the first time, you will certainly not think that person a bad man or woman.
If you give the impression of being someone who is easy to talk to, the conversation will naturally go well, and it may turn out to be an unexpectedly fine encounter.
Even someone who does not much like to talk can be thought of as “a really nice person,” “someone you can relax with,” and “someone who can make any situation comfortable for others.”
There will be some who wonder, “How can I come to have a ‘kind, friendly look’?”
The answer is to direct your gaze to the other person’s eyes.
When you greet someone, you should look into his or her eyes.
Just doing this will have a great effect on the impression you leave behind.
And, when the other person starts to say something, you should look into his or her eyes.
Now, if you continue looking steadily into someone’s eyes, they may tense up and find it difficult to continue speaking, so after about ten seconds, you should shift your gaze to his or her mouth or chest area.
Then shift back to looking into the other’s eyes.
From time to time you should nod and say something like “Yes, I see.”
If you maintain this series of actions, the other person will be impressed at how carefully you are listening to what he or she has to say, and will have a good impression of you.
The Gift of a Peaceful, Joyous Countenance means interacting with people with a gently smiling face.
You give others the present of a smiling, gentle face.
Not only in Buddhism, but in medicine and psychology as well, there is plenty of evidence for the positive effects on health of a smiling face.
There is an old proverb that goes: “A smile a day keeps the doctor away.”
A smile raises one’s immunity and thus helps protect against illness, and medical science tells us that it has the effect of relieving stress and aiding relaxation.
It has even been linked to weight loss! Psychologists tell us that, even though it may be a forced, artificial smile at first, as you continue to smile, you will feel more relaxed and your spirits will lift.
When you smile, the impression you leave on those around you is greatly improved.
You double or triple your charm and appeal, and smiles come back to you like echoes from those around.
Your human relationships start to go very smoothly.
There’s no need to see this in negative terms, thinking, “I’ll force a smile just to get on with everyone.”
When you realize that smiling is good for relieving stress and improving your health and looks, you’ll naturally want to practice smiling.
And that is good for you and for those around you, bringing relief and vitality to everyone.