I want to talk about how I solved a problem that I’ve been struggling with for a while.
When I first moved to Seattle from my tiny Midwest town– everyone knows everyone’s name, USA– scary guys came up to me a lot. I asked my friends how to stop it, and without fail everyone told me I looked too inviting, too ready to help. I’m no more helpful than the next person, but I’m sure my face was saying something like “Sure, I can tell you how to get to the town’s ice cream shoppee”, it’s just the way I grew up! Sure enough though I found that putting on headphones, wearing opaque shades and looking stern drastically reduced my chances of being approached.
I was in a bit of a pickle though, because I don’t want to interact with the world in that way; one of fear and distrust. But I was defeated, so I walked on the streets for a year or so trying my best to look like a mean lean fighting machine.
Unfortunately –as you probably have gathered by this point– I’m not exactly the most intimating thug around. I can have the biggest scowl on my face, but it doesn’t really matter if I’m wearing my pink gauzy sparkly skirt that day.
One day, a couple of months ago, I stumbled upon this Ted talk:
There is one truly magical power that we are have: a smile.
It’s something so easy to do, it has such dramatically positive effects on yours & other people’s lives, and there are zero negative side effects!
It inspired me to think that this could be the solution to my cat calling pickle!
I thought: Why not smile at everyone you make eye contact with for 30 days?
The theory was that I would be happier walking on the streets overall, so the occasional cat call wouldn’t bother me. Plus all that smiling would be making me happier, just by moving the muscles.
There it is then, my master plan!
http://www.sparringmind.com/good-habits/ — some reading if you wish!)
If you know how to build/ break a habit it is my opinion that you can conquer the world. I’ve used the power of habit as a cataylst for personal development before: to lose 50 lbs, help become gluten free, and to stop drinking alcohol!
It’s been a couple months since I’ve made it. I’ve messed up a ton, by not smiling or getting upset at strangers. But, after a while, slowly & surely I’ve actually done it! I’m writing this post today because yesterday during my run, a random guy yelled some pretty gross things at me and it didn’t bother me at all! I think I even smiled at him. 🙂
It is really power to know that just a simple smile can make a real difference in my day to day life.
Let me know if you have had any experiences like this! Either with cat-calling, or finding out something really small that made a huge difference in your life.
Peace&Love – Molly Jo Sexton