Amani Khalil

HR Business Partner, Johnson Controls (Saudi Arabia)

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Genuine Smile, Fake Smile but what about one associated with Pain?

Decided to re-post my comment as I would love others insight in regards to my question.

This video left me thinking; if we take out the real smile and the fake smile i am often amazed at myself (as a person who smiles endlessly) the sad smile. How is it that even through the most painful of times I as well as others are still capable of smiling, they maybe smaller in size from an actual happy smile yet still the only answer in that i can verify from my end is even with a sad smile i seem to connect the emotional vulnerability of realizing that even through the pain i could feel emotionally and physically a smile is there to comfort me, a selfish act that allows me to continue? Hard to articulate yet anyone else get my train of thought?

  • Aug 14 2011: I am somewhat qualified to get involved in this conversation and here's why. Twenty years ago i was in a horrendous accident at work. I fell off the roof off of a three story house we were building. Needless to say that thirty foot fall caused and left massive injuries from a broken neck and back to multiple other injuries.Many times i will smile and laugh because the pain is so intense if i don't laugh/smile and everything in between i will go completely insane from the pain. I have pretty much recovered from the fall but it has left my body racked with pain. I have found that my brain will start this laughing and smiling behavior for a couple of reasons one afterwards it has as doctors explained it releases endorphines in large amounts which is our own bodies morphine and yes it does intend help cut the pain down to bearable okay i don't have to committ suicide pain levels but when it's not enough i must rely on prescribed pain meds. So from my experiences that laughing and smiles truly does give us real relief from whatever is causing the pain whether physical or mental laugh and smile at the worst times in your life give it all you have it helps, i am walking living proof of the relief it really does provide us! Thank GOD for our own built in morphine on demand!!I just three months ago finally had to have back surgery and yeah smiling helps me get over the pain recovery is VERY long and VERY painful the trusty ole laugh and smile works as i use it as my most dependable drug!
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      Aug 15 2011: That is amazing Jeff, I think how you phrased your own experience makes it easier to comprehend and better relate. I wish you all the best on your continious journey of recovery, and would like to thank you for your insight :)
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    Aug 13 2011: I think smiling threw pain is an inspirational insight to the strength of a person’s character. People who can smile amidst trauma and pain can draw people to be more emotionally open in their own pain. I went threw cancer when I was 18 and found that by smiling, I not only found strength but gave strength to others. I found that being sick was sometimes harder for my family members to handle then it was for me and if I kept a positive outlook, encouragement flowed around me.
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      Aug 14 2011: Thank you Mandilyn for your participation. Because it is really strength like yours that keeps the most fragile of life connected, whether it is family, social standing, a Dr. or Nurse's faith and persistence as well your inner strength against turbelence. Smiling I am coming to realise more and more especially with your input, is a strength a defining aspect of character that a geniune few have been blessed with!
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    Aug 12 2011: The smile has been my ultimate guide into one's soul. I often judge people by their smile and I'm rarely wrong. So the smile has not only been a great source of information for me but an insight into the deeper part of us that we involuntarily let others see.
    Now the sad smile I believe can do many things 'cause it shows that even in the worst of times we can continue ahead. The world doesn't really stop when we aren't OK so I guess it is a way of us catching up with the rest who didn't know about our pain. Or just may be it it's telling us it's alright to feel hurt and that in the end "this too shall pass".
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      Aug 14 2011: I love your view Silivia, I do see how smile can and is used as pain management. Smiling is an important factor for me not only for myself but for others around me and important to me, I do feel as though a laugh or a smile in any situation is just as good as candy when you least expect it and most crave it. I tend concentrate on an individuals eyes more than a smile, but I also think what we concentrate on the most is somewhat a reflection of what we understand the most, if Smiling does it for you Silvia than you have an amazing spirit :)
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        Aug 14 2011: Thank you for the kind words, Amani! I only hope that your smile will express much more joy than whatever else it can. :)
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    Aug 13 2011: Laughter, and to a certain lesser extent smiling, can help the brain secrete endorphins. So perhaps it is a technique (like self-stroking) to soothe.
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      Aug 14 2011: True on the physical aspect of it. I think why I wanted to probe deeper into it is because Ron mentioned that the action can in itself cause a positive reaction even when not expected which is a fake smile. But i think Gisela that some of the answers provided below show us how others cope outside of the happy/fake smile, a smile that shows appreciation or as in your words self-stroking as a smile can also show us our strength at the oddest of times.
  • Aug 16 2011: i am afraid i need to make u not smile : my intuition just told me that when u roughly allways smile with positive and negative emotions , u are just trained to allways smile , its just a thing u do after maybe any emotion ... Emotions should be pure and logical , this does not feel so ... but on the other leg if u move ur ? 30 face muscles into a smile rationally , u still tickle ur smile centre in ur brain and feel a little betetr , so from that side u might be even right ))) If u wanna know the truth get drunk with ur best smartest friends and throw the whole show on the table , truth might come out , but who will give ut the pain ((*))
  • Aug 15 2011: Thank you Amani that was very kind of you to say!
  • Aug 14 2011: What I wanted to convey here is that since every person has his/her moment(s) of pain (regret, loss.....) and smile is the most basic medicine for human mentality, I think we use it as we face the moment may be to convince or protect ourselves or to bypass the situation. To me, I think every person has their own blackened moments in past that basically help us to grow up. While recalling or facing it we usually use a smile whether it is slight or burst out. This may be the reason why a smile can appear even if we are in pain.
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      Aug 15 2011: The psychological impact of our own smile have and always do provide more than we can really articulate, hence my first question on TED. I really wanted to see how others digest the difference and articulate it, so thank you for your insight. Each response has shown that we have taken more than a split second to answer because there is no universal answer but what works for each of us individually :)
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    Aug 14 2011: A smile is a sign of joy and hope...
    A smile teaches you how you can remove the clouds of mope. a smile takes away your confusion and gives satisfaction....
    so let the world smile!!:))
    forget abt the Fake smile.......
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    Aug 14 2011: Emily Dickenson wrote

    Hope is the thing with feathers
    that perches on the soul
    and sings the song without the words
    and never stops at all.

    Smiles communicate joy, appreciation and hope. If we know how to look, one of these is present in every human experience.
  • Aug 13 2011: Happy thoughts, happy talks, happy faces, happy smiles - see all around
    What is this feeling that reminds just to not be happy
    Haven't said nothing to no one
    Haven't said "the word" yet to the one
    Haven't yet said I do to anyone
    Kept smiling with happy faces
    Kept talking with happy words
    What is this feeling that just embraces not to be happy

    Teared eyes with smile on the face
    Heavy heart for painful moments
    A smile is there expressing happy tears

    As if it's a musk - not getting loosen up
    Afraid to loose it up -
    Afraid to show, show the face that's behind
    that's not the same I usually have.
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    Aug 13 2011: Don't know about your smile as I see in the photo here.
    My almost all smiles in my Saudi time were either fake or with pain that I can say now with a happy :)
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      Aug 14 2011: My Smile or Happiness is not dependant on my location. Ive grown up in Saudi and have spent my other half outside of Saudi. Sure it is easier to be carefree and happy go lucky outside of the Kingdom because of the availability of extra activities. But I have had and still have and look forward to amazing memories here, my closest friends I have grown up with here make me smile day in day out. I think it is more about who you surrouned yourself with rather than where you are and this is showing to be ever so true even with my new friends and acquintences.
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        Aug 14 2011: That's good you are enjoying being adaptive may be as you born there.

        Not really , I am not talking about being carefree or availability of extra activity to be happy in any location.

        Smile has got great power that's for sure , the proof is my fake smile & smile of pain in Saudi in situation of extreme discrimination & humilation, at least it did not run in to further extreme :)
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          Aug 15 2011: Alhamdullah it didnt go further, but I completely understand wher eyou are coming from some people here just discriminate based on so many levels because of their mentality. I apologize on there behalf but such people are present in any country. And No I was not born here nor was my early toddler years here :)
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        Aug 15 2011: My fake smile or smile of pain was good for me as well, otherwise I could be just dead or in jail, because further extreme defintely would ignite me to explode....................

        Well because of my job I travelled a bit and had to live in different countries also other than Saudi, I didn't see such rampant discrimination anywhere believe me. Moreover discrimination and humiliation depending on colour, country of origin is institutionalised in that HOLY place.

        Actually my father also uttered "Alhamdulillah" when he heard my next location going to be Saudi , I never broke his belief & heart by telling what the reality is.....

        Going back to topic actually I believe the saying "laughter is the best medicine"
        Nothing to be sorry from your part Amani. Thanks & have a good day :)
  • Aug 12 2011: Well, smiling does more than say "Im happy." It also says "Im friendly and I like you." I dont know about you, but I tend to make my sad smiles only towards another person relating to me while I am sad. I dont sit around crying alone and smiling. So I think sad smiles are more a show of friendship and appreciation for those who are with us in our moment of sadness and grief, than they are about happiness.
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      Aug 14 2011: Alyson you've actually made a great connection that I overlooked, appreciating a friend in a time of personal need. I like you smile with or for a friend during the hardest of moments and if it is a friend going through a rough patch I try to make them smile atleast once a deep genuine smile that gets them past their concerns even if it only lasts a moment. But personally, yes I am alone sometimes when my smiles arent so happy which is why i was more curious about others insight (instead of my own self-analysis) :)
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    Aug 11 2011: Power of smiling brought to mind an American author, and his public description of his own emotional and professional breakdown. Fitzgerald published a three part essay called The Crack-Up. In that essay he has a section on the smile he intends to create for his empty self. http://www.esquire.com/features/the-crack-up
    You won't feel good after you read this, but I think you will be fascinated by the section which begins..."I will get me a smile..."