Is Social Media Stealing Our Smile?

That smile. The one that starts deep in the gut, crawls through the heart and spills over into the eyes. A genuine “I’m so happy I cannot stand it” kind of smile. The kind of smile you remember feeling stretch across your face as a child – when you spotted a toy under the Christmas tree that your mom told you was too expensive, but Santa brought anyway. The kind of smile that makes other people want to lose themselves in the intoxicating bliss smeared across your face.
The kind of smile in which we could care less if we are sucking in our stomach for the picture. The kind of smile that is so pure, we never once wonder if the camera should be further away to hide our wrinkles. The kind of smile we don’t edit. Don’t photoshop. Don’t put a filter on.
In the social media world we live, we see people posting pictures everyday on Facebook. Smiling. Posing. Smiling solo. Smiling with others. Smiling with food. With Cars. Smiling on vacations. The list goes on. We have all done it. But you know what I miss? This kind of smile. It seems like social media is robbing us of it.  Maybe because we just take so many pictures these days. And share so much. Instagram. Facebook. Pinterest. We are inundated with a picture scrapbook of our life, and perhaps when we take an abundance of pictures each week, it all just becomes routine. And posed. In my dream world, I want us to get back to how it was when we had polaroid cameras.  That time when we took the silliest pictures and never had to worry about them being shared with the world. In many ways I feel like we were more free to let it all hang out back then.
I also wish we could all take pictures with careless disregard like children do. Dirty face. Mismatched socks. Messy hair. They don’t care. The spirited abandonment that comes with being a kid also translates to some amazing shots, with real smiles. You know when little kids are playing and you grab a random shot of them coming down a slide or jumping in the pool … they are never wondering if they look skinny enough or tall enough. They never look at a picture after the fact and critique their nose or their chin. They never ask you to crop their picture so it’s more flattering of them. No, they are just free. Free from trying to impress the lens. And other people.
Maybe the bigger lesson here … finding what truly brings us joy in life and doing it.  Every single day. Making the time, even if that means getting up a bit earlier or staying up a bit late, to do one thing that makes us happy. Not something we have to do, but something we want to do. Something that is selfishly ours only, that does not include our amazing children, friends, spouses or partners.
So here’s to you … genuine, unposed, unfiltered smile.  We haven’t forgotten about you. We have just been too busy snap chatting. But are coming for you!
And to you my sweet readers – may your laugh lines run long and deep.
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