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Behind The Smile – What Else?

Behind The Smile - book cover
Behind The Smile

Behind The Smile – but what else could be lingering there? A genuine smile is often contagious… it makes people feel good about themselves. However, is there something else behind the smile like sadness, deceit, or even danger? Have you ever wondered why someone smiles when they’re happy, but frowns when they’re sad? The answer lies in the coding of our brains, and some people have learned how to use smiling to affect us on this neurological level for their own purposes. Astute people can usually read warning signs, but that doesn’t always work.

Is it really just a smile?

If you’re wondering why some people seem to have an easy time smiling while others struggle with it, here are some things to consider:

1. People who smile often tend to have a positive outlook on life. They see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

2. Smiles are contagious. So when you smile, you’re likely to make other people react in the same way.

3. Smiling releases endorphins into our brains. Endorphins are natural painkillers that help reduce stress and improve mood.

What could be lingering behind the smile?

Smiling is one of the easiest ways to make others feel better about themselves. In fact, research shows that a smile can actually affect the brain’s reward system, making us happier than we would otherwise be. However, not everyone smiles at every appropriate situation. Some people smile in order to hide what they don’t want you to see. Think of the magicians and their distraction techniques, or the shopkeeper with the happy face, or the con-artist trying to sell you a pup.

Are You Smiling Because You’re Happy or Sad?

If you find yourself smiling when you aren’t feeling happy, then you might be suffering from a condition called “smile disorder”. This is a common problem among children and teens, but adults also sometimes develop this condition. Smiling is an automatic response to positive emotions. People who suffer from these disorders often have trouble controlling their facial muscles, so that they appear to be smiling even though they’re not. They may also have difficulty recognizing other people’s smiles because they don’t feel as genuine.

Behind The Smile – The Story of Lek, A Bar Girl In Pattaya

The theme of what can be behind a smile is central to Welsh writer Owen Jones’ epic series about a bar girl in Pattaya. Lek had been a happy child and adolescent growing up in a peaceful, not-poor, rice-farming village in northern Thailand. She had expected nothing more out of life than all the other girls born there for generations. That is, to work on the family smallholding, get married have children, work some more and then to retire to look after the grandchildren. So, had it been for hundreds of years.

However, Lek’s father had borrowed money from the bank – a new phenomenon, that he hadn’t completely understood. When he died suddenly from diabetes, the family was told to pay up or get out. It had been a shock, because they hadn’t known about the loan.

There had been only one solution. Lek, as the eldest child of four, had had to go to Pattaya to work in a bar. She missed her family tremendously, but worked in the bar smiling at the punters. However, she was there for ten long years, and all that time, there was something else going on behind the smile.

You can read Owen Jones’ fascinatingly poignant series here:

Behind The Smile: The Story of Lek, A Bar Girl In Pattaya

or the first chapter on this blog here: Behind The Smile

PS: Behind The Smile now exists in nine languages.

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