The SMILE tool

This a tool created by Alison, who also has a visible difference.

“I thought I would share the strategy that I made up for myself when I was in my teens:


S = speak – for me it’s the most important way to let my personality override my disfigurement.

M = mix – take up a new hobby, go out, meet people – it’s hard but worth it.

I = ignore all the magazines, celebrity culture which promote the idea that if you’re not beautiful you live a wretched life – it’s just not true. Magazines have always been full of these supposedly ‘beautiful’ people.

L = live. There are many occasions when I could just have closed the door and never gone out again but it would not have been a life. Having a life however hard initially is really worth it in the long run – it has taught me so many valuable skills in handling other people and my disfigurement.

E = eye contact. I always maintain eye contact with whomever I am speaking to. It helps me to be more assertive, to show that I’m comfortable with my appearance and also to show that I’m listening to the other person.

And above all do SMILE – it has broken down many barriers for me.


Feel good tool


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