I kept walking past people, and smiling at them, but no one would return my smile. Instead, they would look the other way, or look down at their feet. In a short time, I started to become discouraged. Suddenly, this quote from St. Francis of Assisi popped into my head:
"All the darkness in the entire world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle."
This sparked some thinking about darkness versus light. I was the light on the campus, and the darkness was the unfriendly attitude of everyone around me. The darkness may seem to be a crushing force, but, in reality, it holds no power whatsoever. The only pressure that is exerted is psychological. The light, though it be all alone, has equal, if not more, power because it can hold off the darkness all by itself.
In other words, I can let myself be discouraged in a world that is too busy to acknowledge a smile, or I can continue to smile, because the choice is whether I want to stand up to an unfriendly world, or let it squish me. I have nothing to lose by smiling at strangers, and I could even potentially gain some smiles in return.
Completely random, I know, but that's how my mind works. Hopefully you can gain the courage to smile at people, no matter where you are, and spread a little more light in this world. :)