This I Believe

Viviana - Ponce, Puerto Rico
Entered on September 7, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

The day I came to understand the power of a smile I was 12 and it completely changed my perspective of life. I was walking towards the car after I had forgotten my beach towel. Across the parking lot there was a grandfather playing with his granddaughter. As I approached the scene, a smile painted itself across my face as if it where a reflex. When I walked past them the grandfather looked me in the eyes and smiled. It almost felt like his happiness took over my body and no words needed to be said. Good afternoon and have a nice day where said in a split second. My eyes filled with tears of joy, and the hours that followed seemed to be perfect.

At first, it was difficult to understand how the smile of a stranger could unleash so many joyful emotions within me, but as I played the scene over and over in my head I realized that it was the part of the smile that is not visible to the eye that made it so significant. It was a smile filled with love and happiness, a smile that was sincere and came straight from the heart. Because of that very smile I was able to understand what true happiness meant and the effect it can have on someone.

I then decided that what I once learned from the grandfather at the beach I would apply in my personal life; and somehow try to pass along that feeling that I still remember so clearly. Day in and day out, I tried to seal all of my actions with a smile. I smiled as much as the hours on a day would allow me. Not only did my attitude change, but I also became an optimistic. As the problems became less and the opportunities endless, it felt like if I was looking at the world from someone else’s eyes.

As people would smile back at me or comment on how contagious my joy was, I realized that the most important thing about smiling is that it has as much of an effect on others as it has on yourself. A thank you followed by a smile will help someone feel proud of their actions. A hello followed by a smile will help someone feel welcome. But most importantly a smile without a reason can inspire individuals to live in happiness, at least for a day.

Every time I exchange a smile with someone I feel like something is being said, that somehow that person is able to stop thinking about everything that surrounds him and appreciate a smile.