I believe that a smile a day keeps the doctor away. I had discovered this belief at a fairly young age. However, it has lasted with me and I have lived by it since its discovery. I had had a rough week. One day when I was eleven years old, I had had a rough week. My parents had informed me that after 12 years of marriage they were getting a divorce, and I had taken it pretty hard. My grades were not what I was hoping for, and I was just unhappy. Sunday came around and in one of my classes my teacher gave me a remedy for unhappiness. I was floored that this was the topic of her class. This was exactly the thing that I needed to hear, at this moment. She went on to explain that while she had been shopping in the local grocery store something had caught her attention, nobody smiled. In fact people seemed to avoid eye contact with those around them. She said that this particular day she noticed how unfriendly the world could be. As she continued with her story she said that she started to play a game with herself. The goal was to make eye contact with another person who was not smiling and get them to smile. She said “You never know when someone needs a friendly smile to help pick them up. It doesn’t matter if you know them or not. Sometimes a kind gesture is all it takes to make them happy, in return you will find that you have become happier yourself.”
That was it? That small little act of kindness was going to make me feel better, and was going to make me happier? I decided to try it. What could it hurt? As I walked down the halls of school the next day, I tried to smile at those who I knew were the ones that could use a smile. I would look at them as they walked toward me, and wait for them to look up from their feet. When and if they did, I would smile as big as I could and even say hi. At first people just looked at me like I was going insane, and I got few responses back. I continued to do it throughout the weeks. Eventually people were ready for my smile, and were waiting to return it with a smile of their own. After doing this for a period of time, I had indeed become happier. I was serving those around me by simply smiling. One day a girl that wasn’t part of my main group of friends came up to me and thanked me for always smiling at her. She said, “ no one has ever paid attention to me before. When you started smiling at me I finally realized that there are good people in the world and you helped brighten my days when I couldn’t find anything enjoyable from it.” I was surprised to hear this. I had been trying to make myself happy, and yet I was able to make someone else happy at the same time. My smiling changed from being a selfish act to make me happy, to a giving act to make those around me happy. Small little acts of kindness as well as service can make the world of difference. It is working for me and I can only imagine that it would do the same for you as well.
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