Smile!

Rong - Wilmette, Illinois
Entered on November 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

What do you do when you’re sad? Do you cry? Do you sulk all day? Do you isolate yourself from the rest of the world? When I’m sad, I smile. I know that may seem strange, but what I mean is that I try to cheer myself up and not live in my mistakes and make others feel miserable too. I believe that if you smile, people around you will smile, too.

At first, I thought the opposite of my belief. I’d always frown and act cranky when I got sad. I’m generally a stubborn person, so convincing me to feel better or to stop worrying about something is a pretty big challenge. People began to steer away from me. Once, I ignored some advice my friend gave me about playing volleyball and leered at her. The next time I did that, I didn’t hear her giving me the same advice. I wondered why she didn’t remind me again, but I never thought it made a difference if I was sad or happy.

However, I had a very close friend who was optimistic every time I saw her. I never knew what the origin for her happiness was, and I never bothered to ask her either. I never really noticed the big difference between her attitude and mine. She always joked around and tried to make me feel better, while I was less energetic and funny. One day though, I found out she was going to move away. I was sad, because she was a very close friend of mine, but when I asked her how she felt about moving, her response was quite different from how I reacted to the news. She thought that moving away was a good thing because even though she was leaving all her friends, she had a chance to make more and she would have more opportunities (such as more activities in school and experiencing all the events that happen in her new neighborhood). I was astounded by her answer, but it made so much sense to me. I then saw how her point of view about the world makes everything seem like a nicer place, while mine does the opposite. After talking to her recently when she came to visit, it turns out everything she said was true. I realized that being glad about something is much better than looking down on it.

I remember watching the news on television one day. The news anchors were interviewing a girl, probably seven or eight years old, that had could not walk because of a medical condition. She had to use a wheelchair all the time, but it hardly affected her at all. Even though she didn’t have the ability to walk, she cheered for others when they were doing something she couldn’t do (like playing a sport). While the host of the show questioned her about how she overcame the obstacles in her life, I noticed something. The ends of her mouth were pointing upward and it looked like she was smiling. It was a sincere smile, not a smirk or a forced one. How could a girl like her manage to talk about something as saddening as the medical condition she was in? She was really strong, being able to know that everything was okay and that she was fine. After seeing that show, I realized that I really wanted to be like the girl on the news and my now distant friend.

Now I am much more like both of them. When people try to make me feel better, I no longer shun them away and walk to my own remote, melancholy corner. Most likely, I am now the one trying to cheer others up. Don’t get me wrong though, everyone gets sad sometimes and can’t control it, including me. But cheering people up is something I find myself doing at least once a day. I find it fun trying to make others laugh and look on the brighter side of life, so I think I’ll be doing that from now on. So remember; smile!