When I was in Japan this summer I saw a sign in a Buddhist temple, and I still think about it all the time. It‘s written in Mandarin: “一個人笑，二個人笑，整個世界在笑,” which literally means: “One person laughs, two people laugh, the whole world laughs.” It is so simple and literal, yet it’s absolutely true. A smile is the easiest thing to give. Interestingly, not only do we not lose anything from giving, we actually gain much more in return. How many times has your mood been lighten because someone gave you a warm smile? How many times have you seen a sincere nod with a smile comforting someone in a situation that all other words could not?
Gautama Siddherta, a Hindu Prince who was the founder of Buddisum, once said, “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Like a candle, a smile is such a powerful tool that it never runs out. It brings happiness, hope, and “light” to others. Children are the masters at this; they understand this concept better than any other. They may not share a toy or share their snacks, but they give their smiles and laughs away like they don’t even own them. This I learned from volunteering at La Causa Crisis Nursery. La Causa is a temporary shelter for kids to stay at when their parents are in difficult situations and can’t take care of them. What I enjoy the most from going to La Causa is to see the happy smiles on their faces and their innocent laughs that make me laugh with them. I also share my smiles with the kids who come to La Causa, reminding them that people care for them and love them. Playing and laughing with them reminds me of the good things around me, always feeling contained and happy after volunteering.
A laugh is a smile with sound effects; it is also more contagious than a smile. I believe a smile and a laugh bring happiness to the world. Sometimes a joyful thought causes one to smile, but one can also turn a smile into the source for joy. I’m sure we all know the saying, “smile is the universal language.” When we’re travelling in a different country with a language that we don’t know, we probably know this statement by heart and smile to strangers all the time. However, how about when we are home, in our own city, in our country? Do we tend to forget to smile because we are too busy with our jobs and dwelling in on our problems? Maybe we can remind ourselves every day before we go to work or go to school. We tend to look into a mirror to make sure we’re dressed. But like Harry Connick Jr. said, “you are not fully dressed until you wear a smile.”
One’s smile isn’t a “limited supply.” I’d like to end this sharing a quotation by Augustine Mandino: “Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out share, SMILE, hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”
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