This I Believe

Stephanie - Schertz, Texas
Entered on February 3, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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“Find a Reason for Your Smile”

When one smiles without true happiness, they might as well be out in a snowstorm in shorts trying to pretend that they aren’t cold. It just doesn’t work. Everyone can tell the difference, and life is miserable. So instead of fooling others into thinking that you’re happy, you only accomplish a sore mouth.

When I was younger, I always looked at the magazines by the checkout, and it amazed me that the celebrities were so happy and smiling all the time. When I asked my mother why, she simply told me, “Looks can be deceiving.” As I grew older, I began to recognize the truth in that statement, and realize that anyone can paste on a smile, whether they’re genuinely happy or not. Then I began to wonder if everyone was faking their happiness. However, I know now that it’s the inner joy that makes people smile. I know now that if we have that joy, even when things aren’t going good and we aren’t cheerful, we can still have a sense of contentment and peace.

I believe this because when I was eight, my great-grandfather died of acute leukemia. He and I had always been very close. “You’re Grampy’s girl,” he would always tell me. After he died I was devastated. I told my mother that I was too sad to ever smile again. She knew that with time I would heal, but she didn’t try to reason with me. She left me to cope and heal in my own way.

After some time had passed, I let go of my solemn promise and resumed my happy life, realizing that he’s in a better place, and doesn’t have to suffer, and struggle any longer.. Although I’m still saddened when I think of his death, it doesn’t have to destroy my happiness, and I know that he wouldn’t want me to spend the rest of my life miserably. I know that I am blessed with many people that love me and want me to be happy as well. Also, I love them too much to focus only on the sad things, or to just fake my happiness. With the help of my friends and family, I’ve found true happiness, and many real reasons to smile. Everyone should find a real reason to smile. This I believe.