This I Believe

joanna - s. willamsport, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Laugh It Off

“Turn that frown upside down.” This phrase is as well known as the song “If you’re happy and you know it.” It is also a saying that comes up in movies and in everyday life when someone is upset. To me, the saying is more than just something silly, it’s a life motto. I believe that laughter is the best medicine, and that even a small smile can change someone’s day. No matter what kind of day I’m having or how horrible I feel, as soon as I get a chance to just relax with my friends and have a good time, everything is better. I can’t say that laughing makes all my problems just disappear, but it definitely helps, and it gives me a chance to calm down and look at things in a different light. I think that my outlook on laughter and having a good time has a lot to do with my family and how I was raised.

From early childhood, my brothers and the other males in my family would pick and make fun of each other and me. Through this, I was able to gain a sense of humor. I had to learn to accept being made fun of and be able to dish it out right back. I think that I have pretty much always been a happy child, and it’s something that I can say proudly. I know that there were times when I wasn’t happy, and I was dramatic, but in the big scheme of things, I am lucky to have had the experiences I have, as well as to have come out of them positively.

About four years ago, my grandma died. This was a very challenging time for me. I found it hard to stay positive and try to keep laughing. One thing that my grandma had told me was to stay happy because nobody likes someone who’s upset all the time. I kept that in mind through all of the things we had to do for her funeral. Even though I wanted to break down, I knew that I had to stay positive, and I did. I stayed strong for my dad, and because I was smiling, I was able to pick him up and make him feel better, even if it was only for the moment.

To this day, I thank my family for bringing me up the way they have. I thank my brothers and uncles for teaching me to laugh at myself and be able to take an insult and turn it around. They also helped me be comfortable with who I am and accept myself. I also thank my grandma for teaching me to always keep my head up and look for the light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how bad things seem, they will always get better, and good things will come faster if you try to stay happy. That is why I believe that laughter is the best medicine.