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A Smile Goes A Long Way

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

“A smile goes a long way, but you must first start it on its journey.” – Helen Keller

It’s a pretty common saying and I’m positive most of us, if not all of us, have heard this saying a numerous amount of times. 

Me? I like to smile. I often find myself smiling for the smallest things. When my food’s ready and warm from the microwave, when I finish reading a story that I enjoyed, when the movie I was watching had a good ending… Of course, there are also the big things to smile about. Your loving family and friends, your career, your pet, or maybe you’re about to get married. That’s a good thing to smile about!

This  saying has become quite common, it’s pretty much a cliché. But it’s also completely true. Clichés are cliché  for a reason after all. It’s because they work, they make sense.

The thing about smiling is that most of the time, it isn’t just for yourself. It’s for everyone  around you. Do you have any idea how impactful a simple smile can be for a stranger walking by you at your local grocery store? That woman you smiled at may have recently lost her husband in a car accident. That little boy you offered a grin to gets bullied everyday at his school. The teenage girl that you happened to smile at? She struggles with depression everyday.. 

And that smile – that simple little movement – might be everything that the person needs.

I didn’t fully understand that until my second year of high school.

I don’t remember the entire day clearly. I’m pretty sure I’d had an uneventful and rough day. But, I was in the cafeteria, eating lunch with my group of friends. We were in the middle of our usual chatter and enjoying ourselves, when two students approached our table.

One was a girl in her senior year who happened to be selling tickets for a sports event. Beside her was a boy in my year who had down syndrome. I’d passed by him several times in the hallway, but I didn’t know him very well.

The girl was talking to us and asking us if we wanted to buy tickets for the event. As she and my friends were speaking, I glanced over at the boy next to her. He noticed me looking and turned to me. I smiled at him and waved, kindly saying, “Hi! What’s up?”

I wish you could have seen the look on his face. I will never forget it. His whole face lit up like a kid receiving gifts on Christmas. It was utterly adorable. He waved back at me, then came over and gave me a big hug. 

I was astonished. Of course, I hugged him back, how could I not? After we hugged, the senior girl turned to us with a grin. “Hey, is that your friend?” she asked the boy.

“Yeah! She’s my friend!”

From that day forward, whenever I saw him in the hallway, I’d smile at him and wave and he’d do the same. 

Just because I smiled at him during lunch hour. 

I wasn’t sure why he was so happy when I smiled at him. To this day, I still don’t know. Maybe he really needed it. Who knows? Either way, it completely made my day. I’ve never forgotten about that moment, and I don’t believe I ever will. Whenever I feel down, my mind wanders to that day and it makes me feel so much better. 

My advice? Smile at strangers. No, seriously, do it. Your smile might be the reason they feel better about whatever it is they’re struggling with. I tell myself this everyday whenever I pass by a stranger. I’m a Muslim, and one of the pillars of Islam is giving charity. It’s believed in my faith that charity comes in a variety of ways. In other words, something as simple as a smile is considered charity. Think about that for a moment.

“A smile goes a long way, but you must first start it on its journey.” 

You have no idea how true that is. 

Nawal Jasey

UWindsor '23

Hello! I'm Nawal! I major in English Literature and Creative Writing, so it's needless to say that I am obsessed with reading and writing. I also enjoy playing the piano (not at all professionally), watching movies, listening to music, cuddling my adorable kitty, and hanging out with my friends and family.
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