My older sister Annie is about to go on a mission. I asked her what the best thing she did in junior high was. Here’s what she wrote….
“As I walked in the front doors of Junior High on the day of 7th grade orientation, I felt like I was about to faint I was so scared. We were new to the neighborhood, so I walked alone into a crowded auditorium and looked for an empty seat. I sat down and looked at the girl next to me. She actually looked like she felt a little bit out of place too. I got the courage to look her in the eye, smile, and introduce myself. Turns out she was new too; just moved from Texas. I didn’t feel quite so alone anymore. And so my junior high adventure started….
I survived that first day…and the next…and the next…and before I knew it I was done with 7th grade! And, some great things had happened along the way. Our new ward and neighborhood were welcoming to me and my family, I got involved at school, I loved my teachers, and I made some really kind friends who took me under their wing. Sure, I was still adjusting and had a lot of anxieties, but I was happy and I had done something that was really hard thing for me.
Right now you may be wondering: what made the difference? Here’s my secret: Smiling!
Sounds almost too easy right? Well that’s just the thing! A simple little smile can turn a whole situation around. It shows people that you are welcoming and open to learn about what they have to offer. A smile brings out the warmth, love, and joy you have to offer to the world.
For many of you, including myself at times, smiling is not easy. Maybe you’re in a really hard place and don’t feel like you have anything to smile about. That’s normal, and it’s okay to not be happy all the time because life is HARD and sometimes the best thing to do is cry. But my advice for those of you in this situation is: fake it until you make it. When I walked into the junior high the first day and had a little smile on my face I can guarantee that I didn’t feel like smiling. As a matter of fact, I felt like crying. But, as I kept a smile on my face eventually that smile was there naturally, and has stuck ever since.
Smiling has worked miracles for me and I know it will for you too. If you don’t believe me, or even if you do, I dare you to try it out for yourself. Wherever you go, smile at the people you pass by. Instead of looking down at your phone, look up at the beautiful world around you and smile because your Heavenly Father created it for you and for me! He loves you so so much and that alone should be reason enough to have a big smile on your face. But when you are struggling to feel his love, and you feel yourself breaking down, smile even more. Smile at strangers, and don’t forget to smile at the people who love you. Smile so much that people start asking you why you are so happy and I promise you’ll have reasons to share. I’m sure I will be needing to use this advice in a few weeks as I head on my mission to Texas! Happy smiling everyone!”