Literal meaning: Literally, this adage means that if your life was to hand you 100 reasons to cry about what it gave you, you should find 1000 reasons to smile about what it gave you.
Figurative meaning: Figuratively, this adage means that no matter how tough your life may get, always keep your head up and find a reason to smile. The adage “when life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, give life a thousand reasons to smile” to me means that no matter how tough your life gets, you should always keep your head up and find a reason to smile. This particular proverb relates to me in many ways. For examples, last October a very close friend of mine committed suicide after an ongoing series of personal problems. His death was around the same time as another family member. Thinking things could not get worse, I received a bad progress report. These series of unfortunate events had me in a disconsolate, unstable state of mind. I was depressed and stressed. I barely socialized with my friends, and some nights I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep. Then one day after observing me for a few days, my best friend Khalif pulled me aside and made me talk about my problems. This was such an emotional moment for me since I never cried in front of my friends. After I finished venting, he told me these words "when life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life out have a thousand reasons to smile” and listed all the things I have to be happy about. After that talk, whenever I feel down and out, I remember those words, and count out everything I’m thankful for and give life a thousand reasons to smile.