We have all heard about resting bitch face. A phrase that I have an issue with because it is only applicable to women. We do not have a moniker that calls men out for wearing their irritation or disgust for all to see...just women. I don’t like that.
Anyway, I am not going to go “there” today. I want to talk about something else...what lies beneath our face and what causes us to communicate to the world our disdain.
I am increasingly aware as I age that my face is like a billboard. I advertise almost instantaneously, and without a thought (at times), my internal conditions. At first, this seemed like something I should correct. I could and should develop a better poker face. But then I thought that is just an old idea about myself that I should prevent the world from knowing what I really feel or think, and as you are quite well aware, I am really, really trying NOT to do that.
So this term that I do not like “resting bitch face” has become something of a call to action for me. I do not think I have this going on and I am very grateful. I want to instead work on having a Resting Love Face. One where people can look at me and without me even knowing they are looking find comfort on whatever face is awaiting them. That seems like something I can endeavor to do, a free love face for whomever glances my way even if I don’t like them or even know them.
I am learning (way too late in life) that my body reflects my mind. What I think about I bring about in all that I do. Most especially on my face. My stress, anger, happiness, joy are all transmitted on my billboard to others (AKA my face) and mass communicates to all who care to look my deeper state of being. Since this is going to happen, why am I not more intentional about it?
Most of the time I feel loving towards humanity. Even my neighbor who hates me. I wish her well, almost every day. Some days I am not so spiritually fit and so her issues with me become my issues, let's be clear, I allow that to happen. I don’t do this all that often anymore but I do relapse into a defensive and angry posture at times. And if she could see over the fence, she would know it because my face would totally reflect that.
I guess what I am trying to say is that whatever we feel inside is reflected in our facial expressions. When you feel disdain, anger, irritation or judgment of others, it is very much reflected on your face. When you feel love or compassion or joy for others, it too lands on your face and communicates to others your empathy. In short, your face is your best communicator, so what are you communicating? Is your face driving others away or pulling them closer? Do you even know?
I smile a lot. My friend Jason from high school nicknamed me “Smiley” in high school. Which is odd because I did not feel all that smiley on the inside back then. I was sick and suffering a great deal, plagued by a hundred forms of fear and low self worth, I used the smile to hide the pain. Jason and I are still friends some thirty years later and he still calls me “Smiley” but today I know that the smile isn’t a cover, it is just who I am. I smile because I happy, content and usually in a pretty good mood. And I want to share that with others. There may not be much I can do for the passing stranger to make their lives better, but I can smile, and try with this face of mine to let them know that I care about them even as they pass me by onto whatever is next in their lives.
I have noticed the most profound affect of facial expression, positive to be clear, with animals and small children. They are the best bullshit detectors ever. If a dog or little kid runs from you in terror, there is likely something very wrong with what is going on on your face. Ok, occasionally, the kid or the dog have been so traumatized that it doesn’t really matter what you are transmitting, which is heart breakingly sad.
I guess my final thoughts are that I walk around all day with an inadvertent advertisement of my own internal condition: my face. And I can be super intentional about what I communicate. I can endeavor to be easy and honest and relaxed in my facial expressions so that others may find some peace and comfort there. Perhaps they will enjoy being around me more, and perhaps I might enjoy being around me more too.
Whatever exists below the surface will be transmitted to the outside. It cannot be different. What exists above, so it is below. And I can work on ensuring that the matching of my internal state is best reflected to others by knowing that my face telegraphs to the world how I feel about myself. Am I happy inside, joyful, hateful, in pain? Since I have this amazing communicate device that will communicate regardless of whether or not I want it to, can I not be more able to work on the conditions below so that I am able to share the love that exists in my heart? I can try to aim for a Resting Love Face...daily.