Is it wild to say being happy does not involve a continuous smile on me face?
Is it astonishing to state that a continuous smile does not equate being happy?
I caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror yesterday, unshaven, just recently woke up, questioning why I ever left the comfort of my welcoming bed, thinking how is it my life has to fit my plans and my plans cannot be bent to fit my shifting life wherever it can fit. My facial expression reflecting back at me was surprising, shocking really.
Yes, surprising because it had no resemblance to how I thought my expression was — if you had given me a sketch paper and pencil prior to my looking in the mirror, I would have drawn a happy face — like the emoji.
That’s how I felt inside, that’s almost how I always feel inside. But the glimpse of my reflection showed something, someone different.
Based on my look, outside looking in, I appeared pissed off, unexcited, uninterested, nonchalant, unamusing, and that was shocking. Mentally, I was smiling emoji, yet physically I looked as Mr Grumpy.
Like a recently released mental patient, I started adjusting my expression to match my feeling, in my head, I’d go “no, that’s not it”, “well, yes this matches how I feel more than the other”. I’d put the mirror away, and find my way back to it a few seconds later. Mostly trying to understand what my facial expression was trying to tell me, if anything. Then I forgot about it all, and went about my day. The day must go on.
Sitting here now, at this present moment, this seems amusing to think about and might hold some knowledge to uncover because for a long time, I’ve been puzzled by the misinformation of facial expressions — in the lives of other people.
I’ll explain. I like comedy shows, comedic perfomances are my favorite really. The more sophisticated the act, the more reverence I defer. A few years back, maybe 4, I went to a comedy show, local performers were to entertain, a small amount of laughter hungry audiences showed up. I was seated quietly, attentive.
After a series of acts, some very well done, I noticed laughter as a service was being replaced to moody and discomforting. After a few series of acts, what I went for was no longer what they were serving. You’d hear acts after acts about some disturbing, haunting information which you wish they could take back, it stopped being a comedic show and gradually turned into the outpouring of every insecure thought a person ever had.
During the intermission, I left and wondered how a person putting up a great act could instantaneously self destruct because in their head they think the audience did not like the act, but the actual audience were appreciative of their service. They go down a rabbit hole and what was an exciting performance becomes repulsive. Yet, the comic was smiling the whole act.
Then Robin Williams moved on. And that reopened and endorses this curiosity of what exactly does happiness look like? if it indeed had a look.
How is it that some people who make others laugh, are incredibly sad themselves. How is it that some people who appear happy and put together are incredibly disgruntled? No answers.
Then I met a freshly separated lady. Oh my, it’s all coming together now. I haven’t had to think about this lady really since the day I met her which was years ago. A one time encounter that was left in the past.
She told me she had just returned home (her parent’s home) a day or two ago, after flying back from the city she lived in with her (soon to be ex) husband. Of course, your first response is that of support and hope, “I hope you find your way back to each other” and the sorts. I mean, what else are you to say to someone in such a vulnerable state? “maybe you should be divorced”? I wouldn’t say that.
Anyways, she talked about how she’d rather not live with her parents, how she married a bit older in life (in her thirties), and just after two years, it’s quitting time. She spoke very strongly about it being done (maybe infidelity was involved? I don’t know, she didn’t say).She didn’t care much for all the sympathies she’d get from her friends. On the day of our conversation, she mentioned she’d go stay with a classmate she stayed friends with and her family (husband and kids) for some time to be away from her parents home. And, her big concern being back “home”, was to hopefully not go back into the crowd of friends she escaped from, specifically an “old boyfriend whose way of life wasn’t good for her”. I share this story with you, for this particular reason. Here it comes:
I looked at her, yes I hear what she says, but I looked at her and her facial expression was relaxed, she speaks of storm, chaos and thunder in a “it’s happened, now move on” type of way, and her face was. . .calm. They had no kids together. I thought she’d be back on her feet in no time. So I say to her paraphrasing, “you are strong, you will pull through, from the way you talk about it and behave, I’d say you’ll be just fine”. And here’s the kicker: She looks to me, smiles and says “I talk a good game, I might be composed on the outside but I’m falling apart on the inside.” I was shocked, astounded really, I had nothing to say, I could not think of anything to say, I bid her farewell and good luck and haven’t thought about her since. Until now.
How can our facial expression be so completely different from our internal truth? That’s quite the riddle.
If we humans have grown to interpret the meaning behind our communication solely from the facial and body factors present during conversation, how so wrong we very well could be if our facial communication could be so very different from how we really feel.
Let’s play a game. Be honest.
If a person blows a kiss to you, what would you say they think of you?
Oh really? I wouldn’t be so sure.
Now I think of Mata Hari — she faced a firing squad, which is probably high up on the list of most fearful sentences. This is the kicker: Right before they shredded her skin, she blew a kiss to the firing squad. How confusing!
Clearly no one seconds from meeting their maker, especially in this form and fashion is so calm on the inside. No, I can’t think of one person who would be. Yet, to override the internal turmoil and blow what one could think of as a “happy kiss” just before getting fatally injured is just incredible, really.
There are tons of books and information out there screaming at you to pay attention to the body language. There are millions of writings on listening. Who would tell all these people they are mistaken?
One can say one thing, act in an agreeable fashion yet be completely true (internally) to a different perspective.
So when a person smiles and says hello, they very well could hate your guts. And the other person who tries to ignore you, act as though they didn’t see you, might actually be in love with you? How confusing!
The human mind is the ultimate stage director. The human mouth is the ultimate actor. Maybe pay more attention to what’s said. Maybe pay less attention to the acts shown. Maybe place yourself in their shoes and decide how you think they feel based on how you think you’d feel, or maybe believe what you will.
A human can play the part of any character they choose, at any moment. Understanding what’s really true is a waste of time, unless that’s your job and you’re being paid to do so — for everyday people like me and maybe you, it doesn’t matter what you think is true to someone’s heart. Here’s a tip: You’d never know!
Decide based on what you choose to decide on. You could believe their words, you could choose their actions, or you could give them a chance to contradict themselves by either word or actions. There is no one way to know for certain what a person feels, or thinks, regardless of what their face looks like. I’m a living testimony, especially in the morning, just after waking up.
Haha, half the time the person talking might not even know what they actually think or feel. The other half, they might not even know what they’re talking about. Make your best judgments based on whatever factor is most pulling to you and if you’re mistaken, apologize and/or amend and move on. I personally do not have the tolerance to go ask everyone who frowns at me whether or not they like me. However, now I also know that not everyone who says hello is asking for a conversation. I never knew that. Why talk at all, if you don’t want to talk? Haha, but that’s humans and their logic is illogical.
While we might focus on the expression of others, it’d do us well to also pay attention to our own expressions. Clearly, there’s a reason some people think of you the way they think of you. If people think you’re unapproachable and you disagree, they might be right and you might be due for a outer/inner check up. Does your expression align your emotion? It might surprise you.
Also, be open to consider when others state you’ve misjudged their expression — like the AT&T commercial, they might mean well.
That which is shown, is not always meant. That which is meant, is rarely shown.
Someone who blows you a kiss, doesn’t mean they like you. Quite the shocker.