These are frown lines. These are not my frown lines, but they could be…someday. In recent months, I’ve noticed my resting face looks less than happy. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the door when picking up my daughter from school and think “I look really grumpy.”
Speaking of my daughter, I was helping her put on her mittens a few days again and she looked up at me and said, “Mom, why do you have a not happy face on?” Yikes!
In my defense, I was feeling a bit miserable with a cold that morning, but she’s got a point. I think I tend to walk around with a bit of a scowl on my face more days than not.
Frown Lines: Just the Symptom of my Bigger Problem
Now, I know some of you practical folks are thinking: frown lines are a part of aging, not necessarily caused by frowning. Plus, isn’t it a bit vain to be worried about frown lines? And you would be right, on both accounts.
Frown lines aren’t my problem, but they seem to be a symptom of my bigger issue: I look grumpy a lot. And I look grumpy a lot because I don’t smile all that much. I don’t smile all that much because I feel grumpy a lot. It’s a vicious circle.
As much as we would like to magically change how we feel, emotions don’t work like that. There is no switch to turn us from angry, sad or fearful people into happy, positive and confident ones.
Instead of waiting and hoping my attitude will change, I am going to do something about. I’m going to fake it ‘til I make it.
Small New Year’s Resolution, Big Expectations
I’m going to smile even when I don’t feel like it. I’m going to avoid airing every complaint that comes into my head, and I’m going to make it my default to assume the best of people rather than the worst.
Instead of telling my kids the person who cut me off is a Class A Jerk, I want to keep my mouth closed. I want to assume that they were in a hurry for a good reason or are distracted by something else on their mind or are maybe are just an unobservant person and missed me in their blind spot. The surly cashier could have had any other customer give her a hard time before I got in the lane, she could be sick or maybe she is stressed by who-knows-what.
Giving people the benefit of the doubt makes it easy to smile…to be kind…to be gracious. That’s who I want to be. I don’t want to be the person fuming at a stranger using food stamps for junk food.
What purpose does that serve? Getting mad or posting a rant on Facebook about perceived injustices (that I really know nothing about) does nothing other than eat away at my happiness. It doesn’t change the (perceived) injustice. It certainly doesn’t affect the person I’m complaining about. It only affects me – and not in a good way.
So that’s my New Year’s resolution: smile more and complain less.
My hope is that science is right, and my feelings will soon follow my facial expressions. I’ll let you know in 12 months.
What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2017?
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