lines of concern: basically, I don't want your face

Walking around city streets, in the grocery stores, in line at the bank, around the office, what do you see on people’s faces? Are most people smiling? Do people say hello? Do you?

I noticed something recently, maybe because I'm living in the city again and seeing more faces on a daily basis, but I noticed a lot of frowning faces. I have to say at least 80% of the faces I see are frowning. Everyone has those deep vertical lines in the middle of their forehead that I refer to as, ‘lines of concern’.

When I look at them, I think, "I don't want your face".

When I walk by people with these scary faces and gaped jaws, I wonder why. Why are they in such a hurry? A hurry for what? To get their breakfast, catch a train, get in line at Starbucks, or to get to work? Or are they frowning in response to the lines of concern on my own face? GASP! And find the closest mirror.

Some people have such intense scowls on their faces I'm curious if they do this to make sure no one talks to them. Is it to make sure no one bothers them, asks them for money, or god forbid, smile and say "hello"?

‘If you keep making that face, it will stay like that’.

How many times have your parents said that to you? When it comes to frowning, that statement is almost true – ever heard of muscle memory? Walking around with a sour face is not going to make your legs move faster or make the slow poke in front of you speed up, or the traffic light to turn green. Instead, it might just make people more on edge.

How often do you see people throughout the day going about their business and smiling?

I bet you notice The people with pleasant expressions on their face. Why are they smiling? Did they just get out of the mental institution or are they really just happy to be doing what they are doing?

What's their secret?

I bring this up, because I've noticed these lines creep up on my own face. I really do think that it's contagious. When I notice I'm frowning I make a conscious effort to take a chill pill, relax my face and unclench my jaw. Now, when I see one of those dreaded faces, I smile at them. Sometimes they actually look at me like I’m nuts. Keep smiling, maybe say 'hi', 'how are you?'. Hello human. I don’t know when it became normal to ignore people as we walk by them.

Keep smiling, maybe say 'hi', 'how are you?'. Hello, human. I don’t know when it became normal to ignore people as we walk by them.

When did it become normal and acceptable to ignore people?

More and more I'm making a conscious effort to replace the lines of concern on my face with a smile as I go about my daily business. After practicing this for a few weeks, I've noticed a positive reaction. I feel better and more people smile in return. There are still a few people who look at me like I am nuts, but I am okay with that.

I feel just a little more in tune with myself and my surroundings instead of thinking about where I need to be next and showing needless worry on my face.

Try it out for the rest of the day, and in the comments section, tell me what you noticed. Even if people looked at you like you were crazy, did it feel good to smile more? Did more people say ‘hi’ to you?


PS - Search asshole I missed an opportunity to help – and I feel like a jerkHow to meditate if you’re a mom, and how to have a minimalist Christmas without being a scroogy a-hole