In this era of trying your hardest to keep your face immobile, being poker-faced, striving for “coolness” – your facial muscles atrophy. In every magazine you open you’ll find advice and ideas for a fit and muscle toned body, but nowhere for a fit face!
Instead our faces are turned over to surgeons and “dermatologists” for nipping, tucking and regular shots of Botox and other poisons to obliterate the signs of non-use.
If you watch a child their facial expressions vary constantly, raised eyebrows in surprise, wrinkled nose when something smells bad, joyous grins, peals of laughter and wonder. We click on YouTube-videos with babies laughing and feel the contagiousness of the free spirited joy because we hunger for expression. To use our faces to emphasize a point, to communicate, is by far the easiest way to minimize misunderstandings. A simple smile in acknowledgement when someone sits down across from you on the subway or bus for example, signals a welcome, a friendliness, a sense of security. Imagine what it would do for your more intimate relationships if you had a larger repertoire than say “a tight upper lip vs a relaxed upper lip”.
Somehow the notion that we reveal who we are, that we make ourselves vulnerable by allowing our faces to show our emotional state is terrifying and we feel “safer” being closed off. Still, most people long for intimacy, for being “seen” and for feeling accepted.
When you get back in touch with your senses, you’ll notice that those facial muscles will get a lot more exercise. When you feel free to laugh uncontrollably, smile at a stranger, frown at a disturbance of some kind, cry your heart out, and the most forbidden expression; look completely surprised, i.e. “completely loosing it” for a split second, your face will respond by a new radiance and firmness. You might even start to “pull faces”, grimacing like Jim Carrey – just for the fun of it.
Ease into it – start by daring a smile, for no reason, relax your need for control and stop viewing your face as if it was your enemy constantly on the prowl to reveal your “secrets”. Become the personal trainer of your face by allowing it to use its many muscles to mirror what’s going on with you, let go, live a little :).