Let Other People See Who You Really Are
Do you know anybody that you feel is particularly engaging and lively? Take a moment to picture that person in your mind. What is it about that person that you find most attractive? He or she may have a charming voice and a great laugh, but it is also very likely that you find their face very expressive. That person is probably quick to smile and laugh and seems to always have a twinkle in their eye.
A face that never shows any emotion, and never smiles is not very appealing. No matter how attractive or how plain a person’s facial features may be, a great smile can make that person look beautiful to others. When you smile at other people, they will assume that you are in a good mood and that you are happy to see them. This will make other people more likely to want to spend time with you and to know you better.
Allowing our face to show emotions is actually an advantage in developing relationships. Other people are constantly trying to read and respond to our body language and facial expressions, often on a subconscious level. They are trying to sense whether we really care about them or not, whether we are concerned with what is going on in their lives.
If you are a person who is very emotionally sensitive, this sensitivity can be an asset in forming relationships. Use your sensitivity to show empathy for other people. Don’t suppress your emotions, trying to be “cool”. Don’t waste your sensitive nature being sensitive only to yourself and your own emotions. Imagine being in the shoes of the person you are talking with, and let yourself feel the sadness, happiness, excitement or pride that is present in the story they are telling you.
If we repress all our emotions from showing on our face, people will feel frustrated trying to get a sense of who we really are. When we let our emotions show up on our face, sharing in our conversation partner’s joys and sorrows, worries and frustrations, as well as their hope and excitement, both of us feel less alone. Both people will feel more connected to each other.
Sometimes we worry about our facial expressions. We may sense that our smile looks forced, or makes us look nervous. We may worry that we don’t smile enough, or that we frown too much.
One way you can check on your facial expressions is to have yourself videotaped in conversation with another person. When you review the tape, does your smile looks forced, or natural? Do you look extremely serious? Are you able to portray a feeling of fun and light-heartedness?
If you are not able to analyze the tape effectively by yourself, have someone else you trust give you some feedback.
If you think your facial expressiveness could be improved, you can practice in front of a mirror. Watch your face as you imagine yourself feeling various positive and negative emotions. Imagine yourself hearing a very funny joke. Or winning the lottery. Or receiving a nice compliment. Meeting your neighbor. Getting a present. Having a secret.
Also imagine yourself experiencing negative situations and watch your facial expressions in the mirror. Exaggerate them. Switch back to imagining positive emotions. Are you normally this expressive? Do you let other people see the real you? Or do you try to hide yourself from everyone? Do you like the person you see in the mirror?
Your smiles and other facial expressions will be more natural and more appealing when you are relaxed, rather than tense. If you get nervous when you are talking with others, you may find it helpful to practice body relaxation techniques until you can easily relax at will. Consciously tell all the muscles in your body to relax, even if you have to give instructions mentally to each part of your body, one section at a time.
When you are with other people, let your mental focus be on enjoying the situation you are in, rather than imagining what others are thinking about you, or worrying what you will say next.