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The kind of expression we wear on our faces reflects how we are feeling within ourselves. It is an indication to other people of the way we are likely to react to them. People assume, not always correctly, that if we look pleasant we are pleasant. Or if we look sour we are disagreeable.
Actually we may go around wearing a scowl or a frown because we are worried, not because we are angry. We can look unsympathetic and grim when we are unsure of ourselves and how people will receive us, not because we feel as we look.
Some of us have an expression which we assume for social occasions and which has little to do with the kind of person we are, or how we feel inside. We may also, look and behave in a different way when we are with the family than when we are out with friends.
If we make a practice of watching people’s expressions, it helps to take your mind off yourself. You also learn a great deal about people. How quickly a smile can fade when somebody else is praised or becomes the centre of attention! How quickly faces register dislike, resentment or jealousy!
You may think you are careful then not to show anything at all, but this is just a big give – away. There is something wrong about a deadpan face. It can indicate that the person behind is completely absorbed in himself, and completely uninterested in anybody else. But it is more likely to denote someone who is afraid to show his feelings because other may disapprove, or because he has been hurt.
Anybody can assume a pleasant face, but unless it is the genubut because you cannot help it.
If you are interested only in yourself, you smile only in fits and starts when you like it. You are the centre of your own private world in which other people count for little or nothing. So you wear a pleasant face when it suits you to. But should anyone argue, or criticise or disapprove, it upsets you and you find yourself scowling.
When you feel unpleasant and at loggerheads with the world, spare a minute to step aside and take a quick look at yourself in the mirror. Give yourself a mental shake. Encourage yourself to smile and it will become easier to smile to others.