I’ll never forget the day I learned that my facial expression speaks volumes about my intentions. I was in the third grade and hadn’t been at my new school very long. One day, as I walked toward the main office a teacher and another adult stopped me and asked whether I knew where to find a particular classroom. I searched my mental database and tried unsuccessfully to come up with the answer. I could have replied with a courteous, “I really wish I could help, but I honestly don’t know.” Instead I made a face—eyes wide, top lip turned up on the left side, and vehemently shook my head from side to side.
The teacher’s eyes widened. “Oh my goodness! Did you see that face?” she inquired of her comrade. “I just asked her a simple question and she made that ugly face!” The other adult agreed that my face had done something to warrant the teacher’s insults. I was confused. Hurt. What face had I made that was abhorrent enough for adults to talk about how unattractive it was right in front of me. It took everything in me not to cry—especially since I hadn’t meant any harm.
I reenacted the scene in front of the mirror when I got home from school that day and I was surprised by what I saw. The face I’d made was indeed offensive. It didn’t at all match my heart’s intention.
I don’t know about you, but when I discover something about myself that I don’t like and have the power to change—I change it. That day I decided that my face would never betray me again. Since my facial expression is something I carry with me everywhere I go, I determined to turn it from my enemy to my very best friend. I began looking in the mirror and smiling at myself, frowning at myself, and laughing at myself. I observed what I looked like when I was extremely happy, angry, or sad. I looked in the mirror as I talked on the phone with friends and relatives. I was on a mission to see what my face said about what I was saying. When my face was untruthful, I practiced making it match with my intention. I did this so much that now a situation rarely catches me so off guard that I make a face that isn’t in alignment with what I mean. There’s no room for misinterpretation. I prefer it that way.
As CALI Girls, we want to make sure to marry our facial expressions with our intentions. I encourage you to find out what your face (and overall body language) has to say about what you’re saying. It’s as simple as looking in the mirror. If you don’t like what you see, change it.