I was watching the news, and with all the Brexit coverage, there were lots of shots of politicians leaving their houses on their way to work. Although their views on the Brexit results may have differed markedly, there was one thing that seemed to be consistent with them all, and that was their smile.
Even with absolute pandemonium ensuing outside, they still managed to smile for the cameras; some even managed a childlike, nervous wave, as if to say “I’m so confident right now, here I am.” But what I realised didn’t add up, was that the smile was saying one thing but the eyes and the body were very much, saying another.
I reflected on this awareness of these different messages within myself, as I know for a fact that I push out the same smile to the world; this kind of “everything is going to be ok” smile. It’s a smile of total protection, because if people see me smiling, then surely their eyes are going to clock it and the brain translates this message as “this person is ok.”
I realised that I present this so that the world leaves me alone, thus it is a form of protection.
If I am smiling then I don’t have to present discomfort or sadness, and if the world doesn’t see this then I don’t have to answer to it. Maybe even through repeating this behaviour I can convince myself that I am actually ok, and that the feelings inside of me of panic, worry and unrest are not applicable and that the smile I wear is actually true.
It reminds me of a clown – no wonder I have never liked clowns – are they reflecting a truth within me that I am not comfortable in seeing myself?
For my birthday I chose to have a photography session with one of the many amazing photographers who belong to the Universal Medicine Student Body. There I was, in the presence of this amazing woman who was offering me absolute space to be myself, and indeed actively encouraging it, and yet as each minute passed by I noticed how sore my jaw and face were becoming with my “for the camera” smile.
It was such a habit to smile in preparation for the camera, that after a while it was actually becoming increasingly uncomfortable to continue to smile and the quality of the shots deteriorated significantly.
Funnily enough, as the photos went into editing we both felt the session, although fun and subsequently providing some decent shots, required a re-take. There was something about the whole experience that was very exposing for me, and in that, I realised that I wasn’t being in touch with myself, or my essence, at all. I was just presenting an image of myself that would be caught in the frame… where was I?
Cue a slight identity crisis. But what is remarkable is that now I am aware of these fake, plastic smiles, I can keep a close eye on them. It’s not hard, as they feel completely forced and leave you physically sore at the end of it.
What I have learnt is that there is absolutely no hiding behind these smiles or these attempts to make the world think that everything is ok. Just as a politician can’t tell us that everything is ‘ok’, as we observe the total chaos ensuing, neither can I flash a smile to the world and have everyone believe that I am just ‘tickety-boo’.
It is almost a mockery of the fact that people feel first; how arrogant is that? Here’s me thinking that I can use a smile to hide away, but all the while forgetting that people, whether consciously or not, are aware of what I am actually expressing and inevitably losing trust in me, as I am presenting one image, but actually presenting something completely different.
With this awareness, it’s now time to play and ask the deeper questions. When do I smile in ways that hurt my face? What is happening around me to cause the smile? Does it happen off camera, as well as on camera? Does it happen with certain people? Does it happen in certain situations more than others? How does it leave me feeling afterwards? Do I want to run away and eat a chocolate cake or does it leave me feeling delightful?
If there is one thing I am always grateful for when it comes to the presentations by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, it is the ever-expanding support in the development of my awareness and mini self-experiments. I wonder what will be exposed underneath all these fake smiles…
By Phil, Sales Exec, Ascot, UK