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July 28, 2016

Stop caring so little about your looks

One of the “joys” of having teenagers is listening to them make fun of your little quirks and idiosyncrasies.
Two of mine that get highlighted regularly are 1) I’m terrible at imitating accents (everything ends up sounding Jamaican somehow); and 2) I apparently have RJF (resting jerk face).

The accent thing I’ve known for awhile, and I’m fine with it, mon. The face thing, however, really bothers me.
The first time I was made aware of my resting jerk face was several years ago on the baseball diamond. At our daughter’s suggestion, my wife took several pictures of me coaching first base on our son’s travel baseball team.
I was mortified at these head shots. I alternated between looks of disdain and disgust. No wonder our kids weren’t hitting; none of those 11U kids wanted to come near me!

The funny thing was I was actually in a perfectly pleasant mood at the time. In between innings I was making jokes with the parents behind the stands and the kids in the dugout. For whatever reason, however, I would regularly resort back to Mr. Grumpface.

Since then I have tried to make a habit of paying more attention to my “looks.” And it’s benefited me more than I planned over the years.

I’ve had to dig inside to work through any baseline struggles with anger & depression. I’ve also become much more serious about managing my body (I’ve struggled with chronic pain from multiple back injuries and surgeries my whole adult life). Finally, I’ve enlisted the help of my teens, my friends, and my wife to help me recognize when the frowns are present, and this invitation to hold me accountable has improved all those relationships over the years.

You may not have a resting jerk face, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to pay a little more attention to your “looks.” You may be offering glances of judgment you thought you were hiding, or looks of sadness you don’t actually feel.
Ask someone today for feedback on your faces. Allow your spouse to gently check in with you to see if you’re giving off glances that aren’t in line with who you want to be.

And if you’re really brave, ask your teenagers. They’ll not only tell you, but these days your frumpy face will probably be on Snapchat before you know it.

Peace begins with pause,

One thought on “Stop caring so little about your looks

  1. I loved today’s “Pause!” I completely relate. For me the moment of clarity came when I watched my wedding video. I realized for the first time that I don’t have a single thought or emotion that is not written all over my face! Seriously, I have no poker-face at all. No secrets. None. When I expressed my horror at this revelation, everyone around me just agreed, “Oh, yeah. You didn’t know that?” No, I didn’t know that! What do I do about it? Since then, I do try, but without having a mirror in front of me all the time, I can sure benefit from reminders like these. Thanks, Hal, for making me laugh and reminding me that non-verbal signals are as important, if not more, than the words we say when we are communicating with others.

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