In the past my smile always felt forced or ‘put on’, I felt like my smile said “I am a nice person being nice and that is it” or “don’t think for one moment that I am flirting with you”. When I smiled like this I felt tough, hard and protected. At other times I would use my smile to try and ‘hook’ a man and I would be trying to say “I am flirting with you”, however this would usually only happen once I had a couple of drinks, then the following day I would wonder what on earth I was thinking. In all these instances my smile was not an indicator of how I truly felt.
This realisation shocked me. I felt how cold, hard and shut down I have lived this life. I felt the sadness of knowing that in truth I have been rejecting men since I can remember.
It probably won’t surprise you to know that I have been single most of my adult life (a good 15+ years). In fact after I really felt how I have been operating it is a wonder any men have been within 10 yards of me!
I began to ponder the things that have stopped me from smiling at men in the past; I became aware that I often let my mind take over before my body can do what comes naturally. My mind jumps in with thoughts like:
- “Do not smile at that man he will think you are interested in him, you will look like a loser and he will get an ego boost at your expense”.
- “Do not smile at that man – he will think you are interested in him and take that as a green light to treat you with disrespect”.
- “Do not smile at that man, he does not want you to”.
- “Do not smile at that man his partner will be angry with you”.
I am the first to admit that these suggestions from my mind are pretty outrageous (I am only talking about a smile after all). As I let myself feel more deeply I realised my mind jumps to even more outlandish and nonsensical conclusions such as:
- ‘’Do not smile at that man, he might become interested in you, you will have to reject him and he will hate you for it and take revenge”.
- “If you let a man feel your loveliness he will try to destroy it”.
On this day my mind was unable to interfere. My heart was able to send a message to my body without being intercepted by my mind. And so… I smiled at a man because I felt joy in my heart and a love for humanity. I smiled at a man because I trusted my body and my body wanted to smile. I shared my lovely smile with a man, letting my heart do the talking and silencing my mind.
The man smiled back, he melted and he felt the sweetness of my smile with no agenda or game. In turn this man smiled the very same smile back at me. His smile was not flirty or hooking, it was a smile from the heart, a smile that exposed the game I have played and the hurt I have caused by shutting down my heart as a result of past hurts. A smile that radiated the power of love back to me.
By Leonne Sharkey