Raise your hand if there has been a time where you have been minding your own business, whether in your office or walking around the store, and someone approached you and told you to smile? Maybe they said "you'd look more pretty if you smiled" or "You really should smile more." or maybe my personal favorite "You look tired" (yes this falls into the same category). An even bigger favorite is when a stranger tells you to smile and then they try to flirt with you (I could really go on for a while).
I am aware that these kinds of situations can happen to so many different kinds of people, men or woman. But I think it is safe to bet that this happens all the time to so many woman. And the people who give this "advice" or mostly men.
When I was in college, I lived and worked near campus, as did most people I knew. Therefore we were always walking everywhere. It became almost a daily occurrence where I was hearing that a female friend was being told to smile as she walked to work, or to class. I hated how often this was going on. So one day I took to Facebook to vent (yes I know, not always a great idea). I explained how it is very unappreciated when people are told they should smile, or are told they look tired, etc. I said that many of us are just trying to get through the day and most of the time, the people addressing us have no idea what are day has been like. After the status was posted many woman took to the comments. It was awesome. They all vented to each other and let out their frustrations, and all supported one another. I felt very happy to see some positive dialogue happening on social media.
Then a couple men crashed the comments. Certain things were said such as "Lighten up" or "Whoa lets just be happy now". Lemme tell you I was furious. I then took to Instagram saying that Women will lighten up when Men decide to grow up. Following this post I received comments from different men saying they totally supported me and that I should keep fighting the good fight.
I am very thankful for those men. I am also thankful to the men who left the Facebook comments. Both groups included good men that I have known for years. More times than not, this issue revolves around men speaking down to women. But I think at an even larger scale it is about humans: We do not know how to deal with the "negative emotions" of others. People see someone who doesn't "appear" happy and they get uncomfortable. (Now this does not excuse the actions that I have previously mentioned, because sometimes people are just being a**holes). But I think so many people are getting uncomfortable with others "lack of happiness" and for some reason think it is that other persons responsibility to fix their discomfort.
You do not have to be happy all the time. You do not have to look happy all the time. Keep working hard and doing good like you do every day. You don't owe the jerk on the street or that obnoxious co worker anything. I know there are so many more sides to this issue that I did not address here today but I'd love to have a productive discussion with you about it. Never hesitate to email me.
A little side note, I even felt nervous with the photos I took for this. I felt like I needed to maybe include photos of me smiling. But then I chose not too. I love the way I look in photos where I do not smile. Its intense, and I think it is beautiful.
Finally, to the rest of you, please do not comment on how someones face looks. It is rude. If you feel uncomfortable when someone isn't showing 100% happiness, ask yourself why? We all are going through things everyday that are not easy. And on days we aren't, sometimes that is just how someones face rests. And no matter what they are beautiful and should never apologize for it.