Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Angry Resting Face: Fixable?

Recently I had a considerable revelation about my "Angry Resting Face" which changes my whole way of looking at it, and offering hope of fixing it. (Factor X explained here.) One day I was randomly, for whatever reason, reminiscing about my last three years in Michigan, and some interesting events caught my sight.

Somewhere down the line in revisiting those memories I realized that a couple people in my family responded to me in uniquely different ways over time, which may offer up a huge clue as to the true nature of Angry Resting Face. Perhaps it isn't a genetic default after all. Perhaps it's actually an unintentional perceptual tell of one's discontentment.

I don't want to be super-specific, but when I lived in Michigan, right after I dropped out of college, I lived with a person with whom I was on good terms an the time. I was very focused on fixing myself and creating a better self, and with great, sustained effort I managed to transform significantly, totally changing my thinking habits and giving myself an unusual appetite for life, a happiness I had never been able to experience before.

However, in the years before I moved to Texas my sense of life eventually fell apart as my relationship with that person and family as a whole fell into turmoil, and my vigor for life and self-improvement fell away as I gradually got unhealthfully concerned with solving my near unsolvable problems with these people. The stress load was tremendous enough to undo the healing I had done to myself and to turn me into a significantly poorer version. Instead of keeping my mind's eye on progress, it was obsessed with problems, problems, and problems. I could hardly smile.

Here's where the clue comes in. In visiting some random memories, I realized that some people I had known all my life started acting differently. In the period closest to my move to Texas -- also the highest stress period -- an aunt, whenever I approached her, began smiling at me with buggy eyes, visibly anxious. Another uncle who had no problem dealing with me before started indicating fear. A friend of the family would smile at me with buggy eyes as well. More and more people were getting anxious and fearful of my appearance despite there being no conflicts between us personally.

The hint it offers is that perhaps my Angry Resting Face was beginning to set in due to all the insufferable stress I was going through. Piling up, perhaps the negative emotions were beginning to leave a physical mark on my face, showing my sense of life perceptually to everyone else. That would make logical sense, since the particular individuals I'm considering as evidence were fine in my present some years before, and then fearful in another period, heavily pointing to something in my appearance that has altered, absent any fights with them.

To some degree or another, it could be possible that the sense of life we bear deep down can manifest itself in our facial expressions in a nuanced way that's hard for us to notice or control, and lacking that kind of awareness makes the reactions of others a little mysterious. When I'm consciously being polite and kind, I can't help but view those who go into spasms or temper tantrums as people with internal problems themselves, as I don't perceive that they're reacting off of mistaken perceptions.

If this logic holds, it will make a lot more sense of the difficulties I've undergone here in Texas. Though I've managed to escape the poisonous situation in Michigan, I haven't regained my prior, better habits, and got into some other difficulties in TX as well, such as near-violent roommates or bullying employers. Not managing my stress well nor succeeding in keeping my eyes on my progress and goals, my sense of life stayed overall negative, which could be sustaining my Angry Resting Face.

In summary, it's seems logical now to consider my Angry Resting Face as the product of what is still an unhealed and negative sense of life caused by poor stress management and long-lasting negative situations, and the key evidence is that people who have never reacted negatively to my appearance before had suddenly started doing so, despite there being no strife between us, suggesting they *noticed* an alteration in my physical appearance.

This is logic worth considering and acting on, for upon further thinking I realize any potential fixes are worth entertaining since this phenomenon does factually hinder me.

Although one shouldn't be obsessed with appearance, our physical appearances do, in a minor way, contribute to our situation. The way we voluntarily construct our appearances will influence how people interpret the perceptual signals you send to them. Obviously, if you wore a shirt with a giant gun on it, people might assume you're of a violent disposition.

In the case of Angry Resting Face, people on regular occasion are misinterpreting it as an expression of my personality, and change their behavior accordingly. It's irrational, yes, and they should owe up to it by intelligently correcting themselves, following the mind instead of whims but the impulses are so quick and fleeting that our relationships oftentimes do not develop enough for them to be fixed, and we have parted by the time the harm is done.

For instance, my accidental angry appearance could be damaging my job prospects, for oftentimes my interviews are sour, and many employers have hired me without an interview. The interview I've failed were always awkward, with the interviewer acting as if they were desperate to get rid of me. One lady, I remember, kept her eyes unnaturally focused on her papers and scrunched her eyes shut while looking at me. Lost job prospects mean lost career opportunities.

By and large, I know I should still focus on my own self development, for if other people are going to choose to be irrationally swayed like this, it's reading too deeply into people's appearances as windows to their personality and character, an approach severely flawed. However, if I can perhaps make an easier process for myself by fixing the resting face, that's desirable: I wouldn't want any more gas station attendants getting angry over the intercom.

The approach to fixing an Angry Resting Face is simple, but definitely too complex for the scope of this article. Simply, if it's true that it's a manifestation of one's discontentment with life, then one must transform the attitude to a life-loving one. Or, in other words, if you have emotional problems and dissatisfactions, tend to them and fix them -- focus on your development, deliberately keep the mind off negativity, and sustain the effort -- and eventually the Angry Resting Face should fix itself. As one gets happier with life, so should
the lines of anger disappear and iron themselves out.

What does that mean for me? Well, I allow my mind to visit unpleasant memories too often, and I don't exert myself hard enough at forming habits I want, or of being strenuously productive. I must reverse with the opposite activities. Oversimplified, but summarized enough for here.

When I succeed with being happier in life, so should it show.

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