1 Simple Thing You Can Do Right Now To Be Happier (4 minute read)

Ladies, have you ever been in a public location (like waiting for the bus, buying groceries or getting your fix at Starbucks) and a man comes up to you and tells you to smile? 

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Like he says, “Turn that frown upside down and smile!” or “You'd be prettier with a smile”. 

It's happened to me a few times. It sometimes came from grandpas and I thought it was endearing like he was trying to cheer me up. Then there were other instances of men around my age doing that. I didn't think much of it when I was younger until a few years ago when I started hearing the term RBF (Resting Bitch Face).  

At first, I thought it was a pretty funny term.  I mean yes, I do often see women in public who have that type of face and now there's a term for it.  The term made me feel like I was part of a group of individuals who have all encountered that type of woman.  The term categorizes mutually observed behaviour and it's funny because we can all relate.  But then I started really thinking about it.

What is the intention behind the term? Like women are supposed to have this constant smile on their face? Because women should always come across as cheerful, gentle, polite, pleasant, kind, warm, supportive...basically a beam of light in the man's eyes? We should smile because we are constantly wanting to engage in conversation with a man and if we are not smiling, we will not get what we really want. 

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You know, because all women desire attention from men. We are nothing but objects of affection in a man's world so we need to put smiles on ourselves to market our femininity, fertility, and agreeableness.

BTW I honestly hope you know I'm being sarcastic...apparently that's a strong characteristic of an INTJ (Not that I’m into labelling....eyes rolling...call me a hypocrite...hmm another label).

Hope you can tell by my writing that I am obviously a feminist. From getting a boy haircut in grade 3 (with the intention of defying gender stereotypes) to co-writing a chapter in a book titled “Feminist Community Research: Case Studies and Methodologies,” I've been one since I could remember.

I am a firm believer that everyone should have the same opportunities without being discriminated against due to their gender. I think there is still a misconception about feminism because some associate it with angry women, roaring, shouting, burning bras, cutting their hair short..ie women are better than men type of belief. And it is NOT. I'm going to save my words for another post about feminism because this one is about the RBF.

Ok so I've clearly stated my values on women's rights and gender equality. I have another value which is about happiness and positive energy. You know that saying “fake it till you make it”? 

There was a study that showed how smiling can have an effect on our emotions. As in, if I put a smile on, I will actually start to feel better inside even if I started the day feeling like shit. I live this mantra as much as a can. 

If I'm having a shit day, I try my best to face the world with positivity and good energy. The good energy I bring to people will be infectious and there's a chance it'll brighten their day and the positive energy will come back to me. We live in a closed system where energy can neither be created or destroyed, only transferred or transformed from one form to another. 

So I'm merely applying The First Law of Thermodynamics to my personal wellness and hoping that by transforming the negative energy I feel inside into positive energy for others, I will come out on top at the end of the day. I am my own battery, converting chemical energy into acts of good. 

And if my battery is malfunctioning that day, tomorrow's another day and I can try again. Maybe I will be better tomorrow and I won't need to purposely convert; I will be fully charged and naturally ready to go. I’m incredibly mindful of the energy I exude around my daughter although I have my days.

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So back to my RBF topic. A large part of me feels that the term is derogatory and that a woman should have the choice to put whatever face she wants on. And if it happens to look sour or negative, that is HER choice and we shouldn't label it or make jest about her facial features. Let's leave these women alone, stop judging them, letting them deal with their issues as they see fit.

Then a part of me feels, this person is emitting negative energy into her social circles, into the closed system. She feels down and perhaps is having a bad day or a series of bad days. Or perhaps she’s endured years of stress and it has made her face into a permanent frown. 

The empathetic side of me (I've had many RBF days myself; there were probably a few RBF years in my twenties) wants to understand how that person is doing. What is going on inside that person's mind? How are they feeling? What's going on in their life such that their sorrows are painted on their face? 

I want to ask them if they are OK and unsolicitedly show them that article about smiling more and how it can make us all feel better by generating more positive energy into the system. But then I think I'm coming across just as misogynistic as those men who told me to smile.

We all have good and bad days. Let's do less labeling and assuming and more asking and listening. If we all keep our minds open instead of jumping to a conclusion about another person (like labeling she's a bitch because she's got a look of disgust), we may learn more about ourselves in the long run, and the smiles will soon become natural. 

So the next time I see someone who looks depleted, I will smile at them and ask, “how’s your day going?” and maybe that conversation will brighten both our days (and give me more topics to blog on...haha)

So Readers, what are your thoughts on people who just never seem to look like they're happy?

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