Control Your Facial Expressions and Emotions?

Control Your Facial Expressions and Emotions? March 6, 2019

Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies has a pile of one liner ‘Women’s Encouragement’ she’s posting right now. Including on her favorite subject of using a tablecloth. Apparently always using a tablecloth is a cultural thing from her childhood in New Zealand. She’s also been beating on her other favorite hobby horses, controlling your emotions, lest your children see anything but the deepest contentment and smiles on your selfish face.

…and I can only think of one or two circumstances where you might want to exhibit peaceful facial expressions by controlling yourself. I don’t think that having and showing your emotions, your genuine feelings around your children will warp them into hateful sourpusses no matter what Nancy claims. Better to be real and genuine with family, or they’ll wonder what you’re hiding, if you’re okay. You might cause them worry if you are manically grinning all the time.

A book I’ve read and reread recently had this to say about emotions, those things Nancy and other female cultural enforcers insist you control. The book is ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson.

“Emotions evolved for one specific purpose, to help us live and reproduce a little bit better. That’s it. They’re feedback mechanisms telling us that something is either likely right, or likely wrong for us—- nothing more, nothing less”

and

“Emotions are simply biological signals designed to nudge you in the direction of beneficial change.”

Manson has these interesting things to say about Nancy and pals insisting you control all your negative thoughts and emotions:

“Many people are taught to repress their emotions for various personal, cultural, or social reasons—particularly negative emotions. Sadly, to deny one’s negative emotions is to deny many of the feedback mechanisms that help a person solve problems. As a result, many of these repressed individuals struggle to deal with problems throughout their lives. And if they can’t solve problems, then they can’t be happy. Remember, pain serves a purpose.”

Does that sound like a certain subset of folks you know that are constantly battling with the world over a million issues? It does.

Returning to the issue of keeping a carefully happy facial expression. I can only think of two times in my own life when keeping a calm expression helped more than being genuine. When I worked at a children’s residential treatment center with kids  who had been abused and were constantly on high alert around everyone.

The other one was when we got an abused kitten named Pedro. Pedro would freeze and look scared, scanning your facial expression. You could feel his eyes concentrating on your face as he tried to decide if you might beat him or yell at him.  He was crouched, flexed to run as he did this. He expected abuse. I learned if you kept a slight smile and friendly expression he would relax with almost a cat sigh. It was so sad that he always had that reaction for the first year he lived with us.

Nancy should know that normal people do not need everyone around them constantly grinning. Abused, neglected, emotionally distrait people might, but not everyone else.

So much dysfunction in Nancy’s few paragraphs. What does that say about her understanding of God?


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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 32 years. You can read more about the author here.

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