I'm good at faking a smile. Are you? I learned it at a very young age. My father was the pastor of a small church in a little town in the hills of North Carolina. He was very out-going. He made it a point to hop in & get involved in the community when we first moved there. I had just completed kindergarten. That little town was our home until I was in 8th grade. And, there didn't seem to be a place where I could go that people didn't now who my father was. I was proud of him. But, it wasn't always fun to be known as one of the "preacher's kids".
I didn't want to make things bad for my family. So, I learned at a very young age to hide any feelings I had that might be seen as negative... more accurately, any feelings that might be seen as less-than-perfect.
I was shy and insecure around people. I pretended to be outgoing & confident. My fake smile may have fooled the crowd but, it didn't ease the pain inside that I battled.
It took a while for me to let go of wearing the fake smile mask 24/7. It took a LONG while... after college & into my mid-twenties. I walked away from those days though with a better understanding that what we see on another's face might not reflect what they are feeling.
We all need to get to the place where we aren't constantly hiding behind a fake smile. We don't have to open up to the world with every detail of our past. But, we should seek out & find safe friends. With those safe friends & in safe communities of friends, we can let down our guard & show some of what we are feeling. After all, those people are struggling with some sort of a battle themselves.
I still smile at times to cover up less-than-perfect feelings. But, I'm doing it a lot less these days :)
Just a glimpse of me...
- Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!