“Mom, why are you frowning?” That is what my son asked me one afternoon while we were sitting at the dining room table. He was doing his homework while I worked on some online classes. “What do you mean?” I asked. He responded, “well, you look like you’re frowning, and I was wondering why you were sad.” I reassured him I was not sad, and I was just concentrating on what I was doing. I think that was a lie.
Something about that exchange last week has hung over me. I looked in the mirror after he said that and realized I did, in fact, appear to be frowning. Maybe that’s just the way my mouth is shaped I thought to myself. Oh great, I am one of those people who perpetually look like they are frowning when in fact they are not.
Or am I?
Am I Really Frowning All the Time?
I began to reflect a little bit on his comment. I suppose a lot a bit. When was the last time I really laughed? When was the last time I smiled for no good reason? I don’t feel sad. I feel a lot of things right now, but sad isn’t necessarily at the forefront of my emotions at the moment. A bit frustrated, challenged, a little angry, grateful and a host of other emotions but sad isn’t the main feeling. I can be funny when I want to be like in this blog post about Life As It Happens.
We all have struggles in life, right? I mean, it can be work related, home-life, school or family and friends, hell life in general is a struggle at times. I think we all carry a bit of sadness with us all the time whether we acknowledge it or not. When I look at my son, even his eyes smile. He is just pure joy in my life. This brings me to the ultimate question for myself stemming from a 9-year old’s perception of my facial expression.
When did I forget to smile? When did I forget to allow myself to be happy and giddy and truly joyous, not just in a moment, but in general? Even in this picture above, you can see his eyes full on smiling and I look like I am barely managing. Was I just focused on taking the picture, or is that another way of me avoiding something deeper.
Don’t get me wrong, we can’t go around expecting ourselves to be laughing our asses off constantly. If we did, we would probably be institutionalized, or just viewed as a weirdo. Maybe. Just my thoughts. But why can’t we remember to find those joys throughout our day? Everyday?
When did it become okay to let life and all of its challenges take over and become my, (and if you relate, our) dictator of emotions? I am asking myself and you this question seriously. Not just because it’s a new year and we all want a sense of a fresh start, but because I actually think I may have had my ability to identify joy and happiness muted, for lack of a better word.
I may not have noticed, but my son did. It’s one thing to suffer a hard time or have to deal with difficult moments or episodes or periods in our lives, but it’s entirely another thing to let those things take over completely and become who we are.
We all have our struggles as I mentioned. Mine in particular, at least recently, have been physical and health issues, relationship issues and even work related. Frustrations and feelings of being overwhelmed and not having a clear direction or path, something I find difficult to manage. I am working on all of those things, but you know what I have paid zero attention to?
Having been so caught up with my other emotions, and providing the ones above for others, I have left myself out of that very special group. I HAVE LEFT MYSELF OUT. Think about that for a moment.
How many times do we leave ourselves out or take last place when it comes to those 4 elements of life? Probably too many. At least I know in my case that is true. It did make me sad to think my son views me as frowning all the time. It hurts my heart to think that he may grow up and recall me in his childhood as being one who never or seldom laughed. I don’t want that for him.
Sure I can be the “fun” mom and arrange fun activities and take him here or there for fun experiences, but at the end of the day, how does my son view me? Just as the facilitator of fun activities? Or does he view me as a laughing, happy, joyful, content individual? You might argue that some of these terms are synonymous. I don’t believe they are.
You can fake laughter. You can pretend to be happy, content and even joyful on demand. We all do it on some level, right? For example, say your boss walks in and asks you how you like your new position or current one and we respond with positivity whether it’s authentic or not. Why? Mostly out of fear of looking like the “complainer” or worse, making them nervous we are pursuing other avenues, true or not. Look at the phrase, “fake it till you make it”…is that really a healthy way to approach it?
Maybe a better way is to identify what it is that prevents us from genuinely being any of those 4 elements. Genuinely being the key term there. We all get off track from time to time. It’s part of life. What scares me most, is when we get off track, but don’t realize it. And I suppose that is what happened here to me. I have forgotten how to smile. Really smile and be happy. Find the contentment in my life. It’s all there. I must remind myself that it is in front of me and should be more important than all those other emotions that creep in and take over.
Those other emotions deserve attention, but they don’t deserve all the attention. My conclusion in this is simple. I need to re-focus my scope. Identify what makes me laugh until my belly hurts, what brings me joy and happiness and celebrate those things or people. And finally, find that contentment, which is there, hiding under the rubble of difficult times.
If you relate to this, please comment below. Better yet, follow my website and let’s open some dialogue. I was going to do this in video form to save time, but I was afraid that I would get too emotional. This observation by my son hit home hard. In a good way, though. It opened my eyes. I don’t recommend flying blind through life, yet it does happen occasionally, be grateful to the people or person who brings you those much-needed moments of clarity.
I am no expert by any means, but one thing I have learned becoming a mom, children see everything. They may not always express it, but they see it. I am grateful my son saw it and brought it to my attention. I hope you all have someone in your life that does the same. My final thoughts? Difficult times or moments are just that. Temporary points and periods in our lives. What should always remain permanent are the 4 elements I mentioned above. Just the ramblings of A Mom With Musings.
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