So often I see comments of people on facebook, and in life where when a person is not smiling in the photo, others comment, judging it as something wrong. “Why aren’t you smiling?” “would be great to see you smiling?” “You should smile more often.” As if we are suppose to be walking around with a smile on our faces every day all day. As if beauty is determined by a smile.
In group photos what is the first thing we are expected to do, the requirement? “Ok everyone smile,” “Cheese!” We prefer people to be unnatural at that moment, fake, rather than them having the expression on their face that matches their self at that moment it time.
Facial expressions are beautiful. They speak, the eyes, the nose, the cheeks, the direction and movement, it all speaks. The most beautiful photos of all are those where individuals are being themselves at that moment. It’s the expression of their being that is truly gorgeous. If at that moment you are feeling to stick out your tongue, or you are looking at the ground pondering or whatever that might be, that is what is real for you at that moment of time. Is that what we are not capturing in the photo? The moment? Or are we trying to create a fake illusion of the moment?
I would love to see what a group photo where there were no requirements of looking straight in the camera or smiling would look like. Where each person could just be what they are feeling and sensing and being at that moment. Now wouldn’t that be beautiful! That would be so interesting. So real. If everyone could be themselves.
If at that moment you feel you would like to smile or something else for the camera than do it. Be genuine. There is no wrongness in smiling in each photo yet we do not have to enforce our view onto the other. “You should be doing this or that.” Even if you want to create a false impression nothing wrong with that either, that’s wonderful! Yet what if we did that without making the other wrong for not doing so?
Furthermore, is smiling the only way we express joy? Is that the determination of being happy? Do you ever see an artist immersed in their work painting a beautiful canvas with a smile on their face the whole time? Or a singer singing their song deep from their soul, smiling the whole way? I do not think so. Yet at that moment they are immersed in bliss, in joy, in their being.
A smile is not everything. Many people that smile all the time are not smiling inside. Smiling is simply ONE way of expression and it is different for every person.
Even more are we suppose to be happy all the time? Is happiness the only feel good emotion? There are so many other beautiful feelings that feel just as good, even melancholy. There is such a diverse line of them, each uniquely beautiful.
Somehow it seems it makes people uncomfortable when others do not smile but it is only because we just have this belief that a smile equals this, that equals this other, and this equals that. Yet there is no such thing. This then opens us up to judge when others are not following these things we see as correct.
Is honesty expressed only by a smile? How about courage? Or innocence? Sadness? Melancholy? Wisdom? Kindness? Even a person crying is beautiful if that is what is coming from their soul. “You have to smile,” is something that is ingrained in our head, that we naturally say without thinking, we are not seeing or recognizing the other person at that moment. We are judging them for feeling or expressing themselves the way they are, for being who they are. A smile does not determine who we are, or what we feel.
So what if instead we embraced the diverse uniqueness of each individual’s expressions, with no judgment but with allowance of them to be, and express who they are at that moment in time?