Check Your Face

Check Your Face

I’m sure you have heard the terms “non-verbal communication” and “poker-face.”

Let me just confess, right now, I could never play poker. When a thought runs through my head, my mouth may know better than to speak it, but my face just says it all!

That may be one reason I work well with special education students. They love loud facial expressions. It’s usually something they can relate to. Except “the look.” Many children in special education programs don’t understand that look you give from across the room that means, “you better stop that behavior right now.” You know the one. It’s the look your parents gave you. The one you give your children. “The look.”

I recall working in a regular education kindergarten classroom and I gave a child that look. Every mother possesses it and sometimes it just comes out. Right? Well, that child’s eyes got wide and they immediately quit misbehaving. It was awesome. I went home that night and announced to my husband, “I still got it!”

Just this week I had a coworker thank me for encouraging her during a crisis moment. I was surprised, because I wasn’t quite sure what she was referring to. She elaborated, “That look you gave me when…., it just encouraged me and helped me to be calm.” I was very pleased that I had been an encouragement to her. Honestly, I don’t recall giving her any kind of a look.

Isn’t it amazing that our faces can cause changes in others, whether that is behavior or emotion, strength or courage.

There is a negative side to that though. Our faces can also relate disgust, disappointment, skepticism, and anger. Here’s where it can get tricky. Often those thoughts run through our heads, but we know better than to voice the thought because we don’t want to say harmful words to another person. Yet, our faces betray us.

In that critical moment when my face was an encouragement to that co-worker… how might the situation changed if she had perceived a negative look on my face? The day might have ended very differently.

A simple eye-roll can ruin another person’s day, when a smile could help them power through and make it a great day.
I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “Be aware of your words, they can be harmful or encouraging.” The same goes for your face. Don’t forget to check your face.