Smiling Through Clenched Teeth

Mother Teresa said, "Peace begins with a smile".  She probably should have added the word "authentic".  Peace begins with an AUTHENTIC smile, a smile that means "I forgive you" or "I'm okay".  However, a smile through clenched teeth creates just the opposite effect in the long run.

Women are notorious for minimizing our feelings to placate the world around us. After all, as little girls we are taught to "be nice" "play fair" and get along with others. That's what little girls are made of, right? Sugar and spice and everything nice. So after decades of smiling through clenched teeth when sad or angry, little girls grow up to be passive aggressive women.

Guys, you know it.  What word you do not want to hear your woman say because you know it has a hidden meaning? "Fine."   You did something that you know upset her and she simply says, "I'm fine."  You tell her you are going out with the guys on Friday and she says, "That's fine." You think she maybe getting tired of your antics so you try to reel her back in and she says "we're fine."  BEWARE of the "FINE".  It's simply a carryover from our upbringing.  We are being polite and trying to keep the peace.  At least that what we tell ourselves, but the guys know better. Don't you?  Men have figured out that "fine" is a stick of dynamite with a long fuse.  One day for seemingly no reason at all, it will blow up on you.

Ladies, we have to learn to own our emotions. When you are happy, say you're happy. When you're angry, say you're angry.  It is going to require some work because we've been socialized that our feelings are not as important as the feelings of those we love. We smile through clenched teeth to keep the peace but in the end it incites a riot.  As authentic as I have made my world and as transparent as I live my life, even I...yes me, recently had a "play nice" moment.  But it's empowering to say, "I'm not fine." Hopefully, the person on the other end of that is loving and sweet and can understand what you mean. (Otherwise, get rid of him--but that's another post.)

On that note, guys you have to stop being lazy/afraid.  I'm not going to say you need to pay attention because you know damn well when your lady is upset and hurting. However, you are not willing to address the issue because you do not want the conflict. Heaven forbid! There might be tears!!!  I know, but you gotta man up and handle it. Trust me.  Women say "I love you".  Men DO "I love you".  If you take the time to listen and understand and turn that "I'm fine" into an "I'm good" its like saying "I LOVE YOU" from the highest mountain top.  For those of you afraid of the L-word.  It's like saying "I like you a lot" too.  It means you care enough about the relationship to keep it moving forward.  Besides, you know a clenched jaw doesn't open. (*wink *wink)

We live in a world where everyone is smiling through clenched teeth.  But, "home" should be a place of transparency. It should be a place where you can express how you feel. Even if you do not get the response you wanted, the self-empowerment of owning your emotions is so rewarding that everything else is a bonus - whipped cream on top.

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