My Monday Motivational Moment: Please Stop Telling Me To Smile!

Smile! Cheer up! You look soo serious.

This simple statement command, usually from the same source, infuriates me.
My wish list of smart comebacks include:

-No, and don’t tell me what to do.
-What are you, the f^cking smile police?
-Mind your f^ing business.
Or even better…I would, but I forgot my pearls, apron and tray of freshly baked cookies at home.
Photo by s8 using the Creative Commons License.

But in the end, I don’t fire any amusing ammo. Instead, I nod my head and shoot a quick, fake smile. The Smile Monitor leaves and I am left wondering, my mind laden with self-loathing and doubt. Do I look angry, sad, depressed?

I don’t consider myself a f^ing killjoy. I am a pensive person, an introvert going about my business. I’m certainly not prancing about the hallway with a cheesy smile plastered across my face.
Why does such a friendly request cause such a volatile reaction? Smiley is just asking for a simple smile, right?

The truth is Smile! makes me feel belittled and, embarrassingly, bullied. A command that I feel is usually directed towards women, Smile! is loaded with sexist notions of what a woman should look like apart from how she’s really thinking or feeling. Instructing me to Smile! overlooks my very personal and private thoughts and emotions. So not surprisingly Smile! has the complete opposite reaction: it makes me defensive.And whether I am overanalyzing an innocent comment made with the purest of good intentions, I’d like to suggest substituting the command with the general question, How’s it going’?

So rather than unleash some snappy, witty (and yes 100% gratifying) comeback or go into some long-winded explanation to try to explain myself, I’ve chosen a better response: No thanks. I’m ok.

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