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  • Shihan Kendall

Face Forward


"Today I will look for the good in everyone

and everything I see.

And I will find it.

And as I find the good in the world,

the world will find the good in me. "

-Jeff Kober

I've talked a lot before, including right here on these pages, about Charles Darwin's "Facial Feedback Hypothesis." It's the idea, also espoused by various philosophers in less sciency-sounding terms, that smiling makes us happy. It is, I've found, a profound truism. Which means, of course, that just the opposite is true. Try it, but just for a second: make you're angriest, most disgusted face. How does it feel? If you're feeling particularly brave, try it in the mirror. Feels gross, doesn't it? As for the reflection snarling back at you, definitely not your best look.

And yet there are so many people who choose to live every day exactly that, living in a constant state of anger and disgust. Or at least taking a trip down to that well a couple times of day for a deep drink. I don't think there's anyone who could honestly say it feels good to be mad, but I think it's something people choose over other feelings that may beset them in sometimes confusing and trying times.

But while disgust and indignation can feel like protection against uncertainty and anxiety, those feelings also shut out contentment and connection with our fellow humans. And when we choose to look for the bad in everyone and everything we see, we are making the decision to turn a blind eye to the good. And just like that angry face in the mirror, it's not a great look. We aren't showing the world what is good in us.

We are best when we build as opposed to tear down. We are happiest when we love what's around us. And while we have some ability to change who and what surrounds us, we have infinite power to choose whether to look for the good in it, or the bad. Let's choose to put our best foot--and best face--forward.


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