Of all my negative physical characteristics, my smile had to be the worst. Not that it was so horrible in itself; its just that I was more self-conscious about this part of my appearance than any other physical attribute. It was so bad that Im sure it could have been classified as a separate phobia – fear of smiling.
I had convinced myself that mine was the weirdest, most hideous smile on the planet. I was sure that people would comment on that fact had I the nerve to actually perform this most basic human function in public. There was no way it would happen – I just couldnt relax enough to try.
In actual fact, I could not even smile in a mirror, in the privacy of my own home, without feeling like the local weirdo. It was not a natural function for me – far from it. If I forced myself to smile in private, it looked forced and psychotic looking. I wondered how people would react to seeing that.
As a result, I was extremely self-conscious of letting anyone see me laugh or smile – even when the situation called for it. Many social encounters demand a least a smirk or a chuckle now and then, however, I was as stone-faced as they come – a real downer.
This was a huge problem because it automatically labeled me a social misfit before people even had a chance to talk to me. My cold look and the fact that my expression never changed, said stay away – and they did.
Why would anyone make the effort to get to know someone like that, when there were all kinds of laughing, carefree, and likeable people around – People that were a little less serious, more interesting and, most likely, a lot more fun?
I struggled for a long time with this problem. It ranked way up there with the worst of my social anxiety traits. To this day, I still feel a little self-conscience about my smile – it depends on the situation.
As part of my new appearance improvement, I needed to work on my smile above all else. Ill never forget the first few times I experimented with different expressions in front of the mirror – I thought my face was going to break. Really, it felt so unnatural, I thought that I would damage something – and talk about strange looking. I felt embarrassed, even though I was alone in the room.