Non-verbal communication is a very significant way we women express our feelings, desires, intentions, and even our future actions. Many women, as a result of the varied expressions that play along their faces on a daily basis, are deemed open books. Are you one?

Through the muscles beneath the skin; whether by raising of either one or both eyebrows, the rolling of eye balls till the whites of our eyes are visible, wrinkling of the nose, pouting or squeezing the lips and sticking out the tongue, we convey different emotional signals.

As we grow older, we learn to use the different parts of our face to express our feelings. Along the journey of life we discard the ones that appear too alatika [a term used to describe the expression of uncouth women] and retain those expressions that are useful in portraying us in a good light and showcasing what we deem to be a respectable level of refinement.

As children, we could not boast of any measure of control over our facial expressions. We laughedfreely like clowns; making it easy for others to perceive our happiness.  And in crying, our facial expressions would crumble like a squeezed tissue. Our parents found it so easy back then to know our feelings and sort out our desires. Just from the expressionson our faces, they knew when we hadsoiled our nappies or even when we were fond of one person in particular.

Then, when we started to grow, we realized we didn’t want them to know everything on our minds anymore. This inadvertently led us to master the art of masking our expressions. But masking our expressions is only the first stage in mastering our emotions and expressions.

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You are determined to go on that holiday trip and your husband is hinting you about financial constraints. For a full week you knit your brows.  You keep a downward curl to the edge of your lips. The expression in your eyes retains a permanent fixture indicating boredom when he speaks. You haven’t said a word, but your non-verbal communication suggests that if Hubby doesn’t come up with the funds, he might have to sleep with one eye open.

Your husband’s friend has been giving you “the eye”, and one day you find yourself alone with him in the car. You give him the worst harmattan stare imaginable; the one you have seen Patience Okonkwo display on DSTVAfrican Magic. That stare is cold enough to kill whatever desire he may have for you and make him drive straight into the stationary trailer in front of you.

The thing about our expressions is this; though they may be great tools in reflecting the emotions within us, they can also be used for a whole lot more than that. Imagine giving the sweetest smile to your colleagues in the morning. While you may not have started your own day on a grand note, that smile returned to you certainly brightens your day.

So what if you have heard the joke before? If it’s funny, nothing should keep you from laughing. A merry heart doeth good like medicine, so says the good book. While our expression may reflect how we feel inside, the reverse also works, in the sense that what we feel on the inside may become better by our outward expressions. This is not to endorse any form of pretentious lifestyle, but to let you see that our expressions, though a reflection of how we feel can also be used to help control our negative feelings without spreading gloom.

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It is far better to be known as a woman who spreads cheer, joy and happiness.You can be a no-nonsense, down-to-earth person without being mean. People should not look at you all the time anticipating a glare from your end of the room. A smile would do you much more good than you can realise. Not only do warm, friendly expressions make the people around you comfortable, they loosen your facial muscles giving your face that extra boost of a youthful look.



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