People Who Smile Too Much


Smile, smile, smile

Smile, smile, smile by Elizabeth Wagele

I don’t smile constantly, but I have always been afraid to show it when I felt angry inside. Early on I began smiling automatically when someone upset me. The feeling was similar to if you’ve ever smiled when you saw an accident–from someone slipping on a banana peel in a cartoon to a real indignity that didn’t seem at all comical after you thought about it. Perhaps we’re relieved it didn’t happen to us. Perhaps the danger involved makes us anxious and our anxiety produces a smile response.

Smiling from anxiety is a natural defense. Years ago I was walking with my friend, Rebecca, when I smiled at an acquaintance and acted happy to see her. After we passed, I told Rebecca I didn’t like this person. Rebecca, a schoolteacher and a Buddhist priest, said, “Then why did you act just the opposite?” Since then I’ve tried to be more aware of what I’m doing. I try to show on the outside the way I feel on the inside. Sometimes I’m so uncomfortable I still smile from tension and I try to not let that bother me.

Please read my Psychology Today blog, “Why We Smile,” for more ideas on this subject. 

A blogger wrote, “I have a compulsive smiling problem. When someone gets on the elevator with me, I smile. When the bagger hands me my groceries, I smile. When someone opens the door for me, I smile. The only time I don’t smile is when someone at the grocery store says, ‘Hey, why don’t you smile for me?’ and I want to stuff arugula down their throat.

 

“I think this is a female thing. I also think it’s a desperate-need-to-please-others-and-be-liked thing, which I am working on getting over… We laugh as a social function to let people know, ‘Everything’s ok! We’re all friends here!’ I think smiling is the same way. I smile to let people know I am not a threat. Please don’t give me trouble. Smile, smile, smile.

 

“It is hard to stop smiling. I find the corners of my mouth being pulled up by invisible marionette strings. Don’t do that! I murmur in my mind… I will not Botox my smile muscles closed. I will still smile when someone has been nice or if I really do want to flirt. I just need to stop smiling for no reason or strictly out of fear or discomfort.”

Here is another take from an internet forum: “People who are always smiling and don’t seem to have one serious thought their lives irritate me… They try to please everyone, but in the end have no real friends. I abominate lies, even the ones hidden in a facial expression.” – Nawyrus from INTP Forum

On medhelp, Kirkgregor said: “I am in my mid forties. All my life people in a wide variety of settings have come to the same conclusion about me when I try to socialize: ‘What are you smiling ‘bout?’ They stare me down and don’t understand why I smile.

“… As a boy (ages 0-12), my mother was routinely beaten by my father. He still lives as a selfish hermit on a 120-acre former dairy farm. My mother vented some on me after her beatings, but she has the Smiling Too Much disorder too. I think she just does it with me though. I have studied her around others and she does not smile so much to them.

“I smile as I communicate with every human I associate with.”

This was answered by Roger Gould, M.D.: “…The kind of smile you describe is like a mask that covers up what you are really thinking, and probably has a defensive look to outsiders, …as if saying what you are thinking about people. The best thing you can do is to start sorting out what you are feeling, what… is real and what is memory/feeling. It would be best to do this with someone close to you that you trust, and if not, with a therapist.”

Read my WordPress blog of 9-26-13: “When Women Sound Like Little Girls.”

Read my Psychology Today blog, “How to Achieve Success at Work,” Part One.

“How to Achieve Success at Work, Part Two” will appear on 9-17-13.

Visit http://wagele.com to check out my books, CD, cartoons, and essays, and Famous Enneagram Types.

 

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Where True Self Meets Personality


Cover of The Happy Introvert

I changed the name of my blog on WordPress from The Career Within You to Enneagram… Exploring Your True Self a few months ago. I wanted it to represent all of my work instead of one book since the initial year’s promotion of the career book had passed. (The Happy Introvert is my one non-Enneagram book, though includes the Enneagram.)

The reason Enneagram… Exploring Your True Self is an interesting, perhaps controversial blog title is that some Enneagram enthusiasts believe the nine Enneagram types do not represent our true self, but stand for ways we cover up our true self with dreaded personalities or false selves. Our task is to find our authentic self, so the theory goes. And do we ever find it? What is it and where? And what am I now? Am I worth nothing until I have become enlightened by shedding my personality? How am I to reconcile having so much improving to do in the age of NOW?

I used to be a member of The Conversation, a forum magazine editor Jack Labanauskas got together on The Enneagram Monthly. Theologists, professors, writers like me, and others participated and tried to hash out questions like this. We never got closer to resolving this problem than people ever seem to get with the question of free will.

When I wrote The Enneagram of Parenting, I realized we have inborn styles of behavior. We express our true selves in a certain style and we act out habits we use as defenses in the same style. The styles of behavior we’re born with are in our DNA so they are true and natural. A person who has been consistently happy or grouchy or neat or messy or introverted from day one didn’t get that way by training.

One reason I was attracted to calling this blog Enneagram… Exploring Your True Self is that it shares part of the title of my introvert book: The Happy Introvert, a Wild and Crazy Guide for Celebrating Your True Self.

Do you know what your self is? Do you know what your personality is? When I feel anxious, I know that I am the least mySelf. I will act too smiley, too pleased, or too much the way others want me to act out of fear. When I am the most secure, especially when I’m alone or with one or two others I trust, I am the most myself. My behavior and my inner thoughts and feelings all match. I most know who I am at those times. Normally, even if I feel anxious, I don’t put on a big act that I’m someone I’m not. I can’t be out of my quiet space for very long no matter what. Pretense doesn’t sit well with me. When I’m uncomfortable, I’m likely to just be quiet.

Let me know what you think of your self and your personality. Is your self on an authentic/phony continuum? Is there a self/personality continuum or are they the same thing riding along parallel? Are your defenses the real you? What and/or where is the authentic you?

Raising the “Questioner” Child (Type 6)


Drawing from “The Enneagram of Parenting”

In the Enneagram system of personality, the sixth style is called the Questioner. Things don’t feel safe, as though one is at sea or rolling around on balls or wheels. Where will my greatest safety come from – a strong, brave stance or a weak “protect me” one? Whom can I trust? Is this object hollow or solid? Are you pushing me or am I pulling you? Am I safer standing on your shoulders, with you standing on mine, or with like-minded warriors both on top of me and underneath me? Is there safety in numbers or am I better of going it alone? Maybe I need to learn to scare people off before they have a chance to get me. It helps to lean on a bigger authority sometimes or to put on my boxing gloves. My mind is always whirling around with these thoughts of how to protect myself so I can be prepared for anything.

In “The Enneagram of Parenting” I don’t use the words in the paragraph you have just read. I let the cartoon speak for itself instead. In fact, I drew this cartoon about thirteen years ago and never quite put the concepts into words for myself until now. I did feel, however, that the whirling symbols seemed like the Questioner (“what if…?”) part of myself, one of my wings since I’m a 5-Observer.

For each of the nine styles of children, I drew one cartoon meant to represent the general idea of the style. This was that cartoon for the Questioner child. I hope it conveys the feeling-tone accurately enough for them and their parents and teachers to relate to it. It’s a challenge because there are many variations within each style. In this case, though, I feel it has held up well. Questioners want to know who the authority is and I think this authority is someone you can count on. He has such a strong face I think it’s okay he doesn’t have legs and it’s kind of funny he’s made out of a question mark. In fact, that’s probably a healing aspect of the cartoon. Just what a Questioner might dread the most is right here for all to see and is creating no problem at all! The authority is itself poorly balanced on a ball, not even touching it! So, at least in cartoon-land, you don’t need an anchor after all, you see? The cartoon is YOU in most of your Questioner aspects, suspended with no security, yet surviving instead of toppling over. This all wouldn’t work if it was spoken in words as I have just done. But I hope it does work as a cartoon.

Questioner children need order, predictability, and to learn to trust their inner authority. They need to learn to built confidence in themselves and in their ability to meet new situations, which means they need to be treated with patience and calmness. My book helps parents and teachers by showing learning styles and what different types need in terms of adult attitudes. Children vary a lot in their inborn traits that govern how fearful they are, their study habits, social adjustment, and so much more.

The Enneagram of Parenting by Elizabeth Wagele. HarperCollins publisher

Buy now at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

“I Hate My Job” – Guest Blog by Elizabeth Hui



What strengths do I bring to the workplace?

Awwww, this question again.

It’s often tempting to just roll your eyes and rattle off the typical list of strong points: punctual, hard-working, outgoing, etc., etc.

And yet, we’ve all met or heard of individuals who fail to challenge themselves in this way.

The middle-aged architect who drags himself to work, distances himself from colleagues, and tallies the days until retirement.  The educated homemaker who sends her children off to college then wonders, Okay, what now? The college senior overly-anxious about what career path to pursue and how to make the best impression on an employer.

Maybe any one of these people is you.

And if so, what are you going to do about it?

The Career Within You is a simple guide to matching your personality traits, perceived strengths, and fields of interest with specific careers. It also provides important tips on job-hunting, resume-writing, networking, and interviewing.

So whether you are dissatisfied with a job that’s become mundane or unbearable, unemployed, not sure how to sell yourself during job interviews, or even enamored with your current career, it’s always essential to recognize who you are as both a worker and a person.  Let The Career Within You help you do that!

Purchase it today!

Amazon.com: http://bit.ly/8YTdOs

Indie-bound: http://bit.ly/71vdqn

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/4H9im2

What’s Virtuous about Fighting for Kitties?


Asserter carpenterLong before I heard about the Enneagram personality system, I knew I needed to model myself more after the personality type I was later to learn is called the “Asserter,” as seen in the example above with the tattoo on his arm. He tells it like it is and is more than willing to fight over his truth. He loves kittens. Unlike his co-worker, he doesn’t consider this affection an affliction. It doesn’t lessen his manhood one iota. So there! Good for him. I admire a person who honors truth! This decisive, confident archetype of the Asserter was well known to me for most of my life without having to be taught about it. So the Enneagram made sense: it imparted truths of human nature. The nine types were there to see and to check out. They weren’t arbitrary. I saw them in the people I came in touch with every day.

Being an Observer with a strong Romantic wing, I’m fond of authenticity. I’m an INFP in the MBTI system, which means I’m a soul-searcher, an artistic type. I’ve been writing books and drawing cartoons for 15 years and I play the piano. I love the arts. But for the past few months I’ve been doing little but marketing my newest book, “The Career Within You.” The Observer in me is curious and enjoys new areas of learning. I’ve learned about Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Flickr, You Tube, and a few other marketing tools. I spend hours each day on these things and some of it is fun. My dreams at night seem to be telling me I’m clogging up my creative side, though. It’s true–I’ll have ideas about future projects and start on them only to abandon them for some deadline having to do with marketing.

I’m like the guy in the cartoon. He probably wants to go home and play with his kitten. He’s not a wimp and neither am I. We just know what we like. He’s telling the world about his passion and I’m telling the world about mine right now: the Enneagram. There are many reasons I love it, too many to lay out here. But two big reasons are: •1)  the Enneagram pinpointed my type for me, the Observer, so that instead of feeling on the outside, I was comforted to know that my “group” was seen. • 2) the Enneagram has possibilities for great good in the world as a tool for healing racial, cultural, and religious divides. It is already saving and healing individuals and groups and I want to see its usefulness expand. I think my books are good for that. http://www.wagele.com If you’re one of my fans, you can help with my social marketing project in many ways. A fun way is to go to my CARTOON SHARING PROJECT on my home page, lift the html of some of your favorite cartoons, and put them on your own web site or other forums and help spread the word that way or in emails.

When Children Are Pressured to be Who They Are Not


Jung believed the psyche is as physically based as our physical properties, but in his time most people believed children were blank slates to be filled in by their parents. “The Career Within You” supports Jung’s beliefs. It helps career-searchers get underneath to who they really are in order to approach their life’s work from an integrated place. It helps you match up your career and your true self. If this doesn’t occur, look at the cartoon of what might happen! Oh no!

Too many times people are pressured to follow a career the family or a teacher chose for them that was not based on their real desires and gifts. Too often in these difficult financial times people grab a job that has nothing to do with their lives, when taking a little more time to investigate themselves could lead to a much more fulfilling career. Please take that extra time to get to know who you are and what you want.

This cartoon is on page 28 of my book, “The Happy Introvert.”

Cultivating Mindfulness


Mandala

Yesterday I had lunch with some friends. I was feeling guarded about one of them, who will often fly off the handle in the passion of presenting his positions on things. I have quite an even temperament and I don’t always do so well with people who are the opposite from me in that regard. I tend to feel overwhelmed by their emotions and lose track of myself. So before we met I felt uneasy considering what I might do about this. But as I observed him talking to another member of our group I noticed what an emotional person he is–and I let it in that this has nothing to do with me. I think I’ve been seeing him as intimidating me all too readily. As it turned out, he never did go into a rage that day. Now that I have greater insight into myself, I have time to work on my own attitude before we meet again in a few weeks. I will try to accept him as a person who is unlike me; he is emotionally based. Hopefully I have tender feelings, but I would never express them so dramatically. Either it’s not my in-born style or maybe I’m too timid. He probably represents my shadow.

As often happens, this breakthrough (I call it a breakthrough because I had been struggling with this person’s temper for a long time) didn’t come out of the blue. It comes on the heels of a much larger breakthrough concerning a family member. Being mindful was a help to me in both cases. After receiving a wrongfully accusing letter from a relative, I had plunged into a negative feeling state and started to obsess about how to react. Several times I considered pushing my feelings away and trying to forget the whole thing, but my energy was so intense I decided something productive might be percolating inside of me. I had felt similarly when in on the verge of creative breakthroughs in the past. Sure enough, in another couple of weeks I had solved a big puzzle. After trying to be open and waiting, things came together and the story of this tangled relationship started to make sense. I was glad I had stuck it out, including working hard on the dreams I had during this period, and able to make more progress on this situation than I ever expected. So taking the “positive” route doesn’t always achieve the best results. Sometimes hanging out in an uncertain or even negative place turns out to be the best in the long run.