By: Kaleigh Nobbe, Clinical Intern
Kaleigh is a Clinical Intern, completing her Master of Art in Counseling at Northwestern University. Kaleigh believes her role as a counselor is to welcome all clients by inviting them to create a partnership where they grow together, mend wounds and restore health. Her focus is to use an open mind, acceptance, patience, collaboration, reflection, and humor to cultivate a deep understanding and a meaningful relationship.
I can’t (or more accurately won’t) change my face structure so what can I do?
How can I become more approachable, so others don’t run?
Short answer: Practice.
One way we can practice is by being mindful of what our body is saying to others. Maybe the graphics on our clothing is frightening to some. Perhaps the speed at which we walk says we are late. Our back could be turned to someone to demonstrate that we are closed off to another personal entering our conversation.
Another way to practice is by watching your expressions in the mirror. Often, a blank face that may be assumed to be neutral will still be mistaken as some level of “upset.” The mouth is pulled downward by gravity and the brows rest in their natural zone, a place where they can feel heavy in the center. Can you feel it? Now, try to gently raise your brows – not to show surprise, but where your eyes feel more open and aware. Then, a quarter smile – lift the corners of your mouth just enough to lift the cheeks and bring comfort to the room. These small changes can be helpful steps to welcome others into our space without yet pushing us beyond our comfort zones.