Physical attractiveness is born from two things, your genetic heritage, and how you use your body. You were either born an ugly SOB, or you made yourself that way. Happily, you can change that smashed crab on your head for the better.
When you were a child, you reacted to many different things. Pain, joy, disgust, sadness… all these things made an impression on you. If one of these emotions operated more strongly in your life than others, often there are physical signs.
My brother has extremely high shoulders. Our father would backhand him at the dinner table, and pretty much anywhere else that took his fancy. What protective mechanism did my brother as a child use? He withdrew his head into his turtle shell.
This muscular reaction then became frozen in time from overuse. It transformed from a semi-conscious reaction into a completely unconscious body state.
Take a moment to think about that. Extended emotive and mental experience literally transformed this man’s body. How has your body fared in your lifetime?
I too used to have high shoulders from the same stresses. But after a decade of working hard I’ve released them and felt the relief of physical and mental relaxation.
Let’s do an exercise. Think about when you are stressed at work. You’ve been working hard and the boss has asked a job of you with a tight deadline, and you are struggling to meet it. How does your body feel?
Maybe you clench your jaw tightly, raise your shoulders slightly, bend your lower back forward, squint your forehead and eyes a little, and tighten your lips.
Now imagine you’re lying in an epsom salt bath. Which, if you haven’t, you should. Feel the tension slipping away as the warm water seeps into your tired pores. Sense the steam floating around your head. A relaxing scent enter your nostrils. A sigh of utter abandonment exits your mouth. How do you feel?
I feel my back and shoulders coming down and sitting on my lats. My forehead and eyes relax and close. My buttocks and hip flexors relax. My jaw starts to come down slightly. How about you?
Mental Links to a Physical State
What’s interesting is your mental state. In the first instance, you feel stressed, your mind is racing and your body is tense. In the second, your body is relaxed and your mind is the same.
The question is: Which came first, the body state or the mental state?
Have you seen someone with a completely immobile face? They are impossible to read, and their face looks frozen. Do you think they enjoy life, hiding behind a face unable to express itself? And what made them that way? What affected that person to the extent they had to prevent any emotion making its way onto their face? Imagine the control early on, where they told themselves that smiles, frowns, grimaces and surprise faces were forbidden. What is that person’s mental state like? I imagine it to be like being locked in a padded room with freedom forbidden, and any expression leads to the wardens entering with batons and syringes. Utter misery.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, you see one version of yourself of a potential multitude. Just as you can change your body through the gym or other body arts, your face can become more relaxed, and thus hotter in both the boardroom and to the ladies at your local, depending on both the mental state you hold, and the muscles you hold in a tonic state.
The Physiology of Emotion
In physiology, a tonic state is where muscles are held in chronic tension. The muscles are locked on.
Trying to alter your character with chronic facial tension is akin to trying to use your phone while it’s locked. It’s nigh-on impossible. While the muscles are locked on, certain aspects of your personality are locked in concert. Free up your face, and your attitude and personality are yours to choose.
Rollo Tomassi (The Rational Male) believes that personality is fluid and that people can change. I too believe that, but it’s a whole fuckload harder to change behaviour when your body and face are locked. This is why young guys in the PUA community just cannot change and go back to their old habits and patterns. If you are carrying in your physicality a link to a vulnerable and painful childhood, you may as well never have grown up.
Your idea of yourself works in concert with how much tension you carry with you. Those of you who work out and have put on a decent amount of muscle AFTER your early twenties can attest to the changes in personality that come about from muscular relaxation and activation. Gym-goers not only build muscle, they encourage relaxation of tonic muscles through use. Tonic musculature is hyper-activated, but when it’s consciously activated through repetitious movement, this chronic tension breaks down.
It’s not only hormonal changes that encourage character change in gym-junkies, it’s also the re-integration of the body with the mind. Muscles that have been out of the mind’s reach for decades are suddenly able to be used and relaxed, and this frees the restrictive mental pathways that go with them.
Think about working an office job. Imagine yourself hunched over. In fact, do it now and test it out. Hunch over. Really tighten up your shoulders so they almost touch your ears. Now, squint your forehead as tightly as you can while squinting your eyes a little. Are you feeling a little restricted? A little grumpy? Now imagine holding this physical position for years. Do you think your mental state will get better or worse? You could say that this moment that you started holding this position is the emotional state you will carry with you until you can relax that tension.
The Benefits of Unlocking Your Face
The goal here is to make facial and bodily appearance a choice rather than a static inheritance. All men can benefit from relaxing and mobilising their face. A mobile face is more attractive, and better able to communicate emotion and minutiae of expression.
Some of you might like a solid, unexpressive face because it can be used for intimidatory purposes, or can give the impression of strength. I too use this face when necessary. But in my case it is one of many choices, not a mandatory option.
All men will benefit from increased attractiveness, increased external perception of empathy through better reflective expression, and more control over facial expressions. Your face can start to mimic your words.
So how do we start releasing this facial tension? The same way we release body tension, by tensing, relaxing and mobilising.
1. Start with the face as a whole. I like to just move the entire face for a minute or two as a warm up. Raise and lower your eyebrows. Lift your nose. Roll your eyes around in their sockets while opening them wide and squinting them shut. Open your mouth wide, mobilise your jaw from side to side, then squeeze shut. Poke your tongue out, make shapes with it them pull it in as far as possible.
2. Make emotion faces. Sad, happy, angry, contempt, surprised, confused, disgusted. Here’s a handy list you can work from. When you have an emotion face, say angry, change slowly to another emotion, sad for example. Then to another, and another. The key is to move slowly between faces. http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emotions
3. Now make eye movements. Roll them around. Move them up and down, side to side. You have many scripted and automatic eye patterns. See if you can consciously replicate them, and maybe try some new ones.
These are just a few things to get you started. Try them out in the morning when you get up. Five to ten minutes is all you need.
You can use a mirror for all of these exercises if you wish. I find it helps with isolating muscle groups and practicing expressions. For example I found that, while I thought my big smile was wide and smiley, it really wasn’t at all. It was rigid and small with no eye squint, and only the left side of my mouth came up (you can read about left side facial dominance here). I had often wondered why my big smile was not reflected back. It’s because it was more of a grimace. So I had to practice smiling wide in the mirror before I could take it outside and scare the neighbours with it.
You may find while doing these exercises that you might feel something. As in, your feelings might bubble up. This is all part of the process. While you are changing your face you are also changing rigid processes that have been a part of you for perhaps decades. This might cause some anxiety. Just roll with it. If the feelings get too much just try again tomorrow.
DO NOT underestimate the power of these exercises. My character changed over the course of months after I started these. If done properly they can go a long way toward changing your face, changing YOU, and making your life a whole lot happier and more enjoyable.