Pitfalls…..The smile that does not reach the eyes

Common Scenario #3: We see, but not beyond the obvious. We judge without a pause. We move on, without giving enough time.

The house is perfect, the floor sparkling, the dinner sumptuous and welcome perfect.
The children well behaved and the hostess elegant.
The host benevolent, proudly touting his family’s many virtues…….but the smiles don’t reach the eyes.
She’s always gets into work the earliest, often the last to leave.
She’s never says anything when they pull her leg or diss her ideas.
She takes her boss’s ribbing and her colleagues comments with the right spirit and roll of the eyes at their infantile behaviour……but the smiles don’t reach the eyes.

She’s the life of the party, the one who gets everyone on the dance floor.
She loves an adventure and doesn’t actually mind hanging out with his friends all day, every day and the weekends as well.
She missed her mum’s birthday because his sister wanted to do dinner that one day, but she’s okay with it, really……but the smiles don’t reach the eyes.

She is always busy looking after everyone, but him most of all. 
She somehow manages to make sure eyes.jpg everything works out the way he likes it, all the time.
Its been so many years, so many- but nothing has changed for him- she makes sure of it. 
She never complains, though she’s never got time for herself, she’s getting older too.
She just soldiers on…..but the smiles don’t reach the eyes.

Look behind those smiles- the one’s that don’t reach the eyes.
Look out for what the eyes want to say, without saying it out aloud.
Offer support, not judgement
Offer time, not advise
When it is the one closest to you that inflicts the wound of any kind, it’s the hardest to confront. 
For the known devil is easier to deal with than the unknown.
But if your smiles have not reached your eyes in a long time, 
It’s time to look in the mirror and see what the eyes are really trying to say.

As I prepare to deliver a leadership program for emerging community leaders on the Prevention of Violence against Women along with Dr Peter Strekker, for AMES Australia, one of the most critical things that I’d like the 30 participants to take away from the program is the ability to support unconditionally and give time unreservedly.

The Pitfalls is a series that I have been working on, based on some of the common scenarios I have seen in my work over the last many years. Some of them have left me very angry and frustrated. The line between immense frustration and intense anger is so fine, you nearly always miss it and feel terrible afterwards. With this series, if a few become more aware, it would go a long way in making me feel a bit more hopeful


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