I’ve spent much of my life masquerading as one thing or another. Yet now, under the stage of stillness of a pandemic, and, ironically, the covering of a face mask, I’m becoming more and more comfortable with being myself.

Unapologetic. Unadorned. Uncovered. Unmasked.

When it comes to studying faces, the eyes and mouth are the most informative regions because they tend to be the most expressive. We subconsciously analyze their combined movements to figure out what someone is trying to tell us

Millions of women around the world wear face veils every day with few apparent problems with hindered communication. Obviously, a face mask differs significantly from a niqab or burka. A face mask is worn for medical reasons; a niqab or burka, a cultural or religious one. The two have very different meanings and motivations for the wearer.

Still, they all obscure parts of our face. What can we learn from women who veil their faces about how to communicate effectively? And do masks really impede our interactions with others as much as we may think?

Humans tend to process faces as a whole, rather than focusing on individual features

“When we cannot see the whole face, such holistic processing is disrupted.”

People still develop holistic processing skills because certain people, like men and children, do not cover their faces. And the women who do wear veils don’t do so all the time, removing them at home or in the female-only company.

Since our earliest days, human beings have been incredibly attuned to reading the facial expressions of others. This ability likely conferred upon us an evolutionary advantage, Charles Darwin posited in his 1872 BOOK.

The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Learning how to read emotions from a face could aid social interaction, reduce misunderstandings, and help a group function efficiently and harmoniously for the greater good.

Even so, each feature alone can communicate certain emotions especially well. The mouth region, in particular, is good for expressing feelings of Happiness.

As the pandemic continues, the face mask looks unlikely to leave anytime soon. Given that reality, it might also be a case of learning to adjust for all of us.

 

It is a huge moment of reflection and a powerful moment to ask yourself, which kind of mask you use.

Masks I’ve worn include the good girl, dutiful daughter, and martyr mom. My mask said patient when I was frustrated. All too often the mask I wore said yes when I should have said “No, thank you.”

Author Rick Warren wrote, “Wearing a mask wears you out. Faking it is fatiguing. The most exhausting activity is pretending to be what you know you aren’t.”

Psychologists believe that people can infer the mental states – emotions, beliefs, desires, intentions, etc. – of others by simply looking at their eye region, in what is known as “theory of mind”. The concept forms the basis of the popular Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, which is commonly used to assess whether someone might have autism, Asperger Syndrome,  or other neurodevelopmental conditions.

For people with hearing difficulties, though, having the mouth covered is still a major barrier. At least 5% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss. and reading a person’s lips and facial expressions can be an important part of communicating, even for those who use sign language.

Another point to create stillness and build awareness about things that matters.

 

xo

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