what your wrinkles are saying about you
We know that someone’s expression conveys their mood, but do their wrinkles really reflect their personality? Can facial lines indicate burn-out, disappointment, charm, courage, or secrecy? Personal development coach Marthie Maré, the first practicing face profiler in South Africa, tells us how to interpret frown lines and those around the eyes, mouth and nose. You’ll encounter terms such as dedication lines, support lines, anger flags, burn-out lines, and outreach lines. Each facial feature represents an aspect of the personality, including thinking patterns, workstyle, decision making, and listening skills.
“Every face tells a story, Says Marthie Maré “We read others’ life stories on their faces, even though it mostly happens unconsciously. We look at someone and immediately sense their determination, dissatisfaction or withdrawal, although we may not realise how we know”.
“Wrinkles on the face are due to repeated emotional reactions to situations. Strong emotion causes lines, and they usually appear after a period of suffering. Even so, wrinkles do not merely indicate suffering. When people learn what the lines on their faces symbolise, they often grow proud of them instead of wishing them away.”
Marthie Maré explains what physiognomy is, how it works, and how this knowledge can benefit you and your relationships.
The left and right sides of your face
“The left side of your face represents your personal life, while the right side points to those relationships which are less intimate and to your professional life – the face you show the world. If you have, for example, more courage lines on the right side of your face, it means that for the most part your challenges have stemmed from your work life or from your not-so-close relationships.“Remember that when you look in the mirror, the left side of your mirror image reflects the left side of your face. However, when you look at someone standing in front of you, their left side will be on your right.
“Let’s talk about specific facial lines:”
- Outreach lines
The lines fanning outwards from the corner of the eye, also called crow’s feet, are outreach lines. These lines indicate the extent to which you reach out to others by, for example, seeking advice or asking for others’ opinions. The more outreach lines you have, the more likely you will reach out for advice. The further they extend to the hairline, the more widely you tend to reach out.
- Courage lines
Lines that form horizontally under the eyes and stretch towards the cheeks are called courage lines. They form after a long period of hardship requiring courage to remain standing and fight back. You can consider them medals of honour. If you feel you are in a difficult situation, you can support yourself by gently stroking these little lines with your fingers and reminding yourself that you possess the courage to overcome any challenge.
- Frown lines
There is more than one kind of frown line.
- Anger flags
Vertical wrinkles that touch the eyebrows are anger flags which indicate suppressed anger and/or frustration. The talent that accompanies these lines is diplomacy. You may sugarcoat your true thoughts, refrain from expressing your frustration or swallow your anger to keep the peace.
- Dedication line
A single line between the eyebrows in the middle of the forehead is called a dedication line. This line means you’re in good company: Mother Teresa had a clear dedication line. This indicates your need to dedicate yourself to a certain cause or to others. Spiritually, you may be growing faster than most. You are purposeful; you tend to move from point A to point B without pausing.
More than one vertical frown lines are an indication of perfectionism. You are critical of yourself and others. In this case, I usually ask: will the issue you are fretting about at this moment – for example, whether the coffee mugs are standing in a neat row – still matter in five years’ time? Is your fixation on a specific outcome worth making life difficult for yourself and others? Try accepting something that does not sit quite right with you at least once each day. You could even arrange the coffee mugs in a crooked line on purpose and only rectify this later. See if you can bear living with certain imperfections for longer periods of time and gain more time for being creative or hanging out with friends.
Here Marthie Maré tells us why face profiling, brain profiling and coaching are a match made in heaven.
- Support lines
Vertical lines between the cheeks and jaw next to the mouth are called support lines. They appear after a difficult period during which you experienced a lack of emotional support. Support lines on the left indicate a lack of support from family and close friends, and those on the right point to a lack of support from colleagues or society in general. Such experiences teach you empathy for people in similar circumstances; you master the art of supporting them. These lines also indicate charm.
- Burn-out line
A horisontal line high on the bridge of the nose is called a burn-out line. This occurs in people who are inclined to work way too much or who take a lot of responsibility for and on behalf of others – often unnecessarily. I like to recommend that these people recharge their batteries on a regular basis. When the battery of a flashlight is flat, it cannot shine brightly. If you don’t recharge, you are not able to help others when your energy resources have been depleted.
- Disappointment lines
Lines running down from the outside of the nasal wing to the outer corner of the mouth are called disappointment lines. Most of us have these lines because we have all experienced the sweetness as well as the bitterness which life brings. If the line on the left is deeper than that on the right, it indicates personal disappointment.
- Upper lip line
A horizontal line situated between the base of the nose and the upper lip shows that, at times, your heart is not in your smile. Once again, you’re in good company – Julia Roberts has it, too!
It’s commonly found in actors, journalists and others who need to smile during their interaction with others. I like to tell people not to stop smiling; your smile may just brighten someone’s day. This line can also suggest tears that have not been shed.
- Secrecy lines
The crescents that form around the corners of the mouth are called secrecy lines. They indicate a strong need for others to respect your privacy and personal space. They do not mean that you are harbouring dark secrets!
- Conversation line
The line that runs from one side of the face below the chin right round to the other side is called a conversation line. It resembles a second smile. People with this feature talk easily and are spontaneous, provided they feel comfortable.
- Empathy lines
Lines that run from the corners of the mouth to the chin are empathy lines. At a funeral, you will note that those closest to the deceased may already have a dent on the left side of the face that will eventually develop into a groove due to emotional pain. Empathy lines on the right sometimes indicate pain caused by life in general, especially in older people who are struggling to adapt to political and other changes. People with empathy lines develop great compassion for others.
- Emotional recognition lines
Deep grooves around the nasal wings indicate that you experience a lack of emotional or even financial recognition. On the left, it shows you feel that you have to try harder than others to get the same recognition from your spouse or family. A groove on the right can mean that it’s time to ask for a raise at work.
- Humour lines
Lion’s or humour lines are an indication of a mischievous sense of humour. It’s a coping mechanism that helps you stay sane! Humour lines on the left side of the nose mean that you make your personal life more manageable by applying your sense of humour, and on the right that your sense of humour lights up your professional life and less intimate relationships.
- Survival lines
Those so-called smoker’s lines or vertical lines around the mouth have nothing to do with the smoking habit; they are survival lines. They develop when you feel your opinion is not valued, or that you are constantly being belittled. Survival lines on the left mean you feel your nearest and dearest do not honour your opinion; on the right it means you feel colleagues, friends or society criticise your views. The talent involved in this instance is your ability to handle any situation that may come your way.
- Recognition line
The horizontal line above the chin indicates a need for recognition. For example, if you give another driver a gap, you will appreciate a gesture of thanks from him or her. It doesn’t mean that your actions are driven by the recognition you’ll get, but you are set on doing things the right way.
Written by: Marthie Maré (A personal development coach from Somerset West)
This article was originally written for “Rooi Rose” magazine.