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Use Chinese Face Reading as a Path to Compassion

By Jean Haner

Chinese face reading is an ancient branch of Chinese medicine that was first used to diagnose health because physicians found that patterns in the features of people’s faces revealed ways to guide them to wellness.

But they quickly discovered that these same patterns reflected each person’s inner personality too — how they’d tend to think, feel, and behave, their unique strengths and challenges, and what they needed to be happy in life.

Face reading then evolved into an early tool for personal growth. Thousands of years ago in China, face readers were the original personal coaches and therapists, helping people find loving relationships, careers that they’d be naturally good at, and guiding them to success and happiness in life.

Chinese face reading teaches that the secrets of your inner nature and personal potential are eloquently inscribed in the curve of your cheeks, the shape of your eyes, the contour of your brows, the unique patterns of your inner design. In fact, every feature of your face has a positive and affirming message for you, to help you understand yourself, and show you how to create a joyful and authentic life.

In the upcoming Personality Typing Summit, I’ll teach about the five most important features to look at in anyone’s face — to understand that person’s true nature and how to love and accept them for who they really are (including your own reflection in the mirror!).

So in this article, let’s talk about another aspect of face reading that can really help you — discovering the meanings of wrinkles! The lines on your face actually have very positive messages about who you are and your personal evolution in life. When I teach this work, I sometimes feel like I’m on a campaign to help everyone feel better about their wrinkles!

Wrinkles 101

There are three kinds of wrinkles:

  1. Wrinkles you’re supposed to grow

An example of this is what in the West we call “Crow’s Feet” — those diagonal lines next to your eyes. These are called “Joy Lines” in Chinese face reading, and are a sign that you’re a warm, affectionate person, and that your heart is continuing to open as you go through life.

And, in fact, scientific research has found that you only get Joy Lines by authentically smiling. A genuine smile involves both the muscles around the mouth and the eyes, and you can’t voluntarily move those particular muscles around your eyes. So if you fake smiles, you don’t get Joy Lines. These lines form only when you smile authentically and often!

We all read and react to faces without knowing it. Brain studies actually found that people respond positively when they see Joy Lines on someone’s face, because they unconsciously feel that person is friendly and that they’ll have a good experience with them.

  1. Wisdom Lines

Wisdom Lines are wrinkles you may grow as you’ve faced challenges and gained wisdom as a result. For example, horizontal lines on the forehead are often signs of these kinds of important lessons learned in life.

One of the things your forehead shows is the story of your life experience during your 20s, often a time when people are out on their own in the world for the first time. As a result, you may learn some powerful lessons during this decade. You may have your first big relationship (and break-up), or a stressful first job — any significant lesson you learned in your 20s will show up as a horizontal line in your forehead. It’s a sign that you’ve grown and evolved as a result of that challenging time, and it’s something you should be proud of.

In fact, if you have a procedure to remove one of these wrinkles, you risk losing the lesson you’d learned. For instance, I recently worked with a woman in her 40s who was curious why a horizontal line she’d had filled in on her forehead three years ago had suddenly reappeared.

She’d had a procedure to remove the line because she thought it made her look old. Her forehead had remained smooth for two years, but now the crease was back again. In face reading, there is a place on your face that represents every year of your life, and this line was at the place marking her life experience at age 23.

When I asked her what happened when she was 23, she said with surprise, “Well, that was a huge year for me — I got married and it was a disaster — my husband was physically abusive. I really gave my power away in that situation but I remember telling myself after my divorce that I’d learned a big lesson and I’d never let that happen again. Huh, come to think of it, it was right after my divorce that that wrinkle first appeared…

“And for the next 20 years, I never again had an abusive relationship. But then two years ago, it’s hard to admit — I dove into a marriage too quickly and he turned out to be abusive. I'm now putting my life back together after my second divorce. And, oh my God, I just realized, I got into that relationship right after I had that procedure to erase that wrinkle!”

What face reading would say was that the wrinkle marked the powerful lesson she learned from her first marriage. But when she had it removed, it correlated to losing the wisdom she’d gained in that original experience. And so she found herself making the same mistake again. The wrinkle had returned only as she’d completed her second divorce, a sign she’d re-learned the lesson. She said, “I’m going to bless that wrinkle every day for the rest of my life.”

  1. Guidance lines

The third kind of wrinkle I consider to be a gift, because it gives you an early warning about how you’re navigating off course in life, and guidance about how to correct the situation. An example of this is the vertical lines you may see above someone’s upper lip. Sometimes people call them “Smoker’s Lines,” but they’re usually caused by something entirely different.

These wrinkles are often a sign that you’ve been over-giving in life, taking care of everyone else but forgetting your own important self-care. If you see these lines developing on your face, the ratio of giving and receiving in your life is probably out of balance. This means it’s essential for you to look for ways you can be kinder to yourself and get your needs met.

If you have a cosmetic procedure to remove these lines, you’ll waste your money because they’ll just come back. This is because these wrinkles are a result of patterns of emotion that you feel over and over throughout the day.

As you experience these feelings repeatedly, you make subtle expressions that slowly carve those lines in that place. Sure, you may have them removed, but if you don’t also do the inner work to change inside as well, you’ll continue to repeat those same emotions and create the wrinkles all over again. Instead, you can learn how to ease this third kind of wrinkle on your own.

I often hear from people within weeks after they learn the meaning of these lines, that once they started nurturing themselves and making sure they were getting more of what they need in life, these lines faded or even disappeared. Your face is just a reflection of who you are inside, and as you change, it changes too! I’ve seen so many remarkable transformations over the years.

Whether you’re gazing at your own face or someone you just met, Chinese face reading gives you a path away from judgment and into understanding, acceptance, and compassion — for yourself and others.


Jean Haner is the author of three books about personality types based on the ancient principles of Chinese medicine: The Wisdom of Your Face, The Wisdom of Your Child’s Face, and Your Hidden Symmetry. Jean teaches compassionate and affirming ways for people to understand their true nature and to feel love for everyone in their lives, including that reflection in the mirror. 

Jean married into a Chinese family when she was in her 20s, and began to learn about Chinese culture, philosophy, and medicine from her very traditional mother-in-law. It wasn’t until after her wedding that she discovered the family had had her face and birthdate evaluated to see if she was a “lucky” match for her husband, and that even the date and time of the ceremony had been determined according to what would bring the most luck for the family. She went on to study the deeper foundations of these ancient principles with many teachers over 30 years, and learned that it has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with learning to be true to your nature. 

Jean is well known for providing fun, fascinating, and practical information that can be put to immediate use in your life.

Click here to visit Jean’s website.

The Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive The Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 19: Personality Typing Summit