“The desire for self-expression afflicts people when they feel there is something of themselves which is not getting through to the outside world.” ~Fay Weldon, English author, essayist and playwright
Children have a natural ability to live “out there,” fully self-expressed. They’re not yet tainted by the heaviness of life, having to do with worrying about what other people think, living up to societal pressures, and fear of retribution. So, consequently, you hear kids saying refreshing things like, “Mom, why don’t you stand up to Grandma when she makes you feel bad?” All they understand is to tell the naked truth. What a free way to live! Of course, we’re not talking about the kind of truth that intentionally hurts people’s feelings. We’re talking about telling people how we feel in a kind way, and not leaving anything important to the well-being of our relationships unsaid.
Speaking your truth by saying what’s really on your mind (more on this below) is one way to live more fully self-expressed.
What is Self-Expression?
Self-expression is a display of individuality whether it’s through words, clothing, hairstyle, or art forms such as writing and drawing. Being self-expressed means that people will see your spirit and true character; they will see the totality of who you are. And sharing of one’s “self” fully is the ultimate in generosity and is vital for peace, happiness and fulfillment.
Sometimes we are not sure how to access creativity or inspiration, or we know what we want to say or do, but are unsure of how to express ourselves, or feel ill-equipped in our expression of something.
Here are ways to become more fully self-expressed:
Speak Your Truth in the Moment
Did you ever look back on a conversation you had and fantasize about talking to that person in a more authentic way than you did? Perhaps it was someone who mistreated you and instead of telling them how you felt about it, you walked away feeling disempowered and wishing you had stood up for yourself. For some of us, speaking our truth, in the moment, may be difficult because of fear of confrontation and lack of confidence, but not speaking our truth can have damaging effects on self-esteem and even health.
Start noticing where you may be holding back and when an opportunity comes to speak truthfully (with love and kindness), take it on as a challenge and speak up. With practice, you’ll gain more courage and having difficult conversations will come easier.
Widely Define Yourself
“People often say that this person or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something that one finds. It is something that one creates,” said Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz.
When we think about ourselves, we tend to think in a certain way about our skills, strengths and talents. We narrowly define ourselves, meaning we live life from a certain way of thinking and being, which limits our experiences. We can re-create ourselves at anytime and choose to define ourselves in other ways. Explore new ways of thinking and being, and you may discover that you have talents and passions you never knew existed.
Engage in Creative Techniques
We can help birth ideas and create new possibilities for our life with creative techniques. Through these techniques, we expand our creative aptitude and can potentially achieve a longstanding desire from writing a screenplay to becoming a website designer to making wedding cakes, for example. Some creative techniques to try include: writing daily about anything that’s on your mind, keeping an idea book that you can carry with you, using mind maps for creative problem-solving, brainstorming, and creating vision boards.
Acquire Self Knowledge – Know Who You Are
Many of us rarely, if ever, take time out from our harried schedules to become an observer of our own life and who we are being. We get so bogged down in daily activities and obligations that days, months, and years fly by. Take time to step back from your life and see whether you are truly happy, fulfilled, using your talents, and pursuing your passions. You can even hire a life coach to help you with self-exploration to gain knowledge that can open up new possibilities for you.
Pursue Wants and Passions Voraciously
Do you feel like something of yourself is not getting through to the outside world? Are you putting your wants and passions on a backburner? This is easy to do with all of our daily responsibilities, but unfulfilled human potential is a tragedy. Once you have identified who you are and what your passions are, not to pursue them can cause serious regret. Begin now by wholeheartedly committing to your wants and passions. You’ll need to set time aside and not let anything get in the way.
Dr. Wayne Dyer so eloquently says, “Don’t die with the music still in you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul.”
Develop a Keen Sense of Reality
Living in reality can be tough, but if we want to become more fully self-expressed we must face and do something about the situations that are not working for us. For example, if we are in meaningless jobs, unsatisfying relationships, or not fulfilling our potential, it’s time to honor our truth. Look at your life and what areas you are not happy with and then work to make positive change. Have faith and trust that things will work out for the better even though, initially, you may be uncomfortable. We have a divine right to be happy and fulfilled and, if we are not, then we have the choice to change.
Full self-expression means to take a leap of faith when necessary, live life to the fullest, make the choices that honor our wants and desires, and not settle for anything less than what we deserve.