We are all so bogged down with messages about how we should look, think, speak, and act; what we should eat and drink and study and do for fun; who we should associate with and who we should love or despise; and, indeed, who we should be deep down. These constant missives about what we ought to do and who we ought to be can make it difficult to let go of expectations and simply be ourselves. We diminish the act of self-expression, which involves expressing one’s thoughts and feelings which can be accomplished through words, choices or actions.
Self-expression, at its core, is the action of expressing yourself, and it can take a wide variety of forms. You can use your words, your facial expressions, your body, your movements, clothing, actions, and possessions to express your authentic inner self, but note that this itself is the state where we get our best and most innovative work done and so we must learn to let it take its course and work on improving our self-expression skills.
As with most skills, the best way to improve your self-expression skills is to practice them! Self-expression skills include—but are not limited to—the following:
- Speaking: Never lose a chance to speak in public, Apply winning formulas (particularly for public speaking, as there are many tricks and “secret weapons” to help you succeed).
- Writing: Write (almost) everyday… It forces you to find the right words and expressions to convey your message.
- Body language: Emulate your favorite authors’ styles. (Note: you could also emulate your favorite poets, dancers, orators, musicians, etc.).
- Artistic endeavors (creating music, dancing, etc.)
For techniques to enhance your own self-expression skills, find below some helpful general tips that can give you some guidance.
- Speak your truth in the moment: Instead of looking back on a conversation and wishing you had been more honest and authentic, commit to being more honest and authentic in the moment. Promise yourself to speak your truth when the opportunity arises, but make sure to speak it with love and kindness.
- Widely define yourself: Make sure that your definitions aren’t overly narrow or limiting and keep yourself open to new experiences, talents, interests, passions, and opportunities.
- Engage in creative techniques: Use techniques that harness your creativity to expand your potential and enhance your life. Try keeping a daily journal in which you write about whatever comes to mind, keeping an idea book that you carry with you all the time, creating mind maps to help you problem-solve, practicing brainstorming, and creating vision boards to motivate you to follow your dreams.
- Acquire self-knowledge – Know who you are: Don’t let yourself get too caught up in all of life’s little worries; take a break from your daily grind once in a while and assess your life and your feelings about it. Use introspection and reflection to make sure you never become a stranger to yourself.
- Pursue wants and passions voraciously: If your passions and dreams have become victims to the day-to-day stressors, dedicate yourself to keeping them off the metaphorical “backburner.” Make time to pursue your dreams and feed your passions—you won’t regret it!
- Develop a keen sense of reality: Your head may venture into the clouds, but your feet should stay firmly on the ground; keep in touch with reality and face your disappointments, setbacks, and unpleasant experiences head-on
These are general tips, but truly committing to them will help you become the master of your own self and help you express your individuality better.
Cover Photo: Dashkala
This article was written by Courtney Ackerman on positivepsychology.com