Self-expression can be extremely fulfilling or irritably frustrating. But, either, away, it's what makes us all tick. And the journey of discovering who we are is probably the most important journey we can take. And all this time, you thought it was your honeymoon trip to Rome....
So what are the bumps and hiccups we typically encounter on this path? Fear, insecurities, and outgrown belief systems are the most common. Then, too, we can run into criticism from family, friends, and social/cultural conditioning. Teens are especially vulnerable to this. Parents of every generation have criticized their children for odd clothing and hairstyles choices. But it's part of discovering who they are.
There is a fine line, however, between self-expression and trying to grab attention. Self-expression isn't about trying to impress others; it's about being our most authentic selves. Perhaps you know someone (even yourself) who is truly at home in their "skin." These fortunate individuals have faced down their own fears, insecurities, and self-doubts only to emerge with a "fullness" that is often very impressive. Authentic personal power is like a magnet; drawing others in. No one can give us that...or take it away, it's ours and it lives deep inside each of us...frog and human alike. It can, however, be grown and cultivated. And well it should. Self-expression is a garden that needs care and loving attention. Think about the way you were as a teenager and young adult. You are still same on the inside now, but your exterior has changed over the years. Maybe even some of your viewpoints. That's just the way it is. Our core values remain constant, but other parts of us evolve, change, grow, or simply die away if they no longer serve us.
We all have access to being our true, authentic self. Finding yourself is as easy...or as difficult...as going within. And part of that self-expression is creativity. Finding joy in a creative outlet, no matter what it is, has a profound effect on making us feel whole. We all have a gift to give. And, I believe, we each need to take some time to discover what that gift is. American dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham, once said, "It's not important that you dance well. What is important is that you get up and dance." To that, I would add, you needn't even dance. just swaying to the music in your own style is self-expression. In his early career, Picasso's work was thought to be too odd and abstract. The same thing was said about the great French Impressionists. Beauty is the eye of the beholder. So don't let anyone tell you that you can't sing, dance, cook, paint, write...or do whatever it is that is your personal form of self-expression. I was very fortunate to find writing early in my life. But even if you're older, it's never too late to begin something new. Grandma Moses was 78 years old when she began painting in earnest.
Being able to express oneself, even vocally, is very freeing. We often get a tightness in our throat when we hold back on our thoughts. Self-expression is our own personal way of demonstrating, not only to us but to others, who we are. There will only be one of each us us. What a pity it would be if we went unnoticed. It doesn't serve us well, or the world, if we keep our little little light hidden under a barrel. So let it shine, shine, shine!