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In the pursuit of personal authenticity and being true to yourself, you’ve learned that knowing yourself is the first step. Once you know yourself it is imperative that you accept yourself unconditionally for who you are right now. The third part of becoming an authentic person is to express yourself.
Self-expression is the expression of one’s feelings, thoughts, or ideas. There are many avenues of expression and unlimited ways to do it.
Now, not everyone expresses themself. Many are paralyzed by fear or don’t really understand who they are or what their purpose in life might be. This can keep them locked inside, unable to share themselves with the outside world. However, I believe the natural outcome of knowing and accepting yourself is to find ways to express yourself.
Everyone has a purpose in life and a reason for existing in this world. And everyone has something to offer that is unlike anyone else in the universe. Each person has been created by God and gifted by Him in a unique and special way. That’s why I believe it is so important that you learn to express yourself. If you choose to stay silent and keep to yourself, you are robbing the world of the wonderfulness of you.
There are many different ways you can express yourself that cover every area of life. You can express your personality in the clothes you wear or the tattoos you carry. Maybe you love hats or boots or jewelry. These are all ways to express yourself.
Expressing yourself physically is a great way to show who you are and how you interact with the world. Being involved in sports is one way to express yourself but so is yoga or martial arts, gymnastics or dancing as well as caring about your body through fitness and nutrition.
Music is another area of expression from the kind of music you love to listen to or sing, to writing music or performing in the theater. You can learn to play an instrument and join a band or orchestra or just play for your family and friends.
Do you paint, knit, sew, crochet, quilt, draw, or do graphic design? These are all artistic ways to express yourself. How about blogging, writing poetry or song lyrics, writing a book, or sending written letters or cards? Expressing yourself through the written word is a great avenue to share pieces of who you are with the world around you.
There are SO many ways to express yourself, some more common than others. Have you ever thought of building furniture as self-expression? How about stand-up comedy? What about gardening, cooking or prayer?
I believe there are as many ways of self-expression as there are people in the world. Even if your way of self-expression is a more common one, like writing for example, the way you do it is unique to you. That’s why it’s called SELF-expression. Every person is uniquely equipped to express their gifts in a way unlike anyone else. The world needs to hear from you.
I think the key to self-expression lies in the second step - self-acceptance
If you are in a place where you focus on your faults and flaws and have not yet learned to accept yourself completely, it is almost impossible to express yourself, at least in a positive way.
You might think that you don’t have anything important to offer or that no one would care what you have to say or what you might contribute to the world. You would be wrong! Everyone has value including YOU! But if you don’t value yourself, it is difficult for others to value you.
Self-expression should come from your heart out of love for yourself. That may sound funny but I’m not talking about a selfish love. I’m referring to the kind of self-love and self-care that comes through truly knowing and accepting yourself. If you haven’t read Part 1 – Knowing Yourself or Part 2 – Accepting Yourself in this blog series, I would encourage you to take a few minutes to do so. All three of these articles go together. Each one builds on the previous one to walk you through a process to becoming a more authentic person.
Sometimes self-expression isn’t easy. It takes courage to be vulnerable and open yourself up to criticism. You may have to adjust how much you care about what other people think about you. It will require a positive attitude and a willingness to be creative.
I love the quote from the movie The Help where Viola Davis, the actress that plays a housekeeper and nanny, is imparting wisdom to the little girl in her care. She tells her, “You is kind, you is smart and you is important.”
If no one has ever said that to you, please read it again and take it in. I’m saying it to you now. Consider it for a moment. It is true. The world needs to hear from you. You owe it to yourself, your authentic self, to share your gifts with the world. Express yourself! Use the links below to start a new hobby or exercise.
I would love to hear how you express yourself. One of the ways you can do that is by sharing it with me in the comments. Are you an artist, a writer, a dancer, a builder, an architect, an athlete? Maybe you have a tattoo with a story, or you play an instrument. Let me know how you express your gifts to the world.