Do you get called out for being too reserved? Have you always wanted to be more expressive? Would you like to learn how to be more authentic and share more of yourself in both subtle and obvious ways?
For today’s episode, we’re going to be discussing self-expression, authenticity, and how they’re connected to your overall happiness.
Many people believe that happiness is all about achieving goals. Now, while I would agree that success can be amazing for a quick burst of joy, it will never provide the same sort of long-term, deep-seated confidence and satisfaction that genuine self-expressiveness can offer.
Whether we’re dealing with romance, work, or conversation mastery, expressiveness is essential to the development of our confidence.
There is literally no area of your life in which learning to be more authentic and share that authenticity with other people will be counterproductive. So, let’s talk about some ways in which you can be proactive in increasing expressivity in your life.
Start by asking yourself which area of your life needs that self-expression boost. Maybe you feel like you could use some work in just about every area of your life, but for the purpose of this exercise, pick one area to focus on.
Once you have your specific area of interest, you must give yourself permission to become expressive.
Believe it or not, our biggest obstacle to enjoying more freedom of expression is not that we don’t know how to do it—it’s that we feel as though we lack permission.
It is not dangerous, wrong, unsafe, or unwise to be an expressive person—that is just an old story you’ve been telling yourself to stay safe. You want to be safe from judgments, safe from embarrassment, and safe from disagreements with others. Maybe you’re so scared of the consequences of your expressiveness that it has just become some vague cloud of fear keeping you from reaching for what you want. In any case, you must release yourself from that fear and that need to stay safe—give yourself 100% permission to rock your expressiveness.
Just for fun, let’s make this pact right now. Raise your right hand and repeat after me (really do it!): “I [state your name] give myself complete permission to express anything I like.”
I know it seems weird to talk out loud to yourself in this moment, but these exercises work, and they make a difference in your commitment to reaching your goals:
“I [state your name] give myself complete permission to express anything I like. I give myself 100% permission to express my truth.”
Even if you’re sitting there doubting this exercise right now, that’s ok! Feeling the hesitation and pushing past it is all part of the process. You’re literally conditioning yourself to power through danger when you’re exposed to it so that you can learn that it really isn’t dangerous.
Every time you give into that feeling that it’s too weird or too scary or too difficult, you simply reaffirm that voice in your head that tells you change is wrong and that taking action isn’t worth it.
Instead, let’s keep moving toward giving ourselves the ultimate permission to express who we really are.
Side note: there seem to be a lot of clients of mine who believe that expressing themselves will be annoying, inconvenient, or absurd to others in some way . . . and that is simply not true. In fact, expressing yourself is often an endearing, funny, and genuine way for you to make connections with others and show them who you are on a deeper level.
Once you’ve really given yourself permission to proceed, the next step is to say more and let yourself be seen more.
When it comes to saying more, think about the last time someone shared something intimate about themselves with you, even if it was something harmless or seemingly insignificant. Did that moment make you feel turned off by that person, or did it maybe make you feel like you had been allowed into their circle of trust?
When we share who we are with people, we not only show them who we are, but we also let them know that we want to let them into our lives.
You’ve experienced this for yourself, and it works both ways. Sure, it might seem like a risk, but there’s a saying that goes with any fear you might be feeling: “You might fail if you try, but you’ll never succeed if you don’t.”
In addition to saying more, you need to be seen more.
This isn’t just about exposing yourself to new situations and new people (which is also very impactful for someone looking to increase their confidence)—it’s about letting people see the real you behind your words.
Maybe you feel like expressing yourself about something small, such as a lost possession or that one commercial that makes you cry. Maybe the situation isn’t life and death, but it’s meaningful to you, and letting people see inside your soul that little bit goes a long way to endearing them to you and making them want to spend more time in your presence.
When you talk about your passions and interests, it’s like revealing a piece of who you are. The more we hide those things from people, the less people know us and the less connection we feel.
Without letting ourselves be seen, people have nothing to connect to, and we can never hope to be socially fulfilled in life.
It is only through genuine sharing (not from pretending or trying to be perfect all the time) that we form long-lasting connections.
When things are going great, that’s wonderful, and you should be excited to share that truth with the people around you; but don’t let that make you think that you shouldn’t share when things are not going perfectly, as well.
You are worthy of people’s love and attention regardless of which emotion you happen to be expressing in any given moment. Let people see all of your rich colors. Not only will it help them feel more connected to you, but it will also help you to feel happier and more emboldened to go after what you want and be who you really are in life!
Please share your questions and comments regarding this work below. What truth about
yourself would you like to reveal more in your life? What fears are holding you back from expressing yourself more freely? Let’s share what we’ve learned so that we can continue to support each other on the path to greater authenticity and confidence.
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.