Confession time. When I was younger, I was a shy kid. Like, really, really shy.
In elementary school, I distinctly remember a class presentation I had to do in music class. It was to sing a song with a classmate in front of about 20 other students. Even though my partner for the project was one of my best friends who lived down the block, the thought of being in the spotlight terrified me. When we were up, I completely froze. I couldn’t even sing one word and she had to do the whole song by herself while I stood on the side feeling like I let her—and myself—down.
I didn’t want it to be that way, but see, I had a hard time expressing myself through verbal communication. Through the years, it’s a skill that I’ve had to intentionally work on to improve. And along the way, I found solace in two things: writing and fashion, which became easier forms of self-expression for me.
What is Self-Expression and Why is it Important?
In a nutshell, self-expression is showing your feelings, thoughts, or ideas. You can do so in ways like talking, writing, music, art, or dance. There’s no limit on how to express your emotions or the number of reasons why it’s important. A few main benefits are connecting with others, teaching a skill, learning more about yourself, and reducing stress.
Self-expression is important because being able to fully express yourself boosts your mental well-being. And when you’re feeling like your best self, you can enhance your relationships, do better work, and inspire others.
Self-Love and Authenticity
Self-love and authenticity play a huge role in self-expression.
The alternative to this is trying to live up to the expectations of others and pretending to be someone else. Since everyone has a different opinion, it’s impossible to please everyone.
Given the two, doesn’t the first one sound better?
It takes courage and confidence to reach a level of self-love and authenticity, and it may come easier to some than others. But no matter what, you can always evolve.
How to express self-love: try setting a dedicated time for self-care, create boundaries (saying no to work or personal activities that drain you), forgiving yourself for mistakes, and living more intentionally.
Being authentic means accepting who you are, flaws and all. It means staying true to your values, trusting yourself, and expressing your thoughts and feelings.
Acknowledging and Honoring Emotions
With all this talk about self-expression, know that it starts by acknowledging and honoring your emotions. You know that saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup?”. The same goes in this scenario.
Acknowledging and honoring your emotions—whatever it may be—is such an important aspect of self-care and how to express yourself better. It means being okay with how you feel, letting go of any judgement and accepting yourself as you are. Ask yourself, how are you? and take a moment to really think about the answer.
How to Express Yourself Creatively Through Art
Sky’s the limit on how to express yourself through art. There’s painting, drawing, dancing, acting, and more. There’s singing (which I’ve realized the hard way is not my cup of tea) and writing (which is).
Allowing creative expression in your life can bring yourself and others joy during hard times or if you just need a pick-me-up.
Some ways to get started are to visit a museum or take a class that may spark inspiration. From there, you can let the creative juices flow.
Another form of art I value most is fashion. There’s something about the freedom of choosing an outfit to wear and letting it be a statement on its own. Jewelry does that, too. For example, our Love Letters Necklace may exude your bold style (and perhaps personality) while our Book Bracelet may serve as a clue that you’re starting a new chapter in life and are on the path to personal growth.
How to Express Feelings in Words
Writing and journaling can play a huge role in self-expression. I find that doing so lets the subconscious part of my brain roam free and I often discover things that I didn’t even realize I was thinking.
The trick is to not hold back.
Don’t worry about being grammatically correct or if your words make sense at first. The more spontaneous your thoughts, the better. Writing lets out all the feelings I have bottled up inside, clarifies my thoughts, and allows me to get to know myself better. It’s a form of communication that introverts and extroverts can both benefit from. And it can be done anywhere, anytime.
Other good things about writing? It’s said that it can keep your memory sharp, help you achieve goals, and boost your mental health and gratitude.
Quotes About Expressing Yourself
Lastly, since we have a thing for quotes, read on for our favorite sayings on self-expression. Write it in your journal or on a sticky note and place it on your mirror to remind you why self-expression is so important.
- “You’ve got to express yourself in life, and it’s better out than in. What you reveal, you heal.” —Chris Martin
- “The journal’s only purpose is to be a mirror.” —Natalie Roger
- “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” —Bernard Baruch
- “You're always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.” —Diane von Furstenberg
- “Our self-expression is meant to be a manifestation of the silence of our hearts.” —Matthew Fox
- “Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.” —Nelson Mandela
- “Be yourself, but always your better self.” —Karl Maeser
- “Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” —William Plomer
- "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." —William James
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