Self-expression is essential to the self, yet many of us struggle with it.
We can’t find the right words, we hide our true selves, and we have hunger for creative expression.
I’ve spent years as a soul coach, helping people express themselves because expression is at the heart of a soulful life.
You’re here because you crave the freedom to express your innermost thoughts and feelings without apologizing.
Good for you, because expressing yourself authentically is one of your purposes. And it’s soul crushing not to do so.
Here are 8 ways to express yourself soulfully.
The thing you’re called to do in life, the message you’re here to deliver, the work you’re here to do… can often be what’s hardest for you.
Again, self expression is at the heart of a soulful life.
Each person is so deeply individual and unique, and we have this drive to be seen and heard.
The goal of self-expression is to be seen and heard.
And when we’re not seen and heard… problems show up in our lives.
Express your inner self
What is the inner self?
The inner self is commonly seen as a person’s core identity.
But what is that?
As a soul coach, my message is… think of the soul as the core of who you are.
You don’t get much inner than that!
So, expressing what’s within the soul is deeply and profoundly satisfying.
From this well of self-knowledge you can express your beliefs, values, emotions, deepest desires, and hidden secrets.
The soul holds the roadmap for your life, so self-expression that comes from that deepest, purest place will help you achieve your soul’s purpose.
And loving yourself along the way helps you express yourself honestly.
Your own self expression
Your own self-expression is influenced by what’s important to you.
For me, self-expression became imperative after I turned 40.
If you don’t feel strongly about something, then clearly, you’re not going to mind if people don’t understand you. Who cares!
Well, you’ll mind, but not nearly as much.
And, it’ll come more from your ego, than from your heart.
When you’re angry
And what about the times that you have something to express… and you’re so afraid, angry, or overwhelmed that you can’t?
This is REALLY hard to do.
The Mayo Clinic offers 10 Tips to Tame Your Temper that are very helpful… for any intense emotion.
These same tips can be used when you’re afraid or overwhelmed as well. It’s really tough to think clearly when your nervous system is flared up by intense emotion.
Once you’re able to calm down some, it’s important to still follow through with what you had to say.
Sometimes we’re tempted to drop the issue once the emotions have calmed (I’m that way to avoid confrontation), but what about the thing you had to say?
If you still have something that you feel needs to be said, or in some way expressed, or it’s going to really bother you, then at the right moment… say it.
You’ll find a way.
The important thing is that you show up for yourself and how you feel and not bury your emotions to please others.
Here’s an article on the many emotions beneath anger, the anger iceberg, to help you get some insight about your own anger.
Ways to express yourself
If you’re wondering how to express yourself, there are many ways to express yourself both personally and soulfully.
Here are some ways to express what’s within you…
Write it down… that’s my credo. For me, there’s no way to express yourself better.
Write your feelings.
And your thoughts, ideas, and inspirations…
This way you have a chance to think about what you want to say… even though thinking too much can actually get in the way of authentic self-expression.
Don’t overthink, write!
An exercise I give to coaching clients is to have them put into writing all the things that are important to them: ideas, emotions, etc.
Dump it onto the page.
Writing can be a rewarding form of communication and expression.
At the core of creative writing is the desire for authentic self expression and it can be one of the most intimate self expression skills.
Even if what you’re writing is pure fantasy, it’s still going to come from a place within you.
Start writing things you know about.
The goal of satisfying self-expression is for you to feel, on a deep level, that you’ve expressed what’s true for you.
It doesn’t need to be eloquent or well-crafted. Creative expression simply has to come from an honest place.
Journaling is an outstanding way to put your thoughts and feelings to paper. I’d be lost without this ancient art.
Well, maybe it’s not ancient.
I’ve been journaling since I was 5 years old and I’ve got many volumes to prove it!
Journaling can be part of personal growth and good mental health.
However, I always recommend that you write for the trash can.
That’s writer lingo…
Self expression in a journal is meant to be honest, not eloquent and beautiful.
Journaling is a wonderful way to sort through feelings, express emotions, find your footing, and dump your mind onto the blank sheet.
“Something from nothing.”
You can burn it when you’re done if you’re concerned people will read it later.
It’s yours… you can get rid of it whenever you want:)
Blogging is a great form of creative, self expression because it lets people share their unique points of view with complete strangers!
It’s creative in that bloggers can choose the topics and content they want to write about and do it in a way that expresses their voice.
As a blogger myself, I know there’s a formula and rules to blogging, otherwise your articles will never be seen!
So, while blogging is creative, you’re definitely blending commerce and art… Even if the art part is not part of the process for most blogs I see.
Basically, since blogging allows people to reach the expansive digital world with a point of view, it can be a satisfying form of expression.
2. Express your thoughts
You can express thoughts in MANY ways… speaking them, writing them, shouting them from the roof tops, etc.
AND… There’s another way you can use the power of thought that most people DON’T think of…
You can use the power of thought to express higher forms of energy.
This is a bit advanced… or weird, but advanced. I know.
But, after writing The Thought Store and spreading the message that thoughts are energy for the past 10 years… thoughts are a form of expressing energy.
You can send positive thoughts to those you love and they WILL receive that higher frequency.
3. Self expression through art
Artistic expression and creative activities will help you with how to express yourself.
You don’t have to be a talented artist to happily create art.
Art is about personal expression!
Sharing something within yourself.
Show the world what you’ve got inside you… and it doesn’t have to LOOK good.
Taking photographs is another art form that’s available to anyone with a smartphone.
Photography offers an interesting path to self discovery because you’re expressing what you SEE.
Each person looks through the lens with their own unique eyes.
When you snap the picture and which image you choose to keep… is very particular to you.
Body art is another form of self expression that’s available to anyone with a body and money to spend.
Since it’s intended to be permanent, it’s a pretty big statement.
My son has a number of tattoos, each of which has significant meaning to him.
4. Speak in front of others
Speaking in front of others or public speaking is a positive way to grow self esteem and express yourself.
When I was beginning my career at IBM, I joined Toastmasters to overcome my fear of public speaking.
I was terrified.
What was I so afraid of? People staring at me!!
Once I overcame the disabling fear, I found my groove and was able to express myself in a way that was very powerful.
Having an audience an be a very exciting thing… or not!
5. Use social media
Social media has rapidly become one of the most visible platforms for self expression.
Anyone with a social media account can show up in video or 80 characters and say something.
I wish it were more valuable, and often it’s not, but that’s social media.
That’s free expression that’s legal…
The advantage of social media is that it gives a forum for really important issues.
We just have to use it responsibly.
6. Creating music
Music is a beautiful way to express inner thoughts.
And, music is a natural way to convey emotions.
But, not all of us can write music.
So, you can play music for someone you care about… to say what you can’t.
Did you see, Say Anything?
It’s the 1989 Cameron Crow blockbuster hit movie with John Cusack.
He’s standing outside his high-school crush’s house (it was more than a crush… it was love) with a boom box blasting: In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel.
That movie moment is iconic. The beginning lyrics are…
“Love I get so lost, sometimes
Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
When I want to run away
I drive off in my car
But whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are…”
Yea, if you can’t find the words, share one of your favorite songs.
7. Body language
Your body language is expressing something as well.
Whether it’s intentional or not, with every crossed arm, open expression, turning away, and turning toward… you’re expressing something.
You’ll notice this in your close relationships with most people.
With someone you know well, a partner, spouse, or child, you’ll infer how they feel and think based on how they hold their body.
They’re able to express feelings to you based on what position they hold in their body. Words aren’t spoken at all… and you know how they feel.
Your body posture expresses something to others.
For example, an open stance, where you turn toward someone with an open, curious expression can tell them what you would like to say.
Cooking helps people express themselves in a totally different way than other forms of self expression and for anyone who loves cooking they probably believe there’s no way to express yourself better.
Through the presentation of food, the cultural differences, the flavors you add or omit… it’s all a choice, you show some aspect of you.
Cooking can be a very personal form of self-expression.
Again, expressing yourself is one of your purposes. From a soulful standpoint, you need to express what’s within you, or you’ll feel disconnected from yourself.
You’ve been created as a unique being with your own set of talents, gifts and lessons that are meant to be expressed in this life.
Self expression is at the heart of a soulful life.