Self-expression defined: the expression of one's feelings, thoughts, or ideas, especially in writing, art, music, or dance.
This is a tricky subject for me to touch on, because self-expression means different things to different people. For some, it is making good art and creating beautiful music. For others it is doing and saying whatever they want because they know they have a right to say what’s on their mind.
That's the thing about expressing yourself. You get to define what it is because you are the one expressing who you are.
This post was written with the intention of helping you define your personal self-expression, through your personal creative endeavors. I can't do it for you, but I'd like to help in any way that I can. You can help too, by sharing this post with your friends. Who knows, they have a hard time with this as well. :)
Make it your ownWhen you're creating, you want it to be 100% you. None of that “I made this because someone did it and I thought it was cool”. Though you can learn through imitation, you want your creativity to speak through pursuits. You want it to be your expression to the world. You want it to be authentic and really you. (At least, I hope you want that.)
Producing authentic creativity can be hard, especially with so many people sharing what their “perfect” pursuits with the world. You can easily become influenced into creating something for other people, when you should instead be focused on your view. So many of us aren't confident in our abilities but if we can push past that - and the desire to be “mainstream - we’ll find the truest part of ourselves. We doubt ourselves and assume we're not good enough so we don't even try. We let fear drag us into a halt.
I was reading this amazing book one night called "100 Ways to Motivate Yourself". One of the sections was entitled "Run toward your fear". At first I was like "HECK NO. Rosie don't run toward anything." But then I thought about it. What are some things I hold back from doing because I'm afraid?
- I stop myself from posting certain content I think won't be well accepted on my blog.
- I don't work toward my driver's license like I should because if I get my license, I'll have the freedom to go wherever I want.
- I haven't stepped out of my comfort zone to look for a job.
- I haven't published any of my writing pieces because I'm scared of how they'll be criticized.
- I don't go places or do certain things.
- I'm scared so I label myself with "social anxiety".
If you haven't made creating your own because you're afraid, I suggest starting now. Make a list of the things - creative or not - that you're afraid of. Choose an item on that list and go for it. Don't think about outcomes or failure. There is no failure in life. There is only the lack of persistence to try again.
“Show off” your self-expressionDo you like fashion? Do you make good art? Do you write a lot and want feedback? There are countless ways for you to share these expressions of yourself. Show the world the bits of you. ALL the bits. The good, the not so good, the weird. Show all of you. Be open. I guarantee there is someone out there who relates.
This is scary, especially since your self-expressions are so near and dear to you. They're parts of you. Keep in mind that if you're not ready (which is very different from being afraid) to share who you are with the Internet, you can make your sharing zone a private space only you and a few special others have the privilege to view. That way you can build up the courage and really think about sharing yourself with the world. Not everyone wants to put themselves out there, and if you're one of them, that's okay.
Push past the blocksIf you want to grow in any area of your life, you are going to have to put up with creative blocks. You are going to hit some snags. You are going to draw some crooked lines. And you know what? That’s okay. Nothing is going to be perfect - and if you were, as my mom says, then you “wouldn’t have to learn anything new”. You’d get bored easily.
Try new things with your creativity. Use different writing tones, change up your design, draw new objects. Make stuff up. This is going to feel uncomfortable, but that’s the point! You can change things up and surprise people as much as you want. You can create something entirely new every day until you discover the one thing that makes you passionate - the thing that makes you thrive.
Just be you
You are wonderful. You are fantastic, inspiring, and authentic. YOU are good enough! You are capable of expressing yourself and being creative. You are the best you there is and I love you for that. You should too.
Use your creative side as a way of to be yourself. Write, vlog, and share topics that interest you. Discover views that make you passionate. Create in ways that make you feel authentic.
And do all this while being yourself.
Do this for YOUOne last note. Don't make the mistake of basing your awesomeness off how many people like what you create. I can honestly tell you after trying to do that for many, many years, it doesn't end with you feel confident. Trust me on this.
You will make yourself feel like poop if you rely on other people for your self worth.
That's just how it is.
Don't let creativity become another reason for you to feel bad or down yourself. Use it to express, create, build, uplift and make your dreams come true. It's going to take a lot of hard work, but if you're passionate about this, you'll work through it.
I know you can do this for you. Now you need to do this for you.