Self expression includes emotional expression, assertiveness and independence. Ralph Waldo Emerson who said,
“Insist on yourself; never imitate.”
Know your who you really are! This is the cumulation of your thoughts, feelings and actions. Don’t make the mistake of trying to be someone else! If you do this, who is going to live your life? In other words, be yourself and quit trying to be someone else!
Taken together self expression reflects the ability to understand one’s feelings and thoughts; and, how to communicate them appropriately. The self expression composite is made up of the following three elements:
- Emotional Expression: knows one’s emotions and can effectively express them
- Assertiveness: the ability to share appropriately even when standing alone
- Independence: the ability to think and act on one’s own
Consequently, the ability to communicate appropriately is critical. Knowing what to say and how to say it with the appropriate amount of emotion is sometimes like walking a tightrope. Express yourself too much and you get labeled a know-it-all. Talk too little and you get labeled as lacking depth.
The point of all communication is to give and receive information
Appropriate emotional expression requires us to buffer with emotion such as enthusiasm or anger or sadness. The use of emotion can be in response to external stimuli or it can be a matter of choice. This gets to the heart of self-expression. Wise people know when to speak up and when not to. The big question with emotional expression is, “am I deciding how to react or am I reacting out of strong emotion?” Do you control your emotions or do your emotions control you? Highly assertive people generally want to have a voice but overdone may come across as combative or bossy. Error to the low side of assertiveness and you appear bashful or weak. Underdeveloped independence and we may appear clingy or unresponsive. Over developed independence and you may get the label of lone ranger or an individual who isn’t a team player
In summary, the key to appropriate levels of self-expression account for a generous amount of success in life. In my experience all of the above-mentioned contribute to the success of the most competent leaders I’ve known.
About the author: Creed is an accomplished leader and Professional Certified Coach motivated by a passionate drive to help individuals and organizations reclaim their clarity for personal achievement and organizational effectiveness.