Self-Expression: Unexpressed Emotions Never Die
Self-expression reflects the ability to understand one’s feelings and thoughts; and, how to communicate them appropriately. This composite of emotional intelligence 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
The ability to communicate appropriately is critical. Many think unexpressed emotions will not affect their life. Knowing what to say and how to say it with the appropriate amount of emotion is sometimes like walking a tightrope. Consider this:
- Speak up too much and you get labeled a know-it-all
- Talk too little and you get labeled as shallow
- The timing of when to speak and when not to speak
- When and how to listen
- What is said by the speaker and what is intended
- How to foster open communication and
- What medium is best for the communication
How To Choose
The point of all communication is to give and receive information. Self-expression is the ability to apply assertiveness and independence with emotions 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 keep quiet. 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 self-expression may appear clingy or unresponsive. Conversely over developed self-expression and you may get the label of lone ranger or an individual who isn’t a team player
So 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.
As important is using the right communication method. For example, knowing when to discuss one-on-one, send an email or when it is appropriate to call or text. These rules vary with each generation so it is critical to know our audience and their preferences.
How have expressiveness, assertiveness and independence been your friends? Your enemies? Do you have sufficient self-awareness to answer these important questions?