Learning to Express Myself

What is it that gets in the way of me truly expressing myself?

  • Wanting to please other people and make sure that I act in a way that makes them feel reassured and accepted
  • Wanting to be the best, to be noticed or to be rewarded in some way for taking part…always after that A* prize of recognition
  • Fear/shame/embarrassment of not wanting to reveal myself as some kind of inept imposter
  • The ‘children should be seen and not heard’ mantra from childhood
  • Not wanting my expression to spiral into an uncomfortable emotional reaction, because I’ve been holding back for so long, and there is so much to say

I used to secretly think that expressing myself through wearing make-up and nice clothes was for other ‘insecure‘ people and in my arrogance, liked to believe that I was somehow better than anyone who chose to express themselves in this way, because ‘I didn’t need to’.  At the time I didn’t see it for what it was – an excuse that thinly veiled my biggest fear: criticism from others. I thought that if I chose not to express myself through my clothes or my make up, then others wouldn’t judge me. If I just stayed silent hopefully no one would notice me and I could avoid being singled out. I failed to appreciate that choosing NOT to express myself is still an expression. Regardless of whether or not I choose not to define myself through my expression, I will still be defined by other people, perhaps in a way that suits them (and maybe not me).

What if I have a responsibility to express, not just because it’s an integral part of who I am, but also because staying silent actually hurts me and others?

How do I express myself other than in words and how can I use each moment to express myself – even if it’s just to me?

What would happen if, instead of hiding behind those uncomfortable feelings of fear and shame that prevent me from speaking my truth, I acknowledged them and spoke the truth of what I was feeling?

I’m learning that when I force myself to express for some goal that I’ve set myself, for example making sure I speak up in a meeting for the sake of being heard, I get distracted by how I’m ‘performing’ and feel anxious about how I’m coming across. Because I’m so worried about the outcome, I feel panicked and communicate nervously, spluttering out garbled sentences in the most unnatural way.  But when I let go of wanting or needing to be accepted by the audience and accept myself first, I allow myself to express from what I truly feel. I feel connected to the subject and other speakers and I actually enjoy expressing myself for its own sake. It feels real and others respond to that truth and connection.

I’m learning that there are a thousand ways to express ourselves as the true women that we are, and that every moment is an opportunity to express myself, if I choose it to be. As well as the more obvious ways of expressing through being more open and honest with myself and others and through physical ways such as my hair and what I choose to wear, other ways are just as important: how I move and hold my body, the quality of my smile and knowing the difference between expressing a truth and reacting against something.

What does expression mean to you and how do you express yourself as a woman?

By Bryony, London, UK

Suggested reading:
How to Communicate? Bringing me fully into my expression
Not Speaking up: Silence – is that a form of self-abuse?
What is a True Woman?

Other articles by Bryony:
Learning to Express: Letting the Truth Out
Opening up (A Can of Glorious Worms) – Returning to the Truly Tender Woman Within

245 thoughts on “Learning to Express Myself

  1. Bryony this is a powerful list to explore as it shows us how these apparently ‘good’ things we can do can stop us from expressing ourselves from our deepest and most natural essence:
    “(1) Wanting to please other people and make sure that I act in a way that makes them feel reassured and accepted
    (2) Wanting to be the best, to be noticed or to be rewarded in some way for taking part…always after that A* prize of recognition
    (3) Fear/shame/embarrassment of not wanting to reveal myself as some kind of inept imposter
    (4) The ‘children should be seen and not heard’ mantra from childhood
    (5) Not wanting my expression to spiral into an uncomfortable emotional reaction, because I’ve been holding back for so long, and there is so much to say”

  2. “What if I have a responsibility to express, not just because it’s an integral part of who I am, but also because staying silent actually hurts me and others?” – Expression is super important, this is clear, and it is equally important as Bryony has expressed in this blog, to recognise how expression can come in so many different ways and does not have to be a shouting from the roof tops or a verbal expression, but can be in the way we walk, the way we move, the way we dress etc. Of course talking about how we feel is part of it all if and when it is called for. Thus we have many tools of expression to use and to not hold back from using!

  3. Wow, Bryony, this is a powerful blog and much of what you have shared has ‘hit home’ for me too. I can now also see more clearly how I have held back in expression because of fear of criticism and how this has been the overarching theme that has controlled my expression.

  4. For so many years I thought I was bad at expressing myself as a woman because I rejected the picture I was seeing of women. I felt I wasn’t that therefore I was much more at ease with expressing as a male! Yet working with Esoteric Women’s health I have discovered that it is not about the pictures of being a women we see in the media but about reconnecting to what is within and building from there out. My expression as a woman is delicate and much quieter than my expression as the something else! Even though it is delicate and more often than not fragile, it is not soft or namby pamby, it is attuned to what is going on around me and therefore more responsive. A constant re-discovery I would say.

    1. I love this comment Lucy – it shows a classic reaction we can have where we can see something that is being modelled to us which on some level we feel is not true and so we say no to that, but then due to lack of true models around, we simply choose the opposite by default, which is not true either but at least it is not the first thing we saw! A doomed if we do and doomed if we don’t approach. But later in life when we get to see the true model of a woman it gives us permission to explore expressing that from within too.

  5. There is so much more to our expression than merely words, and it all comes back to energy. What energy is running us when we express, whether we need to justify and make a point or whether we express from our hurts and protection? Bringing everything back to truth and love will support us to express from our hearts.

  6. Holding back on our true expression is saying loudly to others ‘Keep out. I’m not going to let you see who I am’.

  7. ‘What does expression mean to you and how do you express yourself as a woman?’ This is a great question and one of the key ways I notice is through my thoughts – what thoughts do i allow to run through me. If I allow them am I agreeing with them? I’d say yes. So there is a whole behind the scenes expression going on before we open our mouths or even get up from bed in the morning. Are we aware of the expression in our head, which becomes a foundation for our going forward?

    1. Yes.. our outward external expression is the end result or product of the quality of energy that we’re already moving and living in, which affects everything from our bodily movements to our thoughts.

  8. Recently I have been exploring how I express through my movements as for many years I thought I was successfully hiding my repressed feelings of resentment and anger because of my self imposed embargo on expressing how I truly felt but what I now realise is that I fooled no-one apart from myself and since acknowledging these buried feelings they are no longer in my body to leak out sideways when I think I have my ‘nice’ face on but others can feel the pent up frustration in my body. My movements feel so much freer and untainted by my previous lack of expression and I have so much more joy to express as I choose less and less not to hold back sharing all of me with those I meet.

  9. Expressed beautifully Bryony I could relate to everything you have written. Holding back from expressing truth really does hurt because we are withholding something in our body that is not meant to be for us it is there to be expressed.

  10. Not speaking up and saying what we feel must be of pandemic proportions otherwise the world would not be in such a mess. Could it be that our reluctance to call out that which is not true has contributed towards how stuck we are in our expression?

  11. I can relate to wanting to speak up to be heard especially in a group of people so that I am not looked down on for being silent or to prove I understand what is being said! Yet I know I don’t have to speak up as sometimes holding myself in truth is enough. What I am clocking and claiming within my body, is that others feel and register what is going on whether I speak or not and all I have to do is be present and connected to myself, through each and every movement I make, which is essentially or fundamentally determined through my unfolding in my every day livingness.

  12. Great to have the understanding how having a need to be accepted exposes our own disconnection and lack of acceptance of ourselves allowing in self-doubt and self-critique because we have measured ourselves as lesser than who we are. When we stay present and simply express the truth of how we are feeling from within our body, it feels very confirming and resonates deeply in our body.

  13. Reading your blog Bryony I get the feeling of how our expression involves everything about us, from how we speak, the tone we speak in, how we smile, how we write, how we move, how we take care of ourselves, how we cry etc.etc.. To answer your question about how I express as a women, I feel my innate beauty and allow this to then emanate from my womanly body.

  14. Good call Aimee, not expressing ourselves is still an expression, which can be harmful if something needs exposing or being brought to a stop.

  15. “I failed to appreciate that choosing NOT to express myself is still an expression.” This is super to be aware of because many of us think we are not being watched if we slink away or hide ourselves but we are in truth being watched constantly. Are we expressing what needs to be seen more of in the world or are we expressing more of the so called normal reality that is making us sicker and more dis-eased?

    1. I have found that too – the withdrawal is a communication in itself too. I find your body is impacted by both but we only pay attention to one being harmful and that is the one that gets the reaction so we end up playing small thinking it is keeping us safe. Total illusion!!

  16. In every moment we are expressing, through our voice, our movements, the thoughts that come through us, our intention, feelings, the way we dress, style, cook, be work and all. It is lovely to feel the extent of our expression and how the quality of our expression touches and affects all others.

    1. This is a great point Victoria – because though we might be dictated by having to wear a uniform to work, our expression comes into this from the way we get dressed (the gentleness we use to put on our work clothes) and get ready for work. Or we might have rules and regulations that we must comply by at work or with a task, but again, our expression is not stopped so long as we simply connect to ourselves and do it with our way of moving (gently and with care etc.). Expression is every expanding and does not need to be limited despite working within certain boundaries so to speak.

  17. There are so many ways we can express ourselves, expression is not just what we say or write, ‘I’m learning that there are a thousand ways to express ourselves as the true women that we are, and that every moment is an opportunity to express myself, if I choose it to be.’

  18. A great exploration of why we don’t express, ‘What if I have a responsibility to express, not just because it’s an integral part of who I am, but also because staying silent actually hurts me and others?’

  19. Speaking the truth of what we are feeling is very freeing and even when we find it difficult at times the more we honour our true feelings the more our body responds so that we learn to trust more and more in our body’s inner knowing.

  20. When I hear someone express with openness and transparency it melts my heart. Many of us have similar anxieties and fears, so when one shares openly it can give permission for others to open up too. We can then support each other.

  21. Wanting to please another and not risk rejection and lack of approval can be such a real barrier in expressing who we are and yet in the end we all miss out.

  22. Pondering on your blog again, I think it’s easy to get caught in just thinking of expression as words and what we say or communicate, but perhaps every single moment could be an expression of us and actually every little moment and movement is part of discovering what it means to express who we really are.

  23. I am becoming more and more familiar with the feeling of when we freely express our truth how we are held by a quality of love that supersedes any other worldly emotion, and how much this quality supports us to live in connection to who we are.

  24. The basic of my expression is found in how my body is open to be in relation with people. To ecpress from an open heart even without words as all is felt.

    1. Walking with openness and transparency communicates everything to another. Seeing this we learn to trust and remember that our bodies are born naturally like this.

  25. Great to highlight Bryony how choosing to open up and be honest about how we are feeling from within our body starts to build our true expression. The more we accept and appreciate ourselves the more we are naturally impulsed to express how we are truly feeling.

    1. Yes, we learn a huge amount when we observe how our bodies feel when we are expressing in different situations- an opportunity to look at situations where we don’t contract, and build from there.

  26. “how I move and hold my body, the quality of my smile” this is really in my focus at the moment. If I pause to feel my body rather than thinking about my next task or what’s happened previously, my muscles relax, my posture lengthens and my shoulders drop down. Learning to move with this more open feeling I feel is me expressing myself truly.

    1. Seeing expression as a movement expands our whole concept of the word and how we relate to expression. We are never not expressing, and so choosing to be aware of how we are holding and moving ourselves is a 24/7 responsibility, but in the coolest, unheavy way, because when we’re aware and with our bodies, we’re so much better placed to respond to whatever is in front of us.

      1. Very true, I find I respond to life much easier than if distance in my mind and need to come back first or instantly react in a negative way.

  27. Get this… even if we do express how we feel or even what is true, it can still be expressed in a way that makes us small. It is not just is what we say or do by in the quality of how we are within ourselves that is equally if not more important.

    1. We can say the most profound things but if what we’re saying is not lived, ie if there’s a disconnect between what we’re saying and what we’re living, the depth and meaning of what is being said isn’t felt.

  28. Many times when someone has reacted to what I have expressed I’ve said to myself ‘never again’ will I say something… I’ve thought that was the best way to protect myself but I was actually hurting myself far more than their reaction.

  29. Expression covers every aspect of how we are in life and fully embracing how I express as a woman is an ongoing journey which I am enjoying as I allow myself the freedom to experiment with what I wear and how I style my hair. That’s before I open my mouth which is what my former narrow interpretation of expression was and as I reconnect to my essence my confidence in expressing all of me expands.

  30. Serge Benhayon has always said ‘Expression is Everything’, I only began to understand the true meaning of this when I stopped holding back and started to express myself more and felt how much more expansive and light I felt.

    1. True, Anna. Expressing ourselves leaves us with a completely different feeling in our bodies of expansion and space, instead of the tightness, hardness and contracted feeling of holding back. It’s not until we start playing with it and feeling that how we express really does make a massive difference to our bodies, relationships and lives on so many levels, that through this learning we become inspired to share more of ourselves.

  31. Holding back our expression for fear of a reaction or outcome brings a cumulative tension in our body but when we chose to express what is there to be said we feel a freedom of being who we naturally are.

    1. It’s interesting how we’d rather put up with an enormous amount of tension in our body from not expressing what’s there to be expressed, than risk upsetting someone – and all because we’re pre-judging the situation and anticipating, expecting that they will react. What if we let go of our expectations, fears and anticipations of others’ reactions? How much freer might we feel within ourselves and our bodies, and how much faster might relationships evolve, if we just said what we felt instead of waiting for ‘the right moment’ when another is least likely to react – or never saying it at all?

  32. “I failed to appreciate that choosing NOT to express myself is still an expression.” and one that is much more harming than we are willing to accept. We may not express what we feel but it is held in our body until such time the body has to discard it either in frustration or anger or if left to fester, in illness and disease.

  33. Over the past few years of attending presentations by Serge Benhayon, I have heard this wise man say over and over again that ‘Expression is Everything’ and as the deeper connection with my body continues, I have a deeper understanding what this means – I can speak from my head and be filled with an anxiousness of getting it wrong (the old pattern) or express from the joy of being in conscious presence with my body from an inner knowing and a natural warmth and deep resonance expressing through my voice.

  34. Lovely question. The answer is deepening all the time in me.
    The deepest expression to me as a woman is surrendering in the love which I can connect to within my body and make all my movements from that quality. If that energy which is lived through my body needs any words it is fine but many times less words is more.

  35. Expression is our every movement whether it be a thought, a word spoken or an action and how this transpires in my day is always extremely interesting and everything can be seen as a direct reflection of how I am in myself.

    1. Yes.. there is so much to study in our day about how we move, think, type, walk.. the list is endless, and every moment provides a reflection of the quality we’ve chosen to live in, in any given moment.

  36. I think a massive reason that we do not express is because we are protecting ourselves from the backlash that can come. I wonder what life would look like if we cared more about expressing the truth and saying what that person needed to hear rather than holding back and protecting ourselves, and I wonder how expressive we’d truly be not just in the way we spoke but in all our little movements, and how we choose to dress and do our hair and everything.

    1. Great question Meg – if we cared more about expressing the truth than protecting ourselves, the world would be a very different place.

      1. I think it’s important to clock too that while we are protecting ourselves and the truth our silence is contributing to everything we hate in the world continuing on.

      2. It’s fascinating that the thought of expressing something that’s true can feel so uncomfortable – but only if we let those thoughts in. Often the tension of not expressing and holding it back also feels worse, like we’re about to explode. Experimenting with this, I’m finding the key is to come back to the body, to accept that if I’m feeling anxious it’s because there’s something truthful I can feel but that I’m not wanting to express, and to start with that honesty – i.e. what I can feel, say no to the ‘what if’ fear-mongering thoughts, and stay with what I’m feeling instead of vacating my body and creating a big drama in my head. It’s about having a relationship with what we can feel and our expression, not trying to nail it and get it right every time.

      3. And yes – every single time we hold back what’s true, we allow the lies to continue, and the world to be in the total mess that it is. Our responsibility to choose what we’re contributing to – truth, and a truer more loving way of being, or lies, and more of the same lovelessness.

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