14 Sep How to overcome the fear of self-expression
Think of the significant people in your life – at home, work, or friends. Do you freely express yourself? Or do you shy away from it? Has it become a repetitive pattern that you simply swallow things instead of telling them what you actually feel? People who don’t express themselves – don’t do so because they fear hurting others. Or getting hurt themselves because they label themselves as sensitive. They feel it would be a point of least damage if they don’t open the can-of-worms called self-expression. They may have either personally had bad experiences in the past or seen stories where expressing oneself had only led to more harm than good- thus making them believe that it is not important to express themselves.
Imagine you ate food one day, and it didn’t agree with you – would you stop eating altogether? No! You may not eat the same food again but you won’t stop eating right! You’ll find other things to eat.
Imagine you find it painful to pass your stools. So much so that the thought itself is scary. Would you stop passing stools? No! You’ll find a medication or some home remedies to help sort the matter.
Imagine you cut your hand while cooking one day. Would you stop cooking after that? No! You’d be more careful!
When bad things happen, we learn better ways of doing it. Not stop engaging with them altogether. Why? Because our life depends on all of them. When it comes to expression why do we not go forward with the same sense of courage and learning? Because it is not life-threatening! Because we expect others to adjust, and people do too, to a large extent. It works for us to be that way. Hence, we choose the easy way out here. However, that causes damage to you in the long run. It’s like stopping yourself from passing stools because of pain – your body will become toxic. Likewise, not expressing can make you toxic in ways that you cannot imagine. If you don’t have feelings and hence don’t express, that’s different. But if you do have and you don’t express, then it can cause outbursts, irritation, allergies, and other health disorders in the long run. Because you are holding yourself back, it affects your mind and body slowly and steadily. You are stopping the process of life from flowing freely due to your fears.
Relationships haven’t failed because people expressed themselves. Relationships failed because people didn’t know how to express themselves in ways that were healthy and helpful. The trick lies in learning how to express.
– For one, don’t hold others responsible for your misery.
-Secondly, don’t express your opinion ‘as if’ it is a fact. Leave room for a conversation to happen.
-Be open to listening empathetically.
-Avoid making value judgments and character assassinations.
-Express your desires and feelings as ‘your need’, not ‘their obligation’.
-Have pleasantness in your tone. No one likes hearing an irritated or angry voice.
No one needs to take our shit really! If they do, it’s necessary that we be grateful to them. And not expect them to continue that way.
An expression is less about your past and more about your present. Everyone has stories from the past. But some of us chose to become prisoners of it and make choices that make us feel more like victims or others like villains (or even vice-versa). In doing so, we are complicating our present and compromising our current relationships for something that’s already over. We may be chaining ourselves so much that we are unable to accept or appreciate the love that comes our way. We might even shy away from it fearing all the other responsibilities that come along with it. Like being loving in turn, getting out of our shell, and being there for someone beyond our comfort at times. Hence, even if we aren’t good at something today, it’s worth learning sometimes rather than giving up always.