What Does It Mean to Express Yourself?

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Last night, Garrett and I faced the daunting task of creating a playlist for the I Do BBQ. At least eight hours of music to create the right mood for our Southern-inspired backyard wedding reception. The soundtrack to our love life. How we present ourselves to the world.

It’s no surprise that I also started teaching the Express week in our current Sacred Circle just last night. Thinking about how I express myself. How I share myself. How I tell the world who I really am.

As we switched between throwback 80s pop, ultra trendy “I’m too cool for this shit” beats, classic upbeat love songs, and just enough folk music to stick with the theme, I couldn’t help but feel satisfied. For sure, a story was being told. A fun, zany, vulnerable, authentic, successful, loving story. One that we could hardly help but dance to as we brushed our teeth.

It was us.

And it really got me thinking about what expression means. How do we express ourselves? How does the way we dress, speak, write, decorate, even choose music communicate our Soul?

Because the thing is—we’re doing it. All the time. Even when we may be unaware of it. Subconsciously, every moment of our lives is expressing something. Telling the world who we are. Showing our Soul to the world. Maybe in subtle ways. Like what makes us smile. Or our affinity for chocolate. Maybe in overt ways. Like the lime green color you choose to paint your bedroom (talking about my sister with that one). Or the way we blog each day.

Our story is always being told.

My therapist often says that we tell our stories constantly. Both in what we present to the world and what we intentionally leave out. And it’s his job to listen for where I’m over-emphasizing and where I’m under-emphasizing. Because my subconscious, my Soul wants to be seen. It wants to express itself.

We often accuse people of wanting attention, wanting to be seen, like it’s an insult. But isn’t it a natural need for our Soul to be seen? Isn’t attention an inherent desire of all of ours? Certainly, there can be unhealthy attachments to external validation. But drawing eyes to us—having even just one person notice something deep and true and personal—is a critical part of connection. We just want someone to see our expression and tell us we’re beautiful. That our Soul is stunningly beautiful.

So expression is never really for anyone else. It can’t be. At least no authentic expression. Because all authentic expression is self-expression. It has to be. Otherwise we’re not actually we’re expressing ourselves. Maybe we’re expressing what we think others want. Maybe we’re expressing our fears. But there’s a guardedness to that. A protection. An underlying fear that maybe the real us isn’t good enough. So we might as well pretend to be something else.

But what if we just showed up? What if we leaned into that need to be seen and noticed? What if we admitted that we really do want attention, and that’s okay? And that we can’t really help showing the world bits of our Soul, no matter how hard we try? So we might as well just let it out.

Speaking the words we’re afraid to speak. Picking the music that feels too ridiculous but also just like us. Dressing in a way that feels like us. Decorating our home with colors and textures that feel natural to us.

Essentially, externalizing what we feel internally. That’s what expression is. That’s all expression is. Allowing the internal to become external. So people can share in the beautiful way that we see the world. So, for just a moment, people can see what it’s like to be us. Our own differentiated aspect of Divinity. And witness the beauty in that.

It’s scary and vulnerable to express ourselves. It’s also the most natural thing that we do. Because somewhere in the conformed clothing we wear and the socially modified politeness we carry, there’s small moments of authentic expression happening. Ones we can’t even control. Naturally yearning to be seen. To be noticed. Even when they don’t make sense. Even when there’s no intellectual understanding for them. They’re still you. It’s all you.

I personally want to live a life that tells the most outrageous, adventurous, daring, vulnerable, fun, fantastic story of who I am. I want the world to see me. Exactly as I am. Honoring myself and committed to my own integrity. Just figuring my shit out and doing the best that I can.

I want each step I take to be another line of that story—a story I read first and foremost to myself.

I want to express myself. Daringly. Express myself. It’s why I write to you each weekday. To remember that I deserve this. I deserve to be seen. I deserve to share my voice. I deserve to be unmistakable.

How do you choose to express yourself?

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