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3 Tips to Get Out of Your Head and Start Expressing Yourself

Get Out of Your Head

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” ~Bruce Lee

I have always been timid when it comes to expressing myself, speaking my mind, and standing up for something. This stems from being raised in a culture where showing emotions is frowned upon.

Nothing I ever did seemed good enough. There was constant criticism that I could do better, and be better. I was raised to never to talk back to my seniors and not to say anything when I had nothing nice to say.

So I’ve always played it safe and stood by the sideline, and I never wanted to rock the boat. And sometimes, when I’ve felt like saying something, I’ve wondered if people would even care.

Because, frankly, sometimes people talk just for the sake of talking or because they want attention, and that bothered me. However, I also envied those who could just say what they think and speak their truth, even though I may or may not have agreed with them.

Nonetheless, as years passed, the more I stayed mummed, the more horrible my body and mind felt.

I eventually became depressed. I felt like no one cared, I didn’t know who I should be, and I felt lost. Not wanting to blame the past anymore, I knew I needed to find something to take me away from this darkness.

Along the way I found Bodytalk and yoga, and these were the things that helped me get out of my depression and helped shift my mindset. As I became more engaged with these activities, my inner voice grew stronger and stronger, and it wanted to come out and express itself.

I began to accept myself for who I am, and soon, much like Katy Perry, I was ready for the world to hear me “Roar.”

The Problem

It took me forever to express myself in both writing and speaking because I felt like I had to craft the perfect message to sound smart, funny, and diplomatic. By the time I was ready to share my thoughts, the conversation topic had gone and the moment had passed.

Yes, it’s great to be thoughtful but Come on! I would tell myself. Stop bottling up your thoughts and start expressing yourself without care.

I’ve learned to nurture my voice and not spend so much time crafting my message and worrying about what others think.

These are the three philosophies that have helped me get out of my head, let go, and start expressing myself.

1. The only person you need to impress is yourself.

Yes, it’s scary to put yourself out there to potentially have people judge you. But if you know who you are and what you stand for, does it matter what others think, when you know your truth and what it means to you?

The truth is, if you are comfortable in your own skin, what others think of you probably won’t bother you that much. After all, you will always have people who will be for you or against you, so why not stand for something and just be you? What’s the worst thing that could happen?

“In the end people will judge you anyway, don’t live your life impressing others. Live your life impressing yourself.” ~from Raw for Beauty

2. Stand for something.

This is important. It allows you to let your personality shine. It’s also the foundation of your values, which help shape your identity, allowing people to connect with you and enabling you to surround yourself with like-minded people for support.

Remember, no man is an island, as John Donne wrote. We, as human beings, need to interact with another and need each other to find fulfillment in our lives. So stand for something to build your world of lovers and ‘haters,’ instead of having no supporters or challengers to help you grow.

3. Let go of the outcome.

Sometimes we say things or do things because we want to get a certain reaction or action out of people. However, keeping in mind we have no control over anything in life (except for our actions and our responses), why not speak your truth?

Your body and mind will be grateful because you are being honest with yourself. In the end, whatever happens, you’ve got nothing to lose because you have honored your truth. No regrets.

“Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out. I wanna see you be brave.” ~Sara Bareilles, Brave

Have you ever felt like you were holding back from speaking your truth? What helped you?

Photo by Leland Francisco

Profile photo of Theresa Ho

About Theresa Ho

Theresa is an 80’s music lovin’, Old Fashioned drinkin’, freedom livin’ travel junkie sent to zap living a double life right outta you. Get your free insights on life lessons for a work in progress here. You can find her on Instagram @gettingmyshit2gether and Facebook.

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  • lv2terp

    Beautiful post!! Thank you for sharing your experience, great insight, and quotes!! You would love Brene Brown’s work! 🙂

  • You definitely have this spot on. You know it’s the simplest things that we overlook. It’s just something we have to learn to love and that’s ourselves. We can never love anything until we love ourselves. Thanks for Sharing!

  • Vidya

    I felt as if this was written with me in mind. I could relate 100% to your thoughts. Though I haven’t reached where I want to be, I am definitely working towards it.
    Thank you for this post!

  • Theresa

    Yes YES! It is time to get back to the basics and tune into what tugs at our heart and follow it! I find that when I stew over something, I’m just building resistance and that blocks the flow of creation, love and the magic we all bring to this world.

  • Thanks Vidya! The world awaits your awesomeness and I BELIEVE in you!

  • Louise Watson

    Love this! I can relate to so much of what you said here. I’ve also had to learn to just say and write what I think/feel without worrying about what others are going to say. Being yourself is always the way to go, without trying to impress people or win them over, which most people can see through anyway. It can be hard to find your own voice after hiding away for so long, once you get going, it definitely gets easier. Thank you for this great post.

  • YoureAwesome

    “tune into what tugs at our heart and follow it” – yes.

  • leah.d.h.

    really needed some hope like that today, so thank you. Im having “one of those days”.. feel non-chosen, forgotten, enclosed and lost. Ive been thinking a lot lately on not caring about what other people think and being myself. In theory I’m all for it but I don’t seem to get it emotionally, its like its in my blood or core to pre-process everything to make sure i don’t come of as a weirdo, and most of the time in my passed it has just ended in a lot of silence. Much like you feelings were not talked about during my childhood and nothing was ever good enough. Humour was sometimes there but rarely happiness and positivity.
    Anyone who knows how to get started in caring less – for real? Im gonna start some hypnotherapy, we’ll see if it can “reinstall” me a bit. keep well folks

  • J

    Very much needed for me ! Thanks for the tips! Will certainly try and adopt them.

  • I hear you Louise! It’s so much simpler to be yourself and just “do
    you” isn’t it?! And finding your voice certainly does get easier. It’s
    taking that courageous first step that’s the hard part. Once you
    break the seal, you start to see and feel, “okay… that wasn’t so
    bad…” and then before you know it, you become a master of your own
    self expression.

  • Hey Theresa! Great post! I can relate to what you said about always being pushed to be better! In my case, it wasn’t negative criticism, it was out of care so I can be better. But nevertheless, too much of that will make you feel like you’re always wrong or not enough! I can also relate to what you said about not talking back to seniors! hehe 🙂 Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you started to nurture your voice, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to read this great post 🙂

  • Leah, that’s awesome you’ve been being yourself more and not caring about what others think. Your energy is now slowly being freed up to be spent on creating and sharing your uniqueness to the world in your own way one step at a time. Imagine just by being yourself, and sharing your stories you can have a positive impact on someone else. How would that feel? I’ll bet it would feel pretty amazing non? 🙂

  • Awesome J! Glad to hear.

  • Thanks Janice! Yes, good re-frame. I sense we have similar cultural influences.. 🙂 and appreciate your sweetness!

  • Vishal

    Nice post.

    Agree with all three points. Self expression is a personal right for everyone.

    Check out below post for further info on being expressive:

    http://gameligit.com/stop-needing-approval-express-your-real-self/

  • So true Theresa!! I think it can take some people years and years before they are comfortable with expressing themselves. I have always loved to express myself in so many different ways, drawing, writing, in my work, in conversations. I feel that nowadays, I am so much more confident in showing who I am but it has taken a lot of practice to know that you are doing so for yourself – and not trying to obtain validation from other people.

    Thank you

    Namaste – Jo

  • hey Jo! I love how you have found different ways to express yourself! You must be ultra creative 🙂 People often get caught up in the how, and you’ve taken the initiative in sharing your voice through experimenting in different ways, which is awesome!

  • One

    Very good message! Thank you Theresa!

  • Dave

    Thanks so much:)

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    “Because, frankly, sometimes people talk just for the sake of talking or
    because they want attention, and that bothered me. However, I also
    envied those who could just say what they think and speak their truth,
    even though I may or may not have agreed with them.” This is something that I struggle quite a bit at times as well. Loved the references you used with Disney characters…:). Thank you for sharing!

  • hayley.c

    Thanks for this blog post. It was like reading the story of my own childhood! I am british born chinese. All my life I have battled with self esteem, thinking I am not good enough, being hard on myself and others, and now in my early 20s, post graduation, things have been harder than ever emotionally. I have the ‘noone cares, I’m lost’ thought constantly, getting through days by feigning overall happiness. Struggling to find a job in the arts industries, struggling financially, and not thinking I’m good enough means I beat myself up over every aspect of my life. Recently, I let my low self esteem issues control my actions and I lashed out at a friend who needed the complete opposite. I ended up hurting them and myself. I just want to change for the better, for myself and my friends, how do you do this for the longterm and stop yourself slipping into old habits?

    Thank you x

  • lenny.l.l

    But how do you silence or move on from loathing the people who ‘talk just for the sake of talking or because they want attention’… is it possible? Is it a good idea to babble the first thing that comes to mind, despite it not being well crafted?
    An amazing piece of writing by the way, really speaks to me 🙂

  • Hey Hayley! Thanks for your comment. It is courageous of you to share your feelings right now. Know that you are loved, and that you are worthy. No one can take away your worthiness except for you. For you to be aware of your emotions and wanting to change is the first step. Now how can you shift your thoughts and feelings to a “better energy” state? Perhaps, instead of “no one cares, I’m lost” maybe reframe it to something more positive, i.e. to ‘I’m in process of getting clarity and will attain what I want’. Does that resonate? If not, get creative and find another statement that resonates with you and will make you feel better. Or find other ways that can lift you up. Focus on what makes you happy. Taking one step at a time, and give yourself permission to have time to do things that makes you happy whatever that may be. The truth is you probably wouldn’t talk to a friend like you would in your mind. So BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Let your mind talk to you as if you were talking to a friend instead of beating yourself up.

  • Why people act the way they do etc., is anybody’s guess. Sure we can make assumptions. However, in the end we all have our own stories and journeys in life. For me, I choose to just recognize this and respect it, and not be so quick to point the finger cuz it’s their story. We all have our own story. Who knows what others think of us.. lol As long as you know your preferences, you can choose how you want to react, take action and how you can let it affect you. Re: is it a good idea to babble the first thing that comes to your mind… it depends on the circumstance, etc. only you can decide based on the factors, information that is made available to you, and make the best judgment.

  • Justin Nicola

    Tremendous read, thank you for sharing.

  • hayley.c

    Thanks Theresa. It does resonate, this past week I have been telling myself that already it is a big step forward for me to have become more self aware. This is the first step and I aspire to be kinder to myself and everyone I love. Things can only get brighter if I strive to walk in that direction, and I do, I choose to believe in myself!

    Thanks for your post and positive energy! You are a wonderful expression of hope and love 🙂

    Hayley

  • Sophie Worrock

    Thank you SO much for this. As a person who also has trouble expressing themselves, this has truly spoken to me, no pun intended. 🙂 I know that in my relationships, especially with my partner, I’m encouraged to speak about my thoughts and feelings but I’m still fearful of rocking the boat, as you said. This advice will help me greatly in opening up to others and being confident with myself, even if I’m met with disapproval.

  • Thanks Sophie. 🙂 It is a wonderful to feel and beloved by people who loves and accepts us for all who we truly are.

  • Goose

    I know i’m a little late to the party, but this really hit home! Thank you for giving me a little insight to my problem! And kudos to you for getting to where you are!
    If you don’t mind me ranting some and then asking a question.. Here goes.

    I too never got to talk about my feelings or ideas as a child and it has lead me to being very closed up. I got so many beautiful and great people in my life, but I feel disconnected from them when all I want is to be close to them. I want them to know me.
    They have no problem talking about their thoughts with me, and sure, I just don’t sit there nodding along, but I often find myself being stuck in my head and come off very shallow.
    How the peep do I start speaking from my heart and letting go of my nonsense analysing of HOW to do it? It really doesn’t get me anywhere and has destroyed many, potentially wonderful relationships.

    Just writing this made me feel a little bit better. Thank you! 😉

  • Sara Alicea

    Oddly enough, these are things I’ve never really thought of. After all, the reason I want to come out of my shell and express myself more is for me, not them, so why should I care what they think?

  • g

    I am a dancer and i have been having an issue for a while. I’m a very confident person but whenever I’m dancing I get in my head, or zone out or idk and i know but all the sudden i just stop. I wanna be a professional Dancer when i grow up and i have to do something about this please help!

  • clyton dantis

    Theresa Ho, each line that you wrote felt like a testimony of my life. I am so happy that I read this blog. I will follow the steps the that you have prescribed here. Thank you. A great article!

  • Hey Goose! Even though I just saw your message now, and late to
    respond. I want to recognize you for sharing how you feel. I’m glad you
    felt better after sharing. And I hope you’ve made some progress in
    speaking from your heart since you commented.

  • Thanks Clyton Dantis! Good luck and let me know how it works for you.

  • Hey g. I’m not sure what you think about when you are dancing -whether you think people will like you or not etc.. but try thinking about why you wanna be a professional dancer? Is it to inspire others? to bring happiness to others? (Fill in the blank) and then dance your heart out keeping that in mind…

  • Sara that is awesome. It’s good to hear you can express yourself and let your voice be heard for you. <3

  • Vikash Sharma

    Ya, i realize when somebody annoys me and goes overhead only then I take my stand. But above all the main problem is talking to girls. Mostly I don’t feel to talk unnecessarily to almost anybody which causes the the lack of talks/behaviors and resulted into depressions. I don’t even feel to talk to my friends, thinking why unnecessarily talk and what to talk.

  • SAM

    Thank you.

  • Khye Weay

    These comments… I’m not alone
    Thank you for sharing. I felt a lot better after reading this post

  • haha, what a conincidence … i was thinking similar 3 points – the only person i have to impress is me first … b) stand for something … and c) letting go of all the outcomes (especially interacting with girls … we want dates, kiss, hugs … but when we let go of that outcomes, we truly be in the present moment and enjoy the interaction i think) … and yes, i understand every word you say … we grew in a culture where self expression is frowned upon … play it safe, don’t talk back to the seniors, always be polite, and all those bull crap our parents and teachers and later media taught us to be … that is why i stoppped watching TV and reading newspaper because i knew they were shaping my reality … now i am old and wise, i am starting to meditate … it’s already been over 3 years and now i am just being in the moment and know how to bring my attention back to the here and now and not give a damn about the outcome 🙂 cheers lovely post 🙂

  • Junaid

    “I too never got to talk about my feelings or ideas as a child and it has lead me to being very closed up. I got so many beautiful and great people in my life, but I feel disconnected from them when all I want is to be close to them. I want them to know me.
    They have no problem talking about their thoughts with me, and sure, I just don’t sit there nodding along, but I often find myself being stuck in my head and come off very shallow.”

    You just described my whole life.

    I’ve got so many thoughts stuck in my head and i could never share them properly. It’s like the concept is crystal clear in my mind but when it comes to explaining or expressing it to someone, i just can’t find the correct words to do it. I always end up making a fool of myself and that’s why i no longer take part in conversation and would rather resort myself mainly to listening. It’s just so frustrating.

  • Benjamin

    When i read this post, I saw myself in that situation recently, trying to live to please other’s and not being myself. I feel rejuvenated, 100%, people will “respect you more”, if you stand for something than don’t stand at all.

  • Jha

    Wow!!! I am struggling with these since my childhood and today I got the answer for my life changing thought. A BIG thank you for sharing these 3 points. Let me implement and change my life.

  • sid

    Wow I really needed that I just moved out of my house and am going to a new school with new kids and all that stuff all I want is to stand out to be different not a clone but not to different so I can still get friends I want to be a leader the kind of person that people look up to but to get into that position I have to stand out first so thank you I am well on my way to being the kind of person I want to be………….omg and I’m only 10

  • mellow song

    I just sent an email telling how I feel to my boss. I am expecting to be fired after that. But I hope the future reserves something better for me.

  • Sweet Angel

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I’m just glad I came across this blog because I really needed to read something like this… when I read this it sure does relates to my situation and my life. I truly have difficulties expressing myself with my view, thoughts, and etc. Since, I’m in school I do terrible in presentations because I couldn’t express my views, opinions, thoughts, and how I felt about the topic that I was researching. How can I take away my fears doing my presentation? I get staged fright and I keep thinking about others think of me. How can I express myself during my presentations? I want others to learn from me when I present my research. It’s very frustrating for me. Thank you.

  • Nicole

    It’s only when you’ve been the one afraid to express, you start to admire expression and it becomes sacred.

  • Alfredo Hernandez

    I really need to learn to not care much about what people think anymore.Though,I’m usually quite talktative or at least generally good at talking,for the past week I haven’t been able to come up with many good conversations,and have been really timid.For almost no reason at all!..I wanna snap out of it,because being alone and or left behind for being boring or indecisive or DEPRESSING is not something I wanna live through again.So yeah,this post by you guys is generally helpful!Anyway,I hope the rest of you guys who are seeking help find a solution!Much love for you all 😀

  • Alfredo Hernandez

    very true dude!I hope you have dared to make a difference in your life!