“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.”
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