Google dictionary



1 the expression of one’s feelings, thoughts, or ideas, especially in writing, art, music, or dance.

Another definition adds in the word ‘personality’. Yet another uses the word ‘behaviour’. And there are still more variations to be found. Whichever collection of words one prefers, the abiding theme is the expressing of oneself/one’s self, by various means.

In a Psychology Today article I read when doing a bit of internet surfing for this post, it said,

Neuroscience is teaching us that ‘self-expression’ might be one – if not the most important ways for people to connect, navigate and grow with each other.

In a podcast I came across featuring Najwa Zebian, she shared the perspective that self-expression (her key mediums poetry and journaling) was important to one’s own well-being.

In my own words, I’d say it is the intentional articulation of who you are, or the parts of you that you wish to present, to the world around you. Articulated via a myriad of mediums, and not limited to those included in the opening definition.

A friend, and a true gent, who is no longer with us, was known for his often bright and outlandish, socks. While the rest of him was clothed in fairly standard office attire. Another friend is committed to their body art. Each piece has a personal meaning, and makes a statement first and foremost to and for themself. Yet another friend is known for what I call ‘kick me, kill me’ shoes. I think I’m right in saying it is one of the ways she gets to display her flair. And one of my cousin’s is an artist, and via her MA, she is exploring and expressing different concepts, and taking the opportunity for some self-‘reflexing’. You can check out her journey here.

Interwoven or integral to all of this, I believe, is the need to be self-aware, or know yourself. Possibly an obvious statement, but yet, I think not. As though I posited that ‘self-expression’ is an intentional articulation of who you are, knowing who you truly are seems to be a struggle for some. As partially evidenced by the amount of books, posts etc. (based on a quick google search) which aim to shed light on the subject. If you are not truly aware of who you are, what you are expressing may not be the best version of yourself. Or your truest self. Which in turn may lead to challenges, internal and external, as you seek to navigate, and engage with those around you. And this thing we call life.

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Polonius, Hamlet Act 1, Scene 3