The Power of Self-Expression
Growing up in the Midwest in a traditional nuclear family, I learned to play nice. I cared a lot about what people thought of me from an early age. With an engrained eagerness to please, I toed the line and often suppressed my opinion in fear people wouldn’t understand or agree with me. In retrospect, this extreme flexibility to bend in a certain direction for people, based on my read of what they wanted to hear, failed me. As I began to process the repercussions of this mentality, I learned to challenge my core beliefs and express my thoughts outwardly, even when I felt uncomfortable. It was hard, but it helped me live more authentically.
Something happens inside of us when our voices are heard and valued publicly. When we reveal our inner thoughts, we realize we are not alone—that many others share our feelings. On the flip side, non-judgmentally listening to another’s worldview, even if it’s different from your own, promotes higher level thinking and fosters empathy. After all, how could we imagine what life is like for someone if we don’t hear about their experiences and opinions through stories, art, and protest?
Self-expression is a human right. When we allow ourselves to become vulnerable by making our view known, even if it’s hard, others will follow suit. When done honestly, creatively, and with respect... the world evolves.