• Self-Expression

    lightFrom an early age, it seems like we always hear the advice to “be yourself” and “to thine own self be true.” But what exactly does that mean? And what does self-expression look like? How do we go about showing our uniqueness and individuality to the world? That makes us vulnerable, and that can be scary. What if someone doesn’t like our choices? What if they make fun of us? Or, even worse, what if they publicly shame or humiliate us? Sometimes it’s easier to simply keep our true selves under wraps where it’s safer.

    Self-expression sometimes comes with a price.

    In the back window of my car is a University of Alabama sticker. Living in Alabama, you either receive love or hate for displaying that sticker. (People here feel very passionately about their football teams!) But when I was living in Phoenix, I didn’t give the sticker much thought because it was so far away from Alabama that I didn’t think people would notice. One day I was waiting at a red light when a city dump truck pulled next to me. The burly guys inside started honking the horn and waving to get my attention. I assumed they wanted to let me know something was wrong with my car, so I rolled down the window. Surprisingly, they both yelled a hearty “Roll Tide!” at me.

    Not all instances of self-expression are received that well.

    I’m sure you can think of times in your life when choices you’ve made have been met with resistance. Or humiliation, or shame, or guilt, or questions, or misunderstanding. Sometimes being who we truly are takes a lot of courage and bravery. It can mean ‘bucking’ the system, or going against the wishes of our loved ones. It can mean risking losing relationships, or being ridiculed. Going with the flow is so much easier… but it comes with the risk of losing your true self. And that can be just as painful.

    “Say what you wanna say
    And let the words fall out
    Honestly I wanna see you be brave
    With what you want to say
    And let the words fall out
    Honestly I wanna see you be brave…”
    –”Brave” by Sara Bareilles

    If you’re struggling with self-expression, or if you’re not sure who you really are—talking to someone may help. Give the office a call to see how music therapy might benefit you. I’m always happy to answer questions!

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