Tattoos, piercings, baggy pants, skinny jeans, purple hair, political activism, celibacy – whatever form it takes, we are all on a quest to express ourselves. It's a basic human urge, and it's healthy and needful.
we share and express ourselves to others forms the basis of our
personality, as understood by everyone but us, and sets the tone for
our entire lives. It's a vital aspect of life to pay attention to,
especially if you want to feel more understood and more in tune with
the people you care about. The way we share ourselves is known as
self-expression, and it turns out there are a lot of ways to do it"
let's look a little further . . .
In our modern Western society, we are inundated with media messages and bombarded with images about how we should act, look, and think. As a result, many people are seduced into a kind of faux self-expression. They think that self-expression simply consists in going against the grain – flouting societal norms in the most outlandish or subtle way possible. Although that can be self-expression, it usually isn't true self-expression.
rebelling against what is expected isn't necessarily expressing
yourself. For "self-expression is, at its core, the action of
expressing yourself, and it can take a wide variety of forms. You can
use your words, your facial expressions, your body, your movements,
clothing, actions, and possessions to express your authentic inner
Around the World
Although self-expression is typically highly regarded in the Western world, it's not always that way in other cultures. "While those
in the West have embraced individualistic norms and practices,
including self-expression, other cultures have upheld collectivist
values and – in some cases – place little to no value in
individualism. For instance, the Arab world is less prone to an
individualistic view and more likely to value tradition, religion,
and authority" (Positive
religion may not be as important in East Asia as it is in the Arab
world, self-expression is still frowned on. In East Asia much
importance is placed on economic and physical security. So
self-expression is often seen as a sign of egoism and is viewed as an
impediment to happiness and social harmony.
for us, the individual and self-expression remain important.
Self-expression Is Important
True self-expression is important in our society, and it is good for psychological health. It promotes fulfillment and "allows us to be our best selves, reach our full potential, and make valuable contributions to the world we live in. Authentic self-expression is how we embrace who we are" (Positive Psychology).
self-expression is important not only because it helps us be the best
version of who we are, but also because it fosters more effective
social interaction and working with others. Opening up and expressing
ourselves helps us move from what is called "a state of
protection (coddling the ego and manning our inner walls to protect
ourselves) to a state of partnering (being open to sharing yourself
with others and vice versa)" (Positive
fact, this state that results from authentic self-expression "is
where we get our best and most innovative work done. Acting in
alignment with our authentic selves activates our prefrontal cortex, giving us greater access to our higher-order abilities like creative and innovative thinking, problem-solving, and planning" (Positive Psychology).
then, self-expression is good for you – helping you to become more
creative and work better with others.
most people think of self-expression, they usually do so in terms of
fashion and style. This, however, creates a problem because we often
confuse fashion with style. But they are in fact very different
Today, style is "the ability to distinctively sort through
the maze of things, make a selection and do so in a way that is in
keeping with how we see ourselves." Fashion, on the other hand,
is a pale shadow of style that merely follows trends and fads and
what is currently popular. "With style, we stamp our personal
identity on an arrangement of things. And our closets always seem
full of possibilities – it just depends on what aspect of our
identity we want to make palpable in clothes that day."
because it is often confused with fashion, is both misunderstood and
undervalued. "Style is what we really want when we say we want
to be fashionable. Style delights because it is always fresh, is a
little ode to creativity and novelty. It gives a hint of personality.
. . . More than anything, style is more than mere clothes. . . .
Style is a little excursion into self-expression through clothes. It
is self-knowledge and self-confidence expressed through what you
choose to wear, a life-affirming expression of your character and
short, fashion belongs to the clothes themselves while style belongs to
and is an attribute of the wearer.
that brings us to the humble
bandana is nothing more than a square piece of cloth. But because it is
so simple, it serves so well to express yourself and your style. You
can wear a bandana on your head, around your neck, around a wrist,
hanging from a pocket or belt, tied to a backpack strap – the style
uses are nearly endless.