By Greg S. Baker
One of the hardest things to do when you’re communicating with someone is expressing yourself. How many times have you said something that just didn’t come out the way you wanted it to? How many times have we said something that we really didn’t mean, but we were too frustrated to stop it from being said?
What’s more, some people have a fear of expressing themselves at all. They’re afraid to say something that might cost them a friendship. Or they bottle everything up tight and seize up at the mere thought of sharing their true emotions.
This can be a constant struggle for people. However, it is something that can be conquered. If you are struggling to express yourself to others, or you know of someone who struggles, then read on. This article will show you what you can do to open up with others.
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION
Every being on the planet communicates in some fashion. And the more complex the form of communication is, you will find more complex relationships as well.
Human speech is the most complicated form of communication in the world. We have so many ways to express ideas, feelings, dreams, suggestions, thoughts, intents, love, rage, desire, and so forth.
Words have meaning to us. Subtle differences in each word will convey a slightly different idea. Huge and gigantic have subtle differences. We think of gigantic as bigger than huge. Thus, the words you use in your relationships are of powerful importance. The person who said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” never had a complex and in-depth relationship. Words can hurt.
Words have the power to give life and death…especially in relationships.
So it is important that you learn to express yourself. You must learn to convey your thoughts, ideas, dreams, ambitions, hopes and emotions to those that you share a relationship with. Your inability to do so, will damage your relationships.
DANGERS OF NOT BEING ABLE TO EXPRESS YOURSELF
1. If you have a fear of people, people will avoid you. It’s a vicious cycle. You avoid people because you fear that they will hurt you. People see your aloofness, and either think the worst (that you’re stuck up), or grant your desire and leave you alone. Then you wonder why it is that no one likes you.
2. When you can’t open up to people, people will feel that you are unapproachable. You’ll have a hard time getting close to people when you bottle everything up inside. Your relationships will all be shallow.
3. Your inability to express yourself will haunt you in times of trouble. You’ll need help, you’ll want help, but you won’t seek it. You’ll hide. So, no one helps you. Then you grow resentful and angry.
4. Another danger is that of isolation. You build walls around your emotions and people instinctively leave you alone. That might be what you wanted at first, but your life will be barren, and empty. Life is relationships. The stronger your relationships the more joy you’ll have in life. No matter if it is with your mate, God, children, neighbors, co-workers, friends, relatives, or even yourself, you must learn to express yourself.
TIPS ON EXPRESSING YOURSELF
Do A Lot Of Reading
Reading will help you learn how other people express themselves. Pay attention to word usage, diction, flow, voice and tone. These will give you ideas on expressing yourself.
Look up words that you’ve never seen before. Use them. They’ll provide you with many and myriad ways of expressing your emotions. Often, I’ve found that a single word does better expressing what I feel than an entire paragraph of sentences. Learning new words will help you express yourself better and reading will help you to learn different ways to do so.
A wise man once said, not every reader is a leader, but every leader is a reader.
Do Some Writing On Your Own
Do a variety of writing. Start a novel. Write letters. Keep a journal or diary. Often, you’ll find that writing helps you to think your thoughts through. In the heat of an argument, you’ll often say what you don’t mean in a tone that creates more resentment. Writing will help you organize your thoughts. It’ll give you focus and direction.
Don’t Fear People’s Judgment
Social anxiety is not a disease. You can’t catch it from someone who has it. It is a spiritual state of mind that is the direct result of fear. There is really only one type of fear and that is the fear of the unknown. Don’t fear what other people think about you. Honestly, your imagination will create far worse scenarios than what most people will ever think.
To overcome your fear, try asking for their help. Try this, “I’m having a hard time expressing myself, and I thought maybe you could help me.” Saying that will invoke an instinctual need that most everyone has-the desire to help and feel needed. Hardly anyone will be critical of you when you’ve asked for their help.
It also sets the stage to retract what you may say when you say it wrong. Since you’ve already warned them that you are struggling with expressing yourself, when you actually struggle with it, they’ll just shrug it off. It’s a great tool to overcoming your fear of other people’s judgment.
When You’re Upset, Write A Letter
If you’re furious at someone, then go ahead and write them a nasty letter. Just don’t give it to them. Sleep on it. The next morning, go back over the letter. You’ll find that your attitudes and perspective have shifted. I seriously doubt you’ll send the letter under those conditions.
But more than that, sending someone a letter that is well thought out is a great idea when you’re trying to express yourself. Look, letters can’t be argued with, they can’t be interrupted, and you can’t derail the train of thought. In fact, even if the letter is negative, most people will read it all the way through.
Sometimes a well worded letter will allow you to convey your feelings where a conversation would not.
Be Mature When You Express Yourself
I don’t take people seriously when they rant, rave, swear, cuss, insult, deride, mock, or get stubborn. These are immature attitudes that prevent and hinder the expression process.
Here is a rule of thumb. If they are willing to talk about others behind their back, they will do it to you too. Let’s stay away from the unproductive gossip, the insults, the profanity, and the finger pointing. These accomplish nothing. Think about it, when is the last time you actually made a situation better by swearing at someone? Maturity in conversation is thoughtfulness, consideration, and the willingness to listen. Show respect to others and they will respect you.
You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to express yourself in the form of a question.
But the short of it is this, questions allow you to interact with others. They involve you in their thoughts, feelings, worries, and cares. This provides an opportunity to express yourself better to them. Expression is best done when there is good interaction. Thoughtful questions provide this platform.
Remember, people communicate all the time, but either it is misunderstood or it is not listened to. These techniques and methods will help assist in the struggles that you have in communicating.
** To comment on this article or to read comments about this article,
About the Author:
Please visit Greg’s website at http://fitlyspoken.org
For more books and resources to build relationships, express yourself, and develop stronger communication and social skills.
Check out the book, ‘Fitly Spoken’, a Christian based book that explores the intricacies of human communication and expression in relationships.