We each express ourselves in different ways, through our physical bodies, conversations, our passions, and our inclinations. Some of us wear our identities, some of us speak it, some draw it, some carve it, and several others live it in their own unique ways.
If you think wearing a customised t-shirt does so much as to reveal a part of yourself, imagine what more every first encounter with the world could reveal. Our personalities are constantly going through a series of changes that are very often triggered by societal norms and expectations. Right from our ideas of normatively to our own distinct sense of selfhood, we are constantly unraveling. One of the best parts about self expression and discovery is that as we discover ourselves, we also slowly begin to reveal ourselves to the world.
Our self expression is a vast term that is constantly undergoing change. As our selfhood evolves, so do our ways of expression and existence. And it doesn’t come as a surprise, considering that close to 7.9 billion people walk the earth with us. Each of these 7.9 billion people are unique personalities themselves, and even if the idea of personality is partly dictated by norms, there are still parts of us that will forever remain unique to our identity.
What does wearing your heart on your sleeve have to do with self-expression?
The origins of the phrase “wearing your heart on your sleeve” goes back to the Middle Ages when horsemen or knights paraded a symbol on their arms in lieu of the women for whom they were fighting during the tournament. The phrase was then further popularised by Shakespeare in Othello, a play, where he quotes the phrase “But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve, for daws to peck at: I am not what I am.” Though there have been several versions of the story since then, the meaning of the phrase remains the same. Simply put, wearing our hearts on our sleeves makes us evidently happier.
Our ability and desire to wear our hearts on our sleeves to display our authentic feelings and emotions sets us apart in many ways. Research has shown that being authentic and unabashed in our expression is the gateway to seeing the world and understanding it differently. People who are open-minded are also fearless in many ways, and aren’t afraid of expressing their true selves. By making spaces wherein our freedom of speech and expression are valued, we propagate a more content, happier and healthier society as a whole. Being open to new experiences and ideas also creates more room for our distinct creativity thereby allowing for an overall satisfying human experience.
Many of us may find that being vulnerable and authentic, or to be called an “open book” is to be somewhat too much. The lot of us tend to think that way because we’ve been conditioned to forget and ‘move on’, even if moving on comes at the price of our own identity.
Self expression is important, and mastering it isn’t all that difficult. It takes time and patience with yourself, but it is rewarding and deeply satisfying.
Practice makes perfect
For many, self-expression comes naturally, but for several others, it takes years and years of hard work, courage and self work. From the moment we are born, we’re already told of the ways in which we should and shouldn’t exist. As we grow older, we learn how to unlearn several conditionings and change the ways in which we live. This is very important to our existence as the ways we perceive the world greatly affects our quality of life. It is through a conditioned and developed lens that we learn to perceive, interpret and absorb information on a day to day basis. To undo that learning is possible, and also one of the bravest things we can do to elevate our human experience.
Be emotionally honest
Living in a fast paced world comes at its own cost. A lot of the time, in the daily hustle of life, we forget to sit with what we’re feeling and let the emotion slide. The downside of doing that is that it resurfaces later, and in ways that are stronger than before. Instead, if you can train yourself to not run away, but sit with the feeling and understand it, it helps understand yourself better. Sitting with yourself will help you discover your triggers, what works for you as well as what doesn’t work for you. Knowing this is a very important part of your identity, because then you can start to carve your niche and set boundaries for yourself as well as those around you. Being honest about your emotions is one of the best ways to understand yourself and express your needs and wants.
Hone your passions
Our passions are usually natural, innate modes of self-expression and self-definition, and very important to our journey. Ikigai, a Japanese concept, talks of passions that give our life it's worth, and defines the meaning of our existence. The concept is defined by a state of wellness that comes as a result of our devotion to our passions and things that bring us happiness, and in turn adds purpose and fulfilment to our lives. By repeatedly doing what we are good at, and honing our talents and our skills, we put our minds and our bodies through a state of well-being and resilience. Finding the right outlet to express ourselves is one of the most important secrets to our overall health and wellbeing.
With a few simple techniques and deliberate practice, it is possible to master self-expression and live a far more fulfilling life.
Customised t-shirts we wear carry the unique ability of instigating conversations, bringing people together, creating change, and challenging the status quo. A lot can be said about us through the clothes we wear, and so we might as well make it count.