Self Expression: What Is Self Expression and How Can You Do It?

Two women in atheltic clothing drinking Owala water bottles.

In the age of social media, people are constantly talking about self-expression. Being able to show who you are clearly and confidently has a positive impact on self-esteem, relationships, and overall mental health.

Despite becoming a buzzword, what exactly is self-expression? Additionally, how can you find healthy and vibrant ways to express yourself in an authentic and meaningful way?

We're here to take a deep dive into this topic, from expressing emotions to expressing artistic and aesthetic taste.

Read on as we talk about the different ways you can let the world know who you really are.

What Self-Expression Really Means

Expression is the ability to emulate a feeling, a desire, or even an aesthetic. Self-expression is similar, but there's a key difference: when you're expressing yourself, you're not hiding your true feelings or trying to stay on trend. Self-expression is the act of showing who you are on the inside without fear or inhibition. 

It's no wonder that so many people are afraid of self-expression! Self-expression requires you to be vulnerable and strong at the same time—to pave a path that's uniquely yours without worrying what other people think of it. Which, hey, we get it… isn’t always the easiest thing to do. But if you're ready to take the challenge, it’ll lead to a whole lot happier and more authentic life. How, you ask? Well, here are some tips. 

Expressing Your Emotional Self

First, let's talk about expressing your emotional self—and no, we’re not just talking about crying (though if you haven’t heard lately… crying is cool) Your emotional self is the version of you that feels deeply and cares about yourself and others. It’s the part of you that makes the world a better place, but sometimes can be hard to show—especially if you’ve been hurt in the past. If you've been hiding your emotional self, we've got some tips to coax it out into the open.

Take Up Journaling

If you're used to bottling up your emotions, consider developing a journaling habit. Once a day, in the morning or at night, turn to your journal to express what you're thinking and feeling. Remember, no one ever has to see what you write! This is your space. Give yourself the freedom to write whatever you want and take note of how different circumstances—both positive and negative—impact your mood. Then think about  how you can self-soothe or ask for help when you're feeling down.

Talk it Out

When self-expression doesn't come naturally, we have a tendency to bury our frustrations, where they only tend to get bigger. While it can be scary, try to talk to the people in your life when you feel hurt or disrespected. It’s way better than holding it in and either feeling more angry or showing passive-aggressive behavior. 

When you talk to the other person, remember that the goal isn't to make them feel bad about what they've done (at least, it shouldn’t be). Instead, express how you're feeling and find ways to improve your relationship moving forward. If you're worried that you might say something you don't mean in the heat of the moment, grab your journal first. This can help you to approach your conversation with a goal in mind and a level head. In some cases, the person may not be aware that their actions are hurting you. By approaching them calmly, they’ll be more receptive to your feedback. 

Feel Your Feelings

This one might sound simple, but it's harder than you might think. Emotions are tricky. Even the positive ones can sometimes make us feel uncomfortable. If you’ve been through a lot, you may have developed the habit of ignoring your feelings or suppressing them to cope. When you start to feel a strong emotion bubbling under the surface, give yourself a few moments to feel it in your body and mind. Then practice naming what you're feeling, whether that's apprehensive, frustrated, optimistic, or joyful. Being able to say the name of the emotion you’re feeling will help you be able to process and move forward

Expressing Your Creative Self

Now, let's talk about your creative self (AKA the fun part). Your creative self is the version of you that shows emotional self to others.  By using art and fashion, you can also express your thoughts, interests, and desires. It's time to shed the trends and find out what your creative instincts really are.

Enjoy a Creative Hobby

One of the best ways to express yourself is through a creative hobby, like writing poetry, painting pictures, or playing music. Or if you want to get really creative, competitive duck herding. If you've always felt called to a creative hobby, but never gave it a shot (or stopped doing a hobby you used to love), now is the time to pick it back up. Use your art to process or release your emotions and let your creative desires act as a self-expressive guide.

Reevaluate Your Personal Style

How we dress and accessorize can say a lot about who we are and what we want to put out into the world. Think about what you currently wear. If you're dressing to blend in or avoid attention, it's time to cut loose! Take a walk on the wild side by buying something outside of the norm (that still feels like you, of course). Would a colorful FreeSip water bottle and or a cool, eye-catching pair of kicks brighten your day?  Or it time to buy those flowy skirts and halter tops you've been eyeing for months? If a complete wardrobe overhaul seems like a lot, start small by incorporating pieces you love—one at a time—and before you know it, you'll have built look that’s completely your own.

Share Your Work With Others

Remember that creative hobby we mentioned earlier? If you've been practicing your artwork in private, consider taking a leap and sharing your work with others. You can show it to a trusted friend or join a writer's group or—if you’re feeling super brave—head to an open mic night or karaoke bar. Yes, people will be watching, but this is your time to shine! 

Plus, the goal is to connect with others in an authentic way. You never know who will benefit from seeing your creativity and feel inspired to start their own self-expression journey. Super cool, right?

How Will You Tell Your Unique Story?

At Owala, we're all about self-expression. Maybe you've got FreeSip style or maybe you're looking for a unique, special-edition Color Drop moment. No matter your personal style, we want to help you share it with the world.

Ready to find more ways to express your mood and creativity with each sip you take? Take a look around to discover all of our latest water bottles and water bottle accessories that you won't want to miss. Seriously.