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On Expression

Courage abides in expression rather than repression.

Courage abides in expression rather than repression.

Speak your truth. Share your story. Express yourself with the manner, medium, and message that embodies who you really are.

THE WORLD NEEDS YOUR COURAGE.

Let’s not repress what we need to say. Let’s create honest and empowering ways to share it. And let’s create safe and inclusive spaces to receive it too.

Let’s pause our own agendas to listen to the stories of others. To hold space for others. To give time to others. To support and champion their unique expression.

In 14 years of coaching, I’ve found the theme of expression shows up again and again. “I wish I was more courageous in my expression.” “I wish I felt like my voice mattered.”

Sending love, light, support, and prayer only goes so far; it’s really just a nice passive way to stay in our comfort zones and keep a distance, particularly in challenging situations.

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE.

We crave genuine connection more than ever these days. Yet we resist embracing the very things that cultivate such connection. We resist expressing ourselves out of fear and simultaneously resist letting in the true expression of others out of fear too.

FEAR OF EXPRESSION

We choose repression when we fear the outcome of sharing our truth; being heard is often as scary as not being heard at all. Or we hustle hard to be heard and rush through our listening.

We can also get careless and allow emotion to uproot the wisdom of our expression, turning ears away from our message. Our egos strive to be right, collapsing our pursuit of understanding. When perspectives wildly differ from our own, we somehow unconsciously believe our depth of listening equates to agreement.

Above all, when we are unaware of our own hunger for authentic expression, we hold a limited capacity to really understand and accept this need in others.

Fear is robbing us of genuine connection—and we’re letting it. Yet long tables and open circles—even when we disagree—will heal and connect us far more than closed ones.

When was the last time you held open, compassionate space for someone you didn’t know?

When did you last embrace, shake hands with, or look in the eye of someone whose beliefs are not your own?

TEN WAYS TO PRACTICE COURAGEOUS EXPRESSION

  1. Choose to express yourself with honesty, respect, and thoughtfulness.

  2. Elect to respond with kindness to the expression of others.

  3. Engage the difficult conversation from a place of shared purpose and connection.

  4. Listen without an intention to respond.

  5. Tell the truth. (A deeply, deeply courageous choice.)

  6. Listen to someone else’s truth, especially when it wildly differs from your own.

  7. Cry it out with someone you love rather than alone in your car or closet.

  8. Write madly in your journal. Write the hard things down. Write the good things too. 

  9. Follow up. On the voicemail, the text, the social media post. Actively demonstrate your care beyond occasional ‘likes.’

  10. Exercise your expression with your people and strangers alike. After all, everyone is a neighbor in our global community.

The choice is ours. We can choose the practice of courage or the practice of fear. Our thoughtful, courageous expression matters. Every word, image, or narrative we share is important. 

Our growth and evolution listens to it. And our authentic connection requires it.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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