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Part I: Express Your Self

You already have what you need

The latest idea I've been mulling, and explore with my friend and former grad student Linda McShan in Los Angeles, is the idea of self expression. I happen to believe that a life fulfilled is a life where you live up to your potential, to the greatest extent possible and for as much as your skills, resources, and courage will allow. So, if you want to listen, here's the whole hour:

Here are the rough notes from that podcast, below:


PREMISE: Do you really "find yourself," as so many pundits and self-help gurus suggest? Or, is the "SELF" something you don't "find," but, rather, is something you create?

What does self expression entail?

Self-expression, by definition, is about communicating your individuality.

Further, it is about finding the courage to BE who you REALLY ARE. It's about actively seeking to share the best parts of yourself—your gifts—with the world.

Why don't we all want to do this? It would seem a natural thing to do, to give the fullest expression of yourself to the world, right?

I believe each of us has a purpose on the planet, a reason for being born. I also believe that to hoard this, or to not share this, or to not share YOU with the something of a tragedy. I'm not saying you've wasted your life if you don't share your genius with the world...but as a Life Coach, it's part of the paradigm for me to sort of challenge the idea: if you don't realize your potential and don't share it, what's keeping you from it?

I am talking about the inner work of understanding who you are, and sharing it with the world: it's not something that just lays there, your have to DO SOMETHING to share it with the world. The key word is "WORK!"

Expressing your "self" doesn't have to be a big thing, or a grand don't have to be famous. I am talking about the process of creation and self-expression which is giving yourself permission to get what is in your head OUT of your head, and INTO THE WORLD.

Why don't people naturally do this? Simply put, we hold ourselves back.

The "inner critic"—that voice in our heads—the thing that tries to stop you, belittles, judges or otherwise hampers you from moving forward, is very powerful. But there are other forces that you can actively draw upon that are even more powerful. When you harness these, they can help you defeat the enemy and create the life, the journey that is uniquely and (more fully) yours.

These concepts came into view for me recently when I watched actor/filmmaker/producer Jonah Hill's vulnerable and miraculous documentary, "Stutz," and followed Hill as he explored his relationship with therapist Phil Stutz and the tools that Stutz uses to help his patients/clients.

Watching the film over the holidays, I was thrilled to see a practical application of powerful self-expression and personal growth tools—and the relationship between therapist, in this case, and client—made so accessible to the general public! Watching the film "Stutz" is like exploring two hours of life coaching, or growth mindset therapy, for only the cost of your Netflix subscription. I highly recommend that you watch it.

"Watching the film "Stutz" is like exploring two hours of life coaching, or growth mindset therapy, for only the cost of your Netflix subscription."

Self exploration and personal growth are my jam. Phil Stutz is a therapist to the stars. We both work to help people get unstuck and "get out of their way" in order to keep moving forward in life. We want to help you take action to overcome the "drags" these constructs have on the forward motion in our lives: we are, indeed, our own "worst enemy."

Stutz calls the chronic enemy inside you Part X, and teaches how to address the part of you that would like to hold you back.

It's human nature to blame the past, or stay stuck in lifelong negative habits—mulling, dwelling, blaming, and so on. By labeling Part X, it can help elevate you into "emotional adulthood." Being aware is the first step, but you need resolve in order to take the responsibility to be who you are, consciously and actively, in the present.

I am not discounting childhood trauma, or minimizing the hurts that many, or in fact MOST of us, have suffered. I am also not discounting the extra burden and difficulty that mental illness puts on our ability to move out of these states and into our present selves.

I am, however, on board with seeking, if you can and seeking help to do it, if you will.

Don't decide you can't before you discover you can.

"Don't decide you can't before you discover you can."

Consistently calling out "Part X" allows you to activate your soul, the avatar of creative forces. Stutz's teachings are helpful, if you want to explore your own supernatural power to draw upon the higher forces in the universe, the highest expression of who you are, you can read Stutz's book, Coming Alive: 4 Tools to Defeat Your Inner Enemy, Ignite Creative Expression & Unleash Your Soul's Potential.

You can use your life force to overcome that inner critic.

You can express your "you-ness," and explore and pursue your potential.

You can draw upon higher power or higher forces: it is helpful to begin to understand how your own transformation can happen. What can you do? How do you begin to share your YOU-ness with the world?

My coaching questions for this topic:

  1. In what ways do you believe you are not living up to your potential?

  2. How might Part X be working to stop your progress? For example, do you experience feelings of inadequacy, or chronic worry, or procrastination, or moodiness, that work to stop your progress?

  3. What are the pitfalls of Part X? What human tendencies put us in the hole that allows us to give into PART X, exactly? What keeps us from reaching our potential?

    • It could be self-gratification. This is uniquely human: We give into self-indulgence or impulses. We may have spurts of energy and focus to overcome our impulses, but the first time we have a set back, we fall back into the hole.

    • It could be lethargy. Maybe it's not depression, per se, but it may have to do with not having enough energy. It was a big symptom we saw in the pandemic. Lethargy results in withdrawing from life's demands, tasks remaining undone, losing touch with people, and allowing opportunities to pass you by.

    • It could be demoralization. This is when "Part X" wants to convert normal discouragement into "hopelessness," where you give up and quit trying for the things that are important to you. It's not just discouragement, it's where you actually quit. Ms. Linda points out that overcoming this tendency requires understanding the nature of life's timing, and never giving up: we can't control it, but it's up to us to recognize the danger of falling prey to this mindset and recognize and be able to pull out of this slippery slope!

    • It could be hurt feelings or unexpected injury. These often result in self-pity or self-righteousness. Victimhood is a deep hole you can fall into and never find your way out of.

It is not a problem to experience these; it's human. The problem is letting them keep you down, and stay down. The solution is about crawling out.

Ultimately you must trust the process. The opposite of doubt is faith. Not the religious kind, but as a philosophy of using your CHOICES and your ability to choose, as a human being, but by way of choice and tapping into your own knowledge, talent, and experience. And sharing that with the world! Go, YOU! It's your life, make the most of it. And please, share YOU with the world, it needs you!

Here are a couple of quotes I close with:

"Our greatest glory is not in falling, but in rising every time we fall." Confucius

"I want freedom for the full expression of my personality." Mahatma Gandhi

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Maya Angelou.

When it comes to self-expression, "everything you need, you already have inside you." ~Karen Bergh, Life Coach


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