Self-expression – Are you a poker face or an open book?

Man Being StrangledWhat do you usually do with your emotions? Do you bottle them up and put on a poker face? Or do you wear your heart on your sleeve, being an open book for others and expressing all your emotions fully? Or maybe you are one of those who know how to express emotions to the appropriate extent and at the right moment.

The ability to express 
one’s feelings verbally 
and non-verbally is called Emotional Expression. Individuals who effectively express emotions find the right words and physical actions to convey their feelings in a way that is not hurtful to others.

If you tend to bottle emotions inside and not share them with others, you can create the illusion either that you are emotionless or that you do not grasp the significance of the situation. Your less expressive style may mean that in new environments you could struggle to engage others in a meaningful way.

If you express your emotions too frequently, you can quickly overwhelm your colleagues by sharing too much emotion at the wrong times. People usually tend to bottle up their emotions because of their fear of being rejected or of hurting others. To overcome this fear, ask for feedback after you express your true emotions and thoughts.

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By expressing your emotions you give yourself permission to be heard and seen. This means being a good lawyer for yourself and fostering your self-regard. Successful relationships flow from a willingness to openly exchange thoughts and feelings. Sharing how you feel about a decision or issue helps improve team communication and decision making, resolves interpersonal conflict, and helps you gain the resources that you need.
One strategy to develop effective emotional expression is an “Expression Monitor”:
1). Practice self-reflection daily to monitor to what extent you express your emotions and feelings. Measure your ability on a scale from 1 to 10. Where are you on this scale today? Where on the scale do you want to be? What do you need to do to reach the score you desire?
2). Observe the “Ripple Effect” of your emotional expression. How do people react  to your words or behavior? Do they tend to withdraw after you express yourself? Do they pay little attention to it? Or does your message come across as you intend it to?
3). Use your findings from the self-reflection and “Ripple Effect” observation to develop your emotional expression. Increase or reduce the “volume” of your emotions. Learn from situations when your expression lands well.Become “Emotionally Smart” by making emotional expression an effective tool for communicating your thoughts, needs and and values.