All personal, professional and social results are only possible with expression. Especially in a democracy, it is natural that the expression is validated, received, valued and even rewarded. However, like many social concepts, the phrase is ill-defined, misaligned, misjudged, and mis-practiced quite frequently in the world we live in today.
Expression is not just a process of communication. It is a very critical initiative to get results. The expected outcome of an expression could be trivial, mundane, role-specific, or could have broad social, organizational, national or even international implications.
Each expression has the power to generate emotions, thoughts and actions of any degree, as conceived by the expressor. Choosing to speak out is one of the greatest initiatives one can take to trigger, verify, experience or measure consequences. It is not very difficult to understand that one can express oneself through multiple mediums, interfaces and intermediaries, because the expression does not have to be just verbal. However, the choice of the most effective means of expression is very critical to achieve the expected results of the action.
The rise of social media has pushed the concept of communication and expression in inorganic ways by a phenomenal and unprecedented leap. Any peaks that are unnatural, organic, and gradual usually come with serious risks and challenges, which need to be mitigated. Expression is no exception.
In particular, young people around the world face serious challenges in understanding the concept of “expression”, its limits and consequences. However, this phenomenon is not limited to young people, but to the entire spectrum of human enterprise at work.
I think it is a fundamental necessity to gain clarity and understanding on the expression, before deploying it with clear objectives. Below are some critical variables in play to understand and avoid dangerous pitfalls when expressing.
Expression is not a zero-sum game
Every word, phrase and sentence you express is judged. Every form of expression you say, write, sing, paint or perform defines who you are and where you act from. Today, many people, regardless of their age, gender, roles and occupational ranges, engage in “insensitive expressions” in private, public and social contexts. If you measure and assess the appreciation or depreciation of your “self-expression value” before and after these insensitive expressions, you will certainly realize that expression is not a zero-sum game.
Expression triggers serious consequences
Expression in any setting, whether casual or formal, has implications. If you consider that your expression is not judged in a casual setting, you are wrong. It is in casual settings, especially most people are judged on the basis of what and how they express their emotions and thoughts without hindrance, this assessment can go a long way in determining your positive and negative results in formal settings.
I know of many instances where the callous expression of an individual in a relaxed setting has led to a huge missed opportunity for life. The consequences of formal and informal expressions are quite serious, both positive and negative.
Young people need to understand that their callous expression may not seem to trigger huge consequences in the early stages of their lives. However, a repetitive pattern of action over a period of time through callous and unwarranted expression can create an ineffective communication habit, which can eventually lead to serious consequences, as one becomes an adult.
Expression builds reputation
An individual’s reputation is built over a period of time. There are people who are loved and worshiped for their expression. The people around would like to be in their company, listening and learning from every word, phrase and phrase they say.
There are “careful expressors” who pick and choose expressions and effectively differentiate expressions in personal, professional and social contexts. They tend to operate out of empathy most of the time – aware of the content, vocabulary, precision, tone and tenor of their expression. They earn a reputation of great value because they appreciate their expression.
There are “reckless expressors” that seem to run off of “I don’t care how you feel” – some are even proud and proudly label their rude expression as “straightforward”, “downright honest” and even “cool”. However, most of them cannot accept the same style of expression when they are at the reception. Almost all reckless expressers face contempt, invalidation, disrespect, contempt and negative consequences throughout their phases of life.
Frigidity of expression
There is a growing trend among young people, especially those who are increasingly addicted to electronic gadgets, who do not need much to express themselves. If these people get water, food, and gadgets fully loaded with Wi-Fi, they seem to have no interest in interacting with the world outside their bedroom. It can be parents, siblings, neighbors, friends, classmates, or even teachers in their virtual or real classrooms.
“Zombies,” as they are labeled, lack both emotional, physical expression, and well-meaning conversational skills. This frigidity which is carelessly dismissed by themselves, parents and teachers as “age-related”, “the normality of adolescents” “will eventually change” and “this is how we / they are” establishes a dangerous precedent and builds an incompetent stereotype of young people.
If you are not learning an effective method of expression during the developmental stage of your life, when would you be? an icy expressor cannot turn into a super effective expressor once grown into an adult, in fact, the expression can deteriorate further.
Expression is life. The right amounts of expression in any form exhibit congruence of emotion, thought, and action in an individual of any age group. Healthy expression reflects the emotional health of an individual. All of your expression mirrors and defines who you really are.
I firmly believe that “if everything is important, nothing is really important”. Individuals who cannot communicate consistently and eternally on slippery slopes of expression tend to end up hurting themselves or others on a regular basis.
Individuals who feel the need to express themselves constantly, even when there is no context or need, lose the value of their expression and their expression is bracketed as “nuisance value”. The expression in moderation accentuates its value and arouses the anticipation of the receivers.
Those who cannot control their expression and express themselves consistently, clearly show their inability to deal with their emotions, thoughts and actions. It is quite important to note that any “unwarranted expression is devalued”.
In conclusion, if an individual, family, society and nation do not understand and value the power of consistent expression and promote healthy expression at all levels, the degeneration of these human blocs is a certainty.
(Author is BJP chief spokesperson / organizational strategist)