Show Notes for S2E4: Self Expression & How to Create a Home that is Uniquely You

Hey there! Thanks so much for tuning in today!   We are still in season 2 and that is all about personal growth.   And what does personal growth have to do with having a healthy home?  Well I believe that there are areas of our life that contribute to our overall wellness - and that exercise and eating healthy alone won’t fix all these areas.  And because we live in our homes and we spend so much time in our homes, it’s important that we understand how our home environment can support all the areas of our life, because I do think that our homes can be so much more than just shelter from the cold.  Our homes are an expression of ourselves and our family values.  It’s a place where we get to relax, put up our feet and just be ourselves.  It’s a place where we can invite others in and build relationships and share pieces of ourselves with others.  So wouldn’t you want that place to be healthy too?  Wouldn’t you want to know how we can use the space around us to promote wellbeing?  Well, that’s what I’m talking about in this podcast, so if this is your first episode, I hope you will check out the other episodes, because there really are so many ways we can improve the health of our home so that it can support family wellbeing.  So thank you so much for listening!  Today we are still talking about personal growth - which is one of the major categories that I believe contribute to overall wellness.  Health and Relationships being the others.   In this series we are going to touch on 6 different areas - we already touched on creativity and spirituality, so today we’ll discuss self expression, steps we can take to encourage self expression for ourselves and our family members and then we’ll see how our home environment can support that area of our lives.  So this is going to be a great one - let’s grow!  

Hey there!  Welcome to Blooming - a healthy home by design.  Today we’re talking about self expression.  and I believe that Self Expression is all about our deep desire to feel heard.  We are all unique individuals and have unique abilities and talents to share with the world.  When we are little kids we know this!  We say things like look at me!  Look what I did!  And depending on the responses we’ve heard throughout our lives, that desire could have been developed or secretly tucked away deep inside us.  If all we’ve heard was don’t do this, don’t do that, you can’t think like that, or that won’t work, or that’s a crazy idea, as kids we begin to learn that our ideas don’t work and we need to just follow the rules of society and not share with others our ideas or worse we tell ourselves we don’t have good ideas.   And even if that is you and you think that you aren’t unique, I’m here to tell you that you ARE!  Your very deepest desires are within you, and if you take a moment to  listen to your heart, it will lead you to finding out what you are naturally amazing at doing and how you can share that ability to help others.   So that’s why I bring this up, because Self Expression is an area of our lives that really is important.  If we go through our lives feeling like we are just getting through the days and no one listens or appreciates us, life can really feel flat and uninspiring.  We can start to tell ourselves that what we have to say isn’t important and that is No bueno.  And think about how amazing your kids are!  Yet there are so many teens who have loving parents, but yet they are insecure or they don’t know what they believe in or what they are good at.  It’s important for us as parents to encourage creative thinking and even if kids have crazy ideas to compliment them on their creativity so they don’t stop imagining.  I did an episode a couple weeks ago on creativity so be sure to check that out if you are interested.  But, this isn’t new information here.  There are so many inspiring songs and life quotes that tell us to express ourselves, to be ourselves, and to find out what you believe in and stand up for those beliefs.  So I wonder why so many of us feel that we can’t express ourselves?  I think that it’s because speaking our truth is really only part of the equation.  Because if you are speaking your truth and no one listens or cares, it can be very discouraging.  Really what we as humans long for is to be heard.  And so how do we get people to hear us?  That’s the really tricky part right?  And I’m definitely not the expert in this area because you can ask my kids and my husband because I’m really still working on this, but for many years the way I would get people to hear me was to just talk louder.  And it’s really taken me years to realize that yelling or just saying the same things louder doesn’t really work.  In fact yelling  makes people run the other direction - they won’t want any part in hearing what you have to say, and they probably will either dig in with their position and yell back, or say “your right” just to shut you up and then they will retreat having heard nothing you’ve said.  So how do we get people to hear us?   It’s a bit of reverse psychology because to get people to hear us, we have to start hearing them.  We have to be good listeners ourselves.  We need to start being interested in other points of view and encouraging others to speak their truth and to really listen instead of thinking of what we are going to say next.  That’s actually a statistic I heard and I don’t remember what the percentage is, but most people aren’t really listening.  They hear the first few words and then their mind goes right to thinking of a response or a story to tell next.  And believe me I am still a work in progress in this area.  The word Listen is one of my words for the year.  I went to this great goal setting session at a retreat and we had to figure out our goals and define ways on how we were going to achieve those and then set 3 or 4 words that resonated with us that were going to be our words for the year.  and LISTEN was my number one.  Listening will lead you to more connections.  it opens up opportunities for growth because when you listen you may hear something that is a problem for some else and maybe it will lead you to being able to helping them with a solution.  And for some reason I’m much better when I’m with my friends,  It’s much harder with my family for some reason.  Which is so crazy because these are the people i love the MOST!!  But  I find that for me, I get into the bad habit of reacting to situations that I don’t agree with and say what I think immediately and then get frustrated when my family doesn’t understand what I’m trying to say.  So instead of asking questions, I resort to talking louder and then it’s a big mess.  So believe me, this is an area of my life I am working on for sure.   

So what are some steps we can take to encourage self expression for ourselves and our kids? 

  1. being open - to hearing new ideas and listening to others without judgement 

  2. offering collaborative learning environments where people are encouraged to be creative - and there is no judgement - just a brain dump of ideas - will lead to solutions that everyone is happy with 

  3. getting quiet within yourself to really clear your mind  - and then start asking yourself a few questions:  what do you really want?  what is your purpose here on this planet?  what are you really good at that you can share with others? 

  4. encouraging your kids to think of asking these same questions for themselves 

  5. being appreciative of others - if you want appreciation / you need to appreciate others first and let them know you appreciate them!

  6. being grateful.  - having a thankful heart immediately improves your mood and your positivity and you feel much more compassion for others.

  7. write in a journal - practice every day using your words to express how you feel and what you are grateful for, what your desires are and what actions you want to take that day that are leading you to reach those goals. 

  8. encourage dance, art, music, writing, or any other form of creative expression that your child is interested in

  9. allow your kids to dress however they like (given that it’s age appropriate and occasion appropriate) 

  10. have your kids come up with the games to play or the go walk in nature and allow them to take photos, or have kids make a video documentary of themselves and their friends, they can learn to edit it and play their own movie for the family.    

When you can start taking little tiny baby steps towards finding self expression, I promise you will start on an incredible journey of self discovery and the whole world will open up for you.   

There’s a great article in Psychology Today that I read that is great. It talked about how kids from different grades participated in a school project called Children’s World.  They all brought art and stories from their own lives and weaved them into one large story.  It was a very creative project where kids from all different ages worked together to weave in all of the individual stories into one big story.  And here’s what they said - “ we did a follow-up study, looking for possible connections that might show the impact of the projects on the children’s emotional, social and academic development. We found a positive impact from the few years we did the Children's World projects—a direct correlation to the number of children who were accepted into top universities, measurably more than in the years before or after.”    That’s pretty cool that just by getting to be ourselves, listening to others, collaborating, speaking our truth and having a creative outlet actually improves emotional, social and academic development!  So I’d encourage you to read the full article it’s a good one.   There's another good one in Positive Psychology that goes really deep into self expression and it’s importance. It explains how self expression is a vital piece of the puzzle that leads to fulfillment in life; it allows us to be our best selves, reach our full potential, and make valuable contributions to the world we live in.  this article has a bunch of other ideas on how to encourage self expression within your family so it’s also one I would recommend you read

Ok so now we are at the part where we talk about how our home can become a place that encourages self expression.   When decorating your home you can design your spaces in a way that is uniquely you! Here are some tips to help you get started: 

  1. Display favorite photos of your family in your home

  2. Display art and objects that spark joy or have sentimental value Use color psychology to promote specific moods and energy in different rooms throughout your home - i did an couple episodes on colors #5 & #7 so go and check those out if you haven’t’ already 

  3. Start looking on Pinterest and create a board of your favorite room scenes - Categorize them by room and fill up the boards with at least 10-20 images.  When you have lots of images to look at you will start to see a pattern emerge that is the style you are drawn to.  This should give you lots of inspiration because you’ll start to notice what your “style” is.  Model that style by adding similar accent pieces in your home.  Pillows, throws, and small accent decor are a great inexpensive way to change the whole energy and style of a space for very little expense and it’s a great way to add those accent colors to enhance your mood.  Here's a link to my boards for some inspiration.

  4. Don’t go into one store and buy matching sets of furnishings and accessories or your home will start to look like a showroom lacking your unique style.  

  5. Do shop at several stores and piece favorites together.  If that seems difficult, there are cool apps available now that help you design your space visually - Here's a great article that has 10 amazing apps to help you decorate. 

  6. Allow your children to decorate their rooms with their own art, have them help select the colors for their walls and the bedding.  You can always give them several choices to choose from so they feel like they’ve helped design the space.   

you start to personalize your space with colors and accent pieces you will feel so much more at home in your space, because it’s reflective of you and your self expression.   I hope you enjoyed this episode!  I do hope this helps inspire you to start searching for ways you can be more of yourself at home and create a place where your kids can express themselves too!  This will give them so much confidence and is a sure way to being a successful and happy adult.  Have a great week!