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How can Behavioural Science Help your Inside go Outside

Introduction

Each human being is unique, sometimes one might even be different on the inside and on the outside. The way someone self-expresses is sort of the picture we have from that person - it is how the person goes “outside”. Self-expression comes naturally to some but not to others and can be influenced by factors such as the individual personality and even someone’s culture. Behavioural science can give some interesting and more complex understanding about letting our feelings go “outside” in the way we imagined and want them to.

What is self-expression?


Self-expression is divulging who you are, and what you believe in. It is something personal, which means that it is different for everyone, and can be expressed in various ways, such as behaviors, emotions, thoughts and so on.

As it is something individual, not everybody expresses it with the same intensity, and some don’t even express it at all. In order to be self-expressive, one must be willing to be transparent and open itself, which doesn’t please everyone, and may even be difficult for some.

Why is it important?

According to neuroscience, self-expression is one of the main mechanisms for people to link and grow with each other. It makes it easier to understand ourselves and help us process our emotions. There is often the feeling and the pressure that we need to conform with society, however an experience proposes that it is advantageous for people to have their voice heard, and to express their opinion, beliefs and who they are. In addition, self-expression is notably important for the development of the capacity to relate with others and to engage in profound relationships.

Culture and Self-expression


Indeed, we all relate self-expression with positivism and happiness. What we are forgetting is that the world is not uniform, in the sense that the very notion of the self is defined differently across cultures. There are cultures where the independent self defines a person as unique. In the other way, the interdependent view of the self defines the person as a primarily relational entity that is fundamentally connected and influenced by its social surroundings. It is not a surprise to anyone when we say that society defines (directly or indirectly) literally everything about us. We are born, live and die, and in this process we acknowledge things that build up the person we are. You can say that you are lucky because you were born in a society where self-expression is or not a pillar for its normal functioning, but in the end, it all depends on the ancients traditions. You see, right and wrong are relative. Here we don’t consider the “ceteris paribus” as in Economics (the famous “keeping everything else constant”), but the fact that each culture “has its ingredients to make the best soup”.


Showing your inner self with behavioural science

This matter is entirely related with behavioral science’s goal: try to understand why people (you) do what they (you) do. When your feelings want to “get out of home”, it often does not come out the way you imagined, and that is perfectly normal. Behavioral science will not teach you how to do it (otherwise the world would be boring), but better, to understand the “why” behind it. You will only be capable of sending the message you want if you know the content of that message.

Communicating with yourself should be the first thing in the communication process but, as we all know, that does not happen. Why? Because we are human beings, and human beings only realize the mistake when it is already done. Joking apart, this inner relationship is the image that the other person sees when talking to you, although the majority do not have the eye to realize that. The communication process here is only you to you. Ask yourself: “Are you ok?”, “How was your day?”, “How did you feel at that moment?” and so on (but please, don’t do it out loud on the public transports). You can interpret this like a mental journal. When your inner self is not the same as what you show to people, it gets into conflict. This conflict can be about what you thought you wanted (because you did not have that conversation with yourself), and this is influenced by society itself. Don’t ever forget what YOU are about.


Wrapping up


In the end, we all realize that life is a process, where the inputs are the values and beliefs that each society transmits, and the output is the uniqueness of each human being. We often try to be better each day, even if it is a tiny change. Self-expression can be seen differently over the world, but the main point when studying it or talking about it is about our inner self, and the importance of being honest with what we want and feel. This is not an easy process but, after all, what is easy in this life?

Authors:

Catarina Chambino & Natízia Oliveira

Minimalism Made Simple. 2020. A Complete Guide to Self Expression. [online] Available at: <https://www.minimalismmadesimple.com/home/self-expression/> [Accessed 18 November 2021].

Kim, H. (2021). Culture and Self-Expression. https://www.apa.org. Retrieved 19 November 2021, from https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2010/06/sci-brief.

Glaser, J. (2021). Self-Expression. Psychology Today. Retrieved 19 November 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/conversational-intelligence/201602/self-expression.

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