Expression: Risks and challenges

Expression: Risks and challenges
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Expression: Risks and challenges

Highlights

All personal, professional and social outcomes are possible only with expression.

All personal, professional and social outcomes are possible only with expression. Especially in a democracy, it is natural that expression is validated, received, valued and even rewarded. However, like many social concepts, 'expression' is mis-defined, mis-aligned, mis-judged and mis-practiced quite frequently in the world we live in today.

Expression, is not simply a process of communication. It is a very critical piece of initiative for achieving results. The result one expects out of an expression could be trivial, mundane, role specific or could have large social, organizational, national or even international implications.

Every expression has power to drive emotions, thoughts and actions of any degree, as designed by the expressor. Choosing to express, is one of the biggest initiatives one can take to trigger, check, experience or measure consequences. It is not very hard to comprehend that one can express through multiple mediums, interfaces and intermediaries as expression need not be just verbal. However, choosing the most effective medium of expression is very critical for accomplishing expected action outcomes.

The rise of social media has pushed the concept of communication and expression inorganically by a phenomenal and unprecedented leap. All spikes which are not natural, organic and gradual generally lead to serious risks and challenges, which need to be mitigated. Expression is not an exception.

Especially, the youth across the world are facing serious challenges in understanding the concept of 'expression', its boundaries and consequences. However, this phenomenon is not limited to just youth, but to the entire spectrum of human enterprise at work.

I believe it is a fundamental necessity to gain clarity and understanding about expression, before deploying it with clear objectives. Below are some critical variables at play to understand and avoid dangerous pitfalls during expression.

Expression is not a 'zero-sum' game

Every word, phrase and sentence you express gets judged. Every form of expression you say, write, sing, paint or showcase, defines who you are and where you are operating from. Many people now a days, across age, gender, roles and professional spectrums indulge in 'callous expressions' in private, public and social settings. If you measure and evaluate the appreciation or depreciation of your 'personal expression value' before and after those callous expressions, you will certainly realise that expression is not a zero-sum game.

Expression triggers serious consequences

Expression in any setting whether casual or formal have implications. If you consider your expression is not judged in casual settings, you are fooling yourself. It is in casual settings, especially most people are judged based on what and how they express their unhindered emotions and thoughts, this assessment can go a long way to determine your positive and negative outcomes in formal settings.

I know of many cases where one's upfront callous expression in a casual setting has led to a massive missed opportunity for lifetime. The consequences of both formal and informal expressions are quite serious both in positive and negative ways.

Young people must understand their callous expression might not seem to trigger huge consequences in initial stages of their life. However, a repetitive pattern of action over a period of time through callous and unwarranted expression can build a habit of ineffective communication, which can eventually lead to serious consequences, as one grows up to be an adult.

Expression builds reputation

Reputation of an individual is built over a period of time. There are people who are loved and adored for their expression. People around would want to be in their company, listen and learn from every word, phrase and sentence they speak.

There are 'careful expressors' who pick and choose expressions and effectively differentiate expression in personal, professional and social settings. They tend to operate through empathy most of the time - conscious of content, vocabulary, precision, tone and tenor of their expression. They earn a high-value reputation, as they value their expression.

There are 'reckless expressors' who seem to operate from 'I don't care what you feel' – some even take pride and proudly brand their rude expression as 'frank', 'bluntly honest' and even 'cool'. However, most of them cannot accept the same style of expression, when they are at the receiving end. Almost all reckless expressors face contempt, invalidation, disrespect, disregard and negative consequences through out their life phases.

Frigidity of expression

There is a growing trend amongst young people, especially those who are increasingly hooked to electronic gadgets, who are finding not much need for expression. If these folks get water, food and fully charged gadgets with wi-fi connection, they seem to have no interest to interact with the world outside their room. It could be parents, siblings, neighbours, friends, classmates or even teachers in their virtual or real class rooms.

The 'Zombies' as they are being branded lack both emotional, physical expression and well-meaning conversation capability. This frigidity which is being carelessly discounted by themselves, parents and teachers as 'age related' 'teen normalcy' 'will change eventually' and 'this is how we/they are' is setting a dangerous precedence and is building an incompetent stereotype of young people.

If you don't learn effective method of expression in the developmental stage of your life, when would you? a frigid expressor cannot turn into a super effective expressor after he grows up into an adult, in fact the expression can further deteriorate.

Expression is life. Right amounts of expression in any form exhibits congruence of emotion, thought and action in an individual of any age group. Healthy expression reflects emotional health of an individual. All your expression holds up a mirror to you, it mirrors and defines who you really are.

Expression unlimited

I strongly believe 'If everything is important, nothing is actually important'. Individuals who cannot coherently communicate and eternally on slippery slopes of expression, tend to end up hurting themselves or others regularly.

Individuals who feel the urge to constantly express, even when there is neither a context nor a need lose the value for their expression and their expression is bracketed as 'nuisance value'. Expression in moderation accentuates its value and drives anticipation from receivers.

Those who cannot control their expression and express with coherence, clearly showcase their inability to manage their emotions, thoughts and actions. It is quite important to note that all 'unwarranted expression is devalued'.

In conclusion, if an individual, a family, a society and a nation doesn't understand and value the power of coherent expression and promote healthy expression across board, degeneration of these human blocks is a certainty.

(The author is the chief spokesperson of BJP / an organisational strategist)

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