Learning About Feeling Confident in my Expression Through heART

by Amber Goodwin, Merchandiser, Goonellabah, Australia

When I was little I was always freely expressing, I loved to make sounds and tones, and sing. I loved to move my body, music or no music, I loved to play and make things with not a thought on ‘how it would turn out’… my heart had something it was feeling confident to express and I loved this feeling.

However, after a few knocks here and there I began to believe the harsh rules, conditions, expectations and beliefs that were placed on me and I began to squash my own expression so as to not upset anyone else … and in doing so I have held my natural expression back, which has felt crippling for me ever since.

I had an experience recently where I took up the offer to do some art with Rosie’s ‘Expression through HeART’ art class. I needed a mask for a masquerade ball I am attending so that’s what I decided I’d make.

I googled a few mask pictures to get an idea of what I liked and found one that I loved. I took myself shopping to find the materials I wanted to use, and whilst I was looking at options of material, I found it hard to make a decision. It had to be exactly like what I saw in the picture, and for a fair price. Soon I became quite tense as I was taking too much time. I then realised I had to just be practical and take what would best suit and move on to the next thing. However with each item, this feeling of not being confident, of being afraid that I’d not get the right things and end up with something that wasn’t right, kept coming up. After two hours it had become a somewhat painful experience!! However, when I looked in my basket, I loved what I had ended up with – feathers, pearls, gems and lace. Wow! I thought, even though that was a bit of a struggle I really love what I have chosen.

The next morning I arrived at the art studio where I was shown to the space I could set myself up, and the textiles I could use. I took my time to settle and set up my area. I got everything out and ready but found myself hesitant to start. I felt exuberant about making something but felt tense and uneasy about how to do it… I was so afraid of making a mistake, or doing it wrong, or ruining the materials I had paid a lot of money for.

I started with preparing my mask, which needed to be stripped of its existing cover. I began to struggle with peeling the glue off, becoming more tense and pressing on it harder and harder until I accidentally snapped it clean in half! Well, that made me stop!

I sat back for a moment, I felt so tense… I thought to myself “what is going on with me?”, “nothing should be this difficult”, “why is this such a struggle for me?”, “I need to come back to myself”.

I brought my awareness back into my body; I felt the tension in my arms and shoulders and chest and noticed my breathing felt constricted. I took some deeper breaths and then let them go, and allowed my breathing to become more gentle; I got up from my seat and moved around a little to allow the flow back into my body.

I wasn’t going to let the fact that the mask broke stop me, and thankfully I managed to superglue the mask back together and continue.

The next part was gluing the material on with the hot gun. Now this was a somewhat tricky task as the glue dries fairly fast and the material can be a little flimsy.

Once again I began to tense up and feel awkward and uneasy about how to do it, not knowing if it was going to turn out right. At this stage I was well and truly over feeling this tension so I asked for some help. It was suggested to me to try the glue out on a bit of cardboard first, so I did and felt a little more confident as I now understood the way the glue worked.

As I continued with each step I felt the tension rise, but I also kept choosing to stay with me, to feel my body and my breathing and to take one step at a time. I found that as I stayed with me I was feeling more confident as I went along and I started to feel a little more adventurous and ‘freer’ in what or how I might do the next thing.

With this I began to realise that I had been so incredibly hard on myself, and this ‘being hard’ had been making things hard for myself.

I realised I was still subscribing to the harsh rules, conditions and expectations that had once been placed on me and was not allowing myself to feel what was right for me. But now I had chosen to be in a space where this was not happening… a space where I could let go, take my time, feel how I might do things and be with myself without feeling I needed to change or do or be something different to meet others’ demands and expectations: in this staying with me I could feel a lovely-ness and an allowing in what I was doing, and I started feeling confident in the choices I was making.

A beautiful conversation opened up with the women I was doing the art with and there was an openness that felt lovely. One woman then began to sing, and we so naturally joined in and all began to sing and gently move to the music that was playing… I felt like I was five years old again except that now we were beautiful grown women – it felt amazing.

As I completed I began to see and feel that what I was making was actually truly magnificent! I became tense because for a moment I thought “after all that fuss I wasn’t allowed to love what I had made”; but there it was, staring me in the face, (pun intended) this beautiful, delicate, feminine and absolutely gorgeous masquerade mask, and not only was I feeling confident but I could see and feel I had made a celebration of me!

Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine

311 thoughts on “Learning About Feeling Confident in my Expression Through heART

  1. This is so often what happens to us as children
    “after a few knocks here and there I began to believe the harsh rules, conditions, expectations and beliefs that were placed on me and I began to squash my own expression so as to not upset anyone else … and in doing so I have held my natural expression back, which has felt crippling for me ever since.”
    I have spent most of my life swallowing my true expression playing the role of the ‘Good’ daughter, friend, sister, work colleague; I have discovered this actually has been a huge hindrance like a ball and chain around my neck. As children we are swayed by other people’s expectations that are placed as burdens on us. Through the teachings and presentations of Serge Benhayon I’m coming at last to the understanding that these ideals and beliefs are not actually mine, this is a stop moment as it now gives me space to discover the real me and what is it that I know to be true.

  2. Yes this being hard on ourselves is such a disruptive set up that is all too easy to fall into. Once we are in the trap and can feel like there is no way out. But is only a choice to be a victim of this cycle that is not true.

  3. “I found that as I stayed with me I was feeling more confident as I went along and I started to feel a little more adventurous and ‘freer’ in what or how I might do the next thing.” – In my experience confidence is something that comes from my connection with my whole body as well, and by bringing my mind back to my body, my posture and the way I’m moving it really does make a difference to the way I feel and approach life.

  4. We are in grained with perfectionism so much in a education that we do not even realise the hard thoughts about ourselves are not even truly coming from us but another energy. Shows how far we have become away from our truth.

  5. Coming from one’s heart is being connected to truth, as you shared by your purchases for your mask – you chose them because they felt true not because you thought they were right – you really loved what you had chosen.

  6. “…’being hard’ on myself was making things hard for myself” – this is so true. We hold such pictures of ideals and beliefs of where we should be at, and it makes it impossible to appreciate what we are actually bringing.

  7. Ah, the tension of those moments where the familiarity provides a priority alibi to not go where we are called to go and the beauty of choosing to go there and of saying no to the familiarity because we saw the trap that it is.

  8. The terrible shame is the stifling perfectionism you describe happens so early in children these days, it is really a sad state of affairs when you see young children unable to express themselves.

    1. That’s so true Vanessa… And the thing is I hear teachers in some progressive schools say this as well that there students… And this is in primary school, are driven by this perfectionism. It is not coming from the parents, it is not coming from the teachers, and this really is what needs to be addressed, talked about, and role models offering something totally different.

  9. When we focus on the outcome it becomes about getting it right or perfect and everything looking the part. If we make things about energy and quality, then it’s a complete game changer. It can be hard to make the shift if you’ve always been focused on outcome as “what if it doesn’t turn out” can easily creep in and drag you back. But if quality of energy is the focus, the ending result is far more complete and holding and the actual result you may have been looking for is a small part of the all.

  10. This makes so much sense, “I began to realise that I had been so incredibly hard on myself, and this ‘being hard’ had been making things hard for myself.” What we are is what we are and in other words if needed is we create what we have by the action we choose. When I read this article and this part I laughed as it seems so simple and straight forward and makes me more aware of what I am doing and choosing.

  11. Your experience is an example of how much force and expectation we generally place of our expression being a certain way and in line with the potential we do feel it can be, yet all we have to do is effortlessly allow it out as it is already there within us to express!

  12. Learning how to deal with our inner tension is so important in life, for if we do not we will carve out a lifestyle to avoid or quell this tension which is not particularly healthy!

  13. ‘…I loved to play and make things with not a thought on ‘how it would turn out…’

    I remember that feeling! It felt so free… And I also remember when it started to turn into trying to live up to my own and other’s expectations. What a burden and a drain… and a quick way to become competitive and ambitious… and from there, doing life in constant push and drive in to succeed and obtain approval and recognition. Far better to feel solid in oneself and go simply and quietly from there.

  14. Amber the description of the women coming together, singing and working, felt very ancient. Perhaps this is what naturally happens when women ‘drop the mask’ of comparison and jealously that we so frequently wear in each other’s company.

  15. Keeping our awareness with our body and breathing is a great tool to alert us if we become tense, or have unease, we then have a choice to be aware of underlying patterns and choose to make loving new choices and movements that support us, as you did.

  16. When we put ourselves under pressure to replicate a picture we have of how something should be or look like, we get tension running through our body, and find it more difficult as we constrain our body’s movements in order to produce what we want, often going against its natural rhythm, and when we allow ourselves free movement with no ideals of how something should be at the end we are able to produce something far better than we could have imagined.

  17. I can relate with having been hard on myself, a pattern i am still choosing to let go of more fully, as hiding remnants can still pop in occasionally. So much more lovely to just surrender to our body and what we are doing in the moment, bringing in appreciation along the way.

  18. We can create a lot of stress for ourselves when we try to do things ‘right’ or to meet another’s approval rather than following what we feel or just know from inside is the way that is true for us to express or do something!

  19. We have become masters of contraction, of letting our bodies shrink and tighten at the first signs of disharmony. Sometimes the fear of disharmony already has us leaving our natural equilibrium and this is when we can consciously care for ourselves by gently bringing ourselves back and staying in the moment and committing to whatever needs to be done.

  20. Amber this is beautiful to read and the simple choice you made to bring awareness back to your body and to not feel defeated by your mask breaking. This happens so often in life when things can get very challenging we want to give up or run and hide, but when we make the choice to commit to whatever task is in front of us it is amazing what can occur when we surrender to this and to feel the power this choice brings.

  21. Expectations are such a killer, and we often place unrealistic ones on ourselves. Bringing understanding, not judgement supports us to appreciate what we can bring and who we are in our innermost. Negative thoughts are a trick to bring us down and not shine and feel who we truly are, children of God.

  22. There is no space within when we bring beliefs, judgement and critique to our movements. It fills us up with what is not us and stops us feeling all that we are.

  23. A great reminder not to take on the ideals and beliefs, hopes and dreams expectations and preferences of others but to come back to what is true for us, to uncover everything that is masking us from who we really are, and in that getting to know and enjoy ourselves again.

  24. This is a great example of how we can sabotage ourselves… and of the power of truly dropping into our body and letting our true expression out.

  25. Gosh it was beautiful to read your blog today Amber. What stood out for me was the contrast between the free creative and natural expression as a child, and the tense, worried and restricted adult facing creativity. This is what human constructed life and all of its systems unfortunately does, it shuts down who we innately are and what we know. How beautiful to feel you opening back up to the wise, free flowing child you were again as a woman!

  26. It is interesting how we allow ourselves to take on other people’s beliefs, ideals, expectations and conditions and then later on in life we get to feel in our body if we so choose the consequences of what we have taken on even though we are grown up adults. The pressure I have placed on myself because I had chosen to subscribe to that which is outside myself has felt overwhelming at times but as Amber has so beautifully expressed, becoming aware of what is going on in the body and being totally honest supports us in letting go of any tension and choosing to lovingly coming back to the body also helps us to surrender to what is truly there and therefore express from our essence within.

  27. ‘With this I began to realise that I had been so incredibly hard on myself, and this ‘being hard’ had been making things hard for myself.’ A very known pattern for me too and reading your way of handling this is very inspiring, how you let go of the protection and truly celebrated yourself and the result of you choosing you, gorgeous.

  28. “With this I began to realise that I had been so incredibly hard on myself, and this ‘being hard’ had been making things hard for myself.” I can so relate to this as being hard on myself also makes my arms harden. Why would I want to do that? How gorgeous that you were eventually able to make a beautiful feminine mask and celebrated wearing it at the ball. I am finding that appreciation is key to overcoming the self-critique.

  29. Lovely to read how you felt 5 years old again, when we let go and go with what we truly feel, it is like being young again because we didn’t then have the inhibitions that we have now. As we grow up we start to feel how the world is set up and rather than get hurt we protect ourselves regardless if we need to or not.

  30. The expectations and pressure we impose on ourselves can be greater than anything from anyone else. Breaking that pattern and appreciating and celebrating ourselves for being who we are is to rediscover the freedom of the young child that is forever within us.

  31. Yes indeed, when we allow doubts to come in, we create tension and anxiety for ourselves. It is realising as you did that it was you choosing to create this and make things difficult for yourself. We can all do this at times, I know I do, but it is a choice.

  32. Thank you Amber for this sharing it really highlights that no matter how we are feeling we always have the power to make a different choice, the way your day transformed for you is a beautiful example of this.

  33. There is an art in how we choose to be. We make it about skills and talent we need to achieve, yet as you show so beautifully Amber, life really is showing us we just need to let things flow. Then naturally what we do is a kind of masterpiece for it will express the harmony that we know in our body.

  34. Sounds like an awesome art class and I like how you have used the experience to deepen your awareness

  35. Amber, you are offering us all a drop of gold in demonstrating how the cycle can go when we are full of expectations about ourselves and have attached various outcome criteria to everything we are doing. But what this does is shut us down whereas your blog also shows that there is a way out of this tunnel through working on connection with ourselves and the task at hand to bring a totally different result. This is a very timely reminder to me as I start out my day, thank you.

  36. A lovely reminder that when things aren’t going to plan, to stop and ask, ‘Why is this such a struggle for me?’ so that we can reconnect to our awareness – and to remember to add, ‘I need to come back to myself’ rather than staying in our self-made tension and hardening of the body.

  37. Trust is an enormous issue in our society, and trust goes to the very heart of all our relationships… It is a very precious commodity, and if we can actually live in a way that we can start to trust ourselves, start to trust that connection with ourselves, not to doubt ourselves, this will bring a clarity strength and presence that engenders trust with those around us, and this can be very healing.

  38. I love how aware you are of the way you feel Amber. It is clear that you are very connected to yourself. Each time you became tense you clocked it and chose to feel what was really going on. This then allowed you to celebrate the beauty you bring. What a great prescription for dealing with anxiousness.

  39. ‘When I was little…..I loved to play and make things with not a thought on ‘how it would turn out’ – Amber this is a fond memory of mine as well, being very young and not being attached at all to any outcome of what I was doing and feeling absolute clarity that what I was doing is what was needed. Now as an adult I have been working on removing the layers that have been getting in the way of this natural clarity and it feels great.

  40. Thank you so much for sharing your process with rediscovering the natural joy you have with being creative Amber and how you recognised the prison of the expectations you placed on yourself and was able to make different choices and come back to your natural flow. I find this truly inspirational as someone who has spent most of her adult life being paralysed by the belief that ‘I am not creative’ and how this has held me back in my expression in so many ways. Love your confirmation that ‘not only was I feeling confident but I could see and feel I had made a celebration of me!’ Here’s to opening up and celebrating me in my expressions.

  41. As a kid I always thought that I was good at art as I received lots of encouragement and compliment, and eventually it all became a pressure to be ‘good’ at it and I was no longer expressing from my heart. Funny how when something natural gets pinned and framed as a kind of form, it turns itself upside down and the end result of expression becomes more important than the expression itself.

  42. Placing an expectation on ourselves holds us in a pressure to perform bringing an immediate tension to our body that we lose the natural ease and confidence we have with ourselves and everything we are with when we stay connected with our heart.

  43. Living by harsh rules, conditions, expectations, ideals and beliefs can be so debilitating, sucking the very life and true nature out of us.
    It is so lovely to read Amber that you were able to stay with you to produce a celebration of you; also to join and have fun with your fellow artists.

  44. I’ve realised today after reading your inspirational blog Amber that it is with taking on new challenges that I get ‘twitchy’ with anxiousness and allow pressure to build up within myself. Those are old patterns of ‘expectations’ and giving myself such a hard time of how things ‘should be’. With what you are so clearly sharing Amber – re-connecting back ‘staying with me’ feeling ‘what is right for me’ just opens up so many doorways of opportunities with no pressure applied. The lightness and playfulness of joy can step right in.

  45. What we thing we need to do or be is so confining, it is a joy to just let go of all ideas of how it should be and others would like to see, and just feel what is needed and just do, not thought just action.

  46. I enjoyed reading your blog Amber. I have always felt crippled as I cannot hold a tune or a pencil. I always loved being around creative people and sometimes felt there was something in me waiting to unfurl. Since being part of the Universal Medicine student body I’m not as harsh with myself as I once was and do find some ways of being creative. It is all in the expression.

  47. When we have an expectation and perceived outcome for something to be a certain way, we immediately feel the tension and pressure we put ourselves under which effects everything we do. Bringing ourselves back in connection and awareness of our body sets a new way to move with ourselves that enables tasks to be completed with ease.

  48. This is so refreshing to read Amber! It’s not often we hear of and read an experience of someone actually truly enjoying their art and not just enjoying what they are doing, enjoying the experience in full from their entire body and being. This is huge!

    1. I agree Joshua, it is gorgeous reading about Amber enjoying her expression and sharing it with everyone. It changes everything making what we are doing about connection to ourselves and others and appreciating and accepting what we have come up with with no harshness or criticism.

  49. it’s when we do start to catch how tension and anxiousness can come into the littlest of things, and how that anxiousness is actually embedded in us, that we have the opportunity to realise where we have ended up, and then with this recognition, if we choose, to start to reconfigure our lives so that we are not always driven, but can start to feel a connection and flow that has always actually been there, we have just chosen not to see it.

  50. Amber I have felt this often. Being hard or ‘self bashing’ leaves no room to reflect and change the choices we make. Your blog has reminded me of the importance of remembering that there is no perfection in any of our actions but the opportunity to simply give everything in life a go.

  51. Amber, you could have given up when you snaped the mask in half! but you didn’t, amazing to feel how you were very honest with yourself about the tension you felt and the celebration you came to.

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