Thursday, July 7, 2011

Three Questions for Those Who Can't Accept Themselves

Recent posts I received from Aries Boy still have me thinking about how to help gay men, like him, and lesbian women accept themselves.  

So I came up with these three questions, which I hope will get you to think, in slightly different ways, about the challenges you face on your journey to self-acceptance.

At the very least, please give these some thought.  Even better, write me a comment (or send me a personal email) and share your answers.  I bet something you say will help someone who feels the same way.

Question #1:

What is the worst possible thing that could happen if you accepted yourself as a gay man or lesbian woman?  

Question #2:

Is the reason why accepting yourself as a gay man or lesbian woman a challenge for you because:
     a).  you're unable to?
     b).  you won't?
     c).  you don't know how to?

Question #3:

What would have to change for you to accept yourself as a gay man or lesbian woman, and do you have control over it?       


  1. Shit, no comment on that one.. Forgive my language, I'll try to write with something to make it up.
    #1 - I dont really know but for sure something terrible! I guess my world will fall apart. First I will stop existing, because gay people dont exist. I have seen some on tv or read some writing in the internet, but this is not reality right? I have a couple of gay friends though, just guys. Why did they choose to be with other guys? Strange idea! Maybe to fill the diversity quotas... Anyway, they belong to another world, where guys are not really guys and girls are not really girls. When I was a kid, I was preparing magic potions so that I can become a boy. But I grew up. And I dont believe in Santa anymore; he never came anyways. So accepting to be gay would be like flying to Neverland: I will be able to get some girls, which sounds pretty cool, but what if I wake up after that? And I realize I spent my life dreaming, but never build anything real? Like a family or a house or a company. True stuff you know, grown up stuff. I have ever imagined my life married with a woman, but as I really don’t like myself at the moment as a gay person, I would not like her either. I don’t see that coming. Looks a vicious cycle, maelstorm type. And for sure I will get draw in there.

    #2 - a) Yes - I am trying right not and i can tell you, I cannot imagine me a gay woman. I can realize very accurately that I would like to be with a girl, but since I am not a man, end of the story... At the end I cannot imagine myself either as gay or a woman so it is gonna be difficult. A few beers might help over here!
    b) Well, I haven't! And it's been quite a long time already... Ok maybe for this one I'll give you a hope (I am saying you but I am talking to myself, I hope you don't mind!) Along the last years I have tried very hard to make sure I would never have to "accept myself as a gay person" I got a long-term boyfriend, I tried my best and was on the edge of success... but those things come after you and I assume I will go through it at some point.
    c) Exactly! I don’t have a clue! Should I stick a paper inside my head "Smile, you’re gay!" ? No really, if anyone has a small practical tip here, I would be glad to hear it!

    #3 - I would be tempted to answer the same as 2b), but there is a word that came to my face quite abruptly in this question: Control. Do you think I have any control on anything in my life right now? I cannot decide who I am attracted to! Why did I have to break up with my awesome boyfriend? - He was awesome, trust me! Why do I die whenever I see a hot chick at a party? I didn't choose that! The only way I feel I can control theses overwhelming emotions is by resisting to them, which I have done pretty well until now... How is this ever going to help me to "accept myself"? You know the story of the Oak and the Reed? The oak is strong; it will not let the wind bend him, whereas the reed is flexible and always bent over! (Sorry...really!) What do you thing happened during the hardest storm? The oak broke, while the reed got just fine. I'm an oak, I am stupid and proud and I will fight against... myself? This doesn't make any sense, I knew it from the beginning, but I got used to this kind of feelings over the years. I need to take a deep breath, get some rest, and not resist to strong to that upcoming storm. Do a bit of stretching, gain some flexibility over the years and maybe I will get somewhere, someday. Neverland? It would be an awfully big adventure. ;)

    For the records, I am a 27 old girl leaving far away from her country and kind of lost about her sexuality. I hope I won't hurt anybody with my words, I tried not to. Cheers,

  2. Anonymous, thanks for your patience in awaiting my response to your comment. I read what you wrote several days ago and needed a little time to think about how to approach it.

    Living in Canada, being out of the closet for over twenty-five years, and in a relationship for twenty of those, perhaps it's easy for me to say this, but where I saw the answer to this question going was: Unless someone dies as a result of your being gay, then being gay is not as bad as you think it is. And you know what? It really isn't. I can't presume to know the circumstances of every single gay and lesbian person living around the world and reading my blog, but, with the perspective I have on being gay now, at my age, I can tell you it's nothing more than a facet of who I am. Being gay is neither good, nor bad, despite what your family, friends, co-workers, culture, religion, or even you might say. Being gay simply is. As the gay person, you should bring no judgment to being gay. It's time to stop fighting it. If you are gay–which it sounds like you are–then be gay. You might think that being gay will lead to the end of the world, but I assure you it won’t. Many, many people from every corner of the globe have accepted their sexual orientation, and they are getting along just fine. And guess what? You will too. No one is saying there won't be sacrifices. No one is saying you won't possibly lose family members or friends or people who are important to you. But, if you do, on the basis of your sexual orientation alone, then do you really want them in your life? If they truly love you, then they must accept you unconditionally–all parts of you, including your gayness. It's really that simple.

    You may not believe this, but, in most cases, the only thing preventing gay people from accepting themselves…is themselves. Think about that. Sure, other people in your life may not want you to be gay. Maybe they think hell and damnation will befall you because you choose to love someone of the same gender and, yes, even have sex with someone of the same gender. But they are wrong. There are too many gay and lesbian people out there already who have lived openly gay lives for many, many years, and their lives have not fallen apart. The earth hasn't opened up and swallowed them. They are going about the business of their lives in the very same way you are, with the only difference being that they've accepted who they are. They recognized that there is nothing wrong with them because they're gay, and they're right. Nothing is wrong with them. Despite what everyone around them might say. The bottom line is, you can't live your life for everyone else. You only go around once, one time, and you are responsible for living it the very best way you know how. For a gay or lesbian person, that is being authentic according to who and what he or she is. It's only once you live authentically that you will be able to fulfill the purpose for which you were put here. So stop obsessing about being gay, and cut yourself some slack. You are perfect just the way you are, and don't you forget it.

    Please see Part Two, which follows.

  3. Part Two:

    It's obvious you are conflicted about your sexuality (I hear the pain in what you write). Maybe you're bisexual, but, based on what you've written, you're probably a lesbian. So make the shift in your head that that's what you are, and get on with the business of being it. Only you can do that for yourself. We still live in a world where your country and your culture and some of the people in your life will never give you permission to be gay. So you must give that permission to yourself. If that's what you are, then be it. End of story. Stop riding the fence. Stop thinking you must be one way when you're not. The only difference between a gay person who accepts herself and a gay person who doesn't accept herself is a shift in how she sees herself. Start thinking more positively about who you are–all of you, not just your sexual orientation–and you will find self-acceptance. It's there for you when you want it, when you're ready to take it. Take responsibility for yourself. Ironically, you don’t think you have control over this, but only you have control over it. To hell with everything in your life that tells you being a lesbian is wrong. To hell with all of that. You have bent enough to the whims of everyone else (which accounts for why you are so conflicted). Now, you must be yourself.

    My blog is full of posts that would probably do you a lot of good. You suffer from the same thing virtually every gay person does: self-loathing. Well, it’s time to change all that. Take a look at what I’ve written under the heading of “Self Esteem.” Read how I learned to accept and love myself. If I can come from where I did–hating every single thing about myself and believing I was little better than a worm in the garden–then you can too. Don’t delay one more day. Open your heart to what I say. Keep telling yourself you are perfect just the way you are. At twenty-seven years old, you’ve already wasted too much time hating who you are because of your sexual orientation. There’s no reason to let the hating go on. Accept that you are gay, that the sun will still come up tomorrow, and get on with living your life as fully and as authentically and as passionately as you can. The world is waiting for you to be everything you are. Don’t make it wait one more second.

    I sincerely hope this has helped, but there is only so much anyone can do for you. You must do the rest. I hope you see that. Self-acceptance is nothing more than taking responsibility for yourself. It's as simple as that.

    My thoughts are with you. You really can do this. I know you can.

  4. Hi Rich,

    Thank you so much for your answer and also for your work on this website. It is really soothing to read you, and I find your story very inspiring. You are right, I need to learn to love myself as I am. When I saw your questions on that post, I was feeling very tortured as you noticed. I knew -and I still know- the right answers, nothing bad will happen if I accept myself as a lesbian; on the contrary. I am from a very open country and have awesome friends. Maybe a few family members will be disappointed or sad but that really the worse that could happen. The rest is just in my mind and I sometimes feel guilty to make myself so miserable when many people have real problems... But that day I had an answer coming from very deep in my chest, and that pain I feel when I think about being gay, is not so easy to remove. This does not make any sense, it is just feelings. But I am working on it, hopefully better now than I have been in the previous years, and writing down those answers helped me to see how irrational my fears are. I try to read a lot, about other people's experience and I recently was able to come out to a very close friend who's encouraging me to be myself, in order to be happy. Things are moving slowly, but they are moving :)
    Thanks again for your support,

  5. Marine, I'm so happy to hear from you again, and I'm thrilled that you're in a better place.

    I know what it's like. Sometimes, the mind takes over and makes us feel anxious and frustrated, even tortured. But we know that, once we take a closer look at whatever is bothering us, it won't be nearly as bad as we thought, and, thankfully, we'll get through it.

    Ultimately, you got to where I hoped readers of this post would go–that is, when you really take a close and measured look at the answers to the questions I posed, you realize being gay or lesbian isn't the worst thing that can happen to us.

    So much of the fear we experience around our sexual orientation is a knee-jerk, emotional reaction to what we think will happen. But, in actual fact, we'll probably get other reactions altogether, and, in the end, whatever it looks like, we'll be able to deal with. I know, judging from your second comment, you're well on your way to doing that.

    I'm so glad writing out the answers to my questions helped you come to terms with some of the difficult things you were going through. Like I said, the questions were intended to provoke thought and self-discovery. You've proven they work, and I thank you for that.

    I also thank you for all your kind words about my blog. I'm so gratified any time I can help someone like you to discover things about him- or herself, and to take one more step closer to self-acceptance and self-love.

    All the very best, and keep smiling. It really will be all right.