When I was younger, I remember feeling a sense of guilt and shame surrounding my identity. I felt off, as though I didn’t “fit in”, and most of all, I felt as though I had no place to go or feel safe. Society often places us in a box, where we can only play by its rules, which leaves us feeling unsafe, insecure and unable to truly accept ourselves for who we really are.
For those who don’t know, I proudly identify as “gay”, which however represents only a small piece of the person I am today, despite the fact that society tends to emphasize almost exclusively on this part of my identity. I am also a human, a father, a husband, a son, a friend and a brother.
Throughout my life, I have learned that it is not my responsibility to make someone agree with me or believe in the same values and principles as I do, but rather, to live life as authentically as can be. It’s our lifelong obligation to work towards defining our happiness, all while showing the world WHO we are and not what we think our world wants to see.
Please join me as I establish by virtue of three special tips what true self-acceptance really means. Obviously, this is not the only way, but it’s what has helped me lean into my magic thus far:
- Tip Number 1: Understanding proximity
This has helped me along my journey to profound self-love. When I imagine the world, I see us all on a path forward, which is why I do not dwell on the past as I understand that I cannot control what has been told to anyone before me. I can control my actions and my story moving forward, but never can I change the past. My parents lack of understanding had nothing to do with me, but all to do with their lack of awareness and proximity to people who identified the same way that I do. What kept them somewhat connected with me despite the lack of understanding was the fact that I remained their son after all. Keeping this familial bond in the back our minds is what allowed us to work together to gain a better understanding of one another regardless of what perceptions society had imposed on us. Although my parents and I were both brought up with the idea that being “gay” was not “normal”, over time, we managed to overcome said outdated mentality and now our relationship is better than ever. I have finally found a safe place surrounded by love and support. However, if you are going through this now and you are not being understood by your loved ones, seek a room where acceptance is around, as love and support will soon follow.
- Tip Number 2: Self-Love
When we navigate our lives through this broad world, it’s our job to do the work. What I mean by this is that we must seek help to reclaim our freedom and ultimately understand that WE are worth it. Each and every one of us is special, unique and one of a kind. The moment I took myself seriously and started on the path of accepting myself, my surrounding world was able to lean into what I had to say and offer. It allows you to clearly identity your proper rules of engagement. It allows for passion and opportunity. For growth and understanding. When we lead with self-love and self-worth, we realize that being authentically YOU, anything and everything is possible. The right people and the right opportunities will align, and your world will be clearer than ever.
- Tip Number 3: Lead with LOVE
We can’t control someone’s reaction, but we can control our response. When you lead with LOVE, you are allowing for compassionate conversation to happen. After all, when we don’t know something, we tend to lead with fear. Leading with fear is the space where conflict lives. Seeking knowledge is what creates opportunities. Remembering that you have control over how you lead and how you respond, allows for amazing growth and conversations to happen.
To cap off, I leave you with these few words: if you are feeling alone, seek support. If you are afraid, reach out to someone you know will have your back. The power is inside you. You are a magical human who was put on this planet for a greater purpose. Remembering that when someone doesn’t “understand”, the problem stems beyond you but is rather linked to their lack of knowledge and proximity. And most of all, never forget, YOU have a friend in me.