Permission to Be Yourself
Just because you do not fit the standard mold of a gay male, doesn't mean you need to change to try to cram yourself into a wrong fit. Isn't it time you give yourself permission to just be yourself?
When we think of a typical gay male, our mind takes us to all the stereotypical images we see from all the gay movies, magazines, websites, of a young, tall, handsome, male who never looks a day over 25. Almost all gay males spend all their time working to maintain this image or to achieve this look.
Of course this image doesn't represent the whole gay community. It doesn't even represent the majority, it represents the few who have the genes, the metabolism and the youth to keep it up. In time, we will all get older and we all have to face what life has given us.
I have tons of clients who struggle with this exact issue each day. I receive emails and questions from gay men stressing about their looks and fitting in. I figure it is time I share the solution which will save you all from all this work and allow you once and for all to put this topic to rest....STOP DOING IT!
Stop doing it? YES! Stop trying to fit in based on standards set by gay society and start being yourself! Wouldn't it be so much easier to accept yourself for who you are than to keep trying to fit into a mold that wasn't meant for you?
Here is where I usually share tips on how to put this into action but not this time. Instead I am going to share stories with you, my stories. Instead of talking about people in general, I am going to talk about myself and share with you my struggles and how I overcame them.
Age- I turned 30 this year. I really had no problems turning 30 because 25 was really harder than 30 for me. When I turned 25, I noticed for the first time I was no longer part of the young crowd in the gay scene and people pointed this out. Online profiles would state they only wanted to talk to people between the ages of 18 and 24. I was too old to audition for many of the reality shows I watched. Even older men would ask my age and when they found out I was 25, seem offended and walk away because I was TOO old to be talking to them. It was a wake up call that parts of the gay community worshiped the youth.
Hair- I am losing my hair. Yes, at 30 I am thinning. My granddad was bald, my father is bald and my brother is bald. There is no luck for me. It is in the genes. I did not notice I was losing my hair until others started pointing it out to me. Not my friends or family but dates, people online, or random people at a party. Their comments were not rude but were simply, "I do not know what I would do if I was thinning like you." or "I am lucky I will keep my hair unlike you."
I am also Italian so I may be losing the hair on my head but since the age of 18 I have had hair on my chest. Not a lot of hair but there is hair there. I remember going to a pool party where a guy commented about the hair on my chest and how he was lucky to have been born smooth. I didn't know why smooth was better but apparently it was because everyone there seemed to be born smooth by the way of shaving cream and a shaver in the morning shower.
Masculine- I would not call myself masculine. Even at 5 years old, you knew I was not like the other boys. I have always been myself and being tough or rugged wasn't on the list. I grew up being bullied in school and called a fag before I even knew my own sexuality. I was picked on because most of friends were female and I did not play sports. I dressed, cleaned and was part of the drama club. I was a target for every closeted football player and gym teacher in the school. I would cry myself to sleep some nights wishing I would just be normal like the other boys. Why couldn't I just be like all the rest.
Then I grew up. I am not talking about age but in life. Life teaches us tons of lessons and grow along the way. What I noticed was I was allowing others to judge me and allowing their comments to affect my own personal self image and thoughts on myself. I could spend tons of money, training, time, tears, anger, etc on trying to fit the mold they created or I could break the mold and just be myself.
Fitting into the mold may seem easy but you never will truly fit. There will always be something more or less you could do to fit it better and unfortunately, it will never be enough. Or you can finally accept yourself for who you and just be who you are. Doesn't that sound a lot easier?
There are three simple steps to support this process:
- Permission - Give yourself the permission to be yourself. Stop judging yourself against others BUT on your own personal standards and goals. Be the person YOU want to be, not the person others think you should be. Ask yourself: What do I love about myself? What makes me happy? Who do I want to be? What motivates me?
- Support - Find people who love you for you. This is easier than you think. There already in your life so that is not the problem. The problem is letting go of all the people who don't need to be there. A lot of times what upsets our self image is the people we surround ourselves with. Take an inventory of your life and decide do you truly need these people in your life. It is not about quantity but about quality. Friends accept you for who you are because you accept them for who they are. Friends don't try to change you.
- Happiness - This is the last step to keep in mind. When you are making choices in your life base them on your happiness. Don't be afraid to ask yourself, "Am I happy?" or "Will this make me happier?" I think you will amaze yourself on how much happier your life will be by making choices based on your personal happiness and not trying to fit in or please others.
I know one article is not going to change your life or solve this problem, but I hope it will move you in the right direction, make a difference and start you thinking.
I would love the conversation to continue. Please share your personal stories of acceptance of who you are and how you are breaking the mold in the comments below. Maybe we can already start to support each other in a positive way. :)
Michael Moniz is a life coach focusing on the LGBT community. His practice helps others
with self-image, communication skills, self-leadership and setting and achieving goals. Check Michael's website for more information and to schedule private consultations.
Do you have a question about how to improve your life? Send an e-mail to [email protected]