If you have recently “come out” you are probably feeling confused and lost as you try to adapt and adjust to life as a new gay man. Perhaps you recently ended a marriage, have children and are now dealing with living alone. You don’t believe that you need psychotherapy but you want support as you move into your new life. I can assist and support you through the process for a successful transition.

Transcending Homophobia

The surge in anti-gay bullying and violent attacks on gay men is quite disturbing – particularly in New York City where diversity and tolerance is the norm, recent random attacks are hard to comprehend. Moreover, the rise in suicide among gay teens is truly heartbreaking.

How do these events affect us as gay men and what can we do about it?

For many, these incidences can re-stimulate past hurts and struggles of being bullied, harassed or discriminated against for being gay. Further, hearing about anti-gay attacks in places we deemed safe can instill fear, causing us to withdraw and hide our true selves from others. But we must not succumb to our fears or absorb the hatred and prejudices of others. We need to be strong and stand proud of who we are.

All of us have internalized many negative voices about our sexual orientation throughout the years. If these thoughts and beliefs remain unconscious they can lead to disastrous consequences as we have already seen with the recent adolescent suicides. These conflicts can also inhibit our lives and keep us from living more fully.

Does internalized homophobia prevent you from asserting yourself in the workplace? Does it keep you from engaging in a love relationship for fear of being “perceived” as gay in society? Has it eroded your self-esteem causing you to feel that you are just “not good enough”?

Self-awareness, self-acceptance and loving yourself are the keys to freedom from this negativity. Loving yourself can be difficult when you have limiting and derogatory messages still playing in your unconscious mind. Most of these messages were absorbed and recorded during childhood. You may still be influenced by the beliefs of your parents, teachers, religious institutions, and others that were drummed into you years ago. What beliefs are you still holding onto today? Are they serving you or harming you? You can start to change negative thoughts and beliefs by increasing your level of self-awareness and by learning to love and accept yourself more each day.

As much of a cliché as it sounds; the most important person to learn to love is yourself. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Find ways to love, nurture and support yourself. Do things that bring you pleasure. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Find positive role models and if you need assistance seek out support – talk to a trusted friend, family member, therapist or coach about your experiences. Join a support group at your local GLBT Community Center. Do not isolate or give in to thoughts of self-hatred, depression and suicide. You deserve so much more and your life can and will get better with each new day. Remember! Time does not stand still – whatever troubles you now will not last forever. No matter what’s stopping you from believing in and loving yourself, there’s a way to overcome it. You first need to identify what’s causing your self-doubt. Is it fear, insecurity, mental attitudes, or something else? Only then can you face the obstacle and overcome it. Most importantly, work to eliminate internalized homophobia and learn to love your incredible gay self!

As Featured On EzineArticles

How to Let Go of the Past and Move Forward in Your Life

In order to live a full and complete life, we must learn how to let go of past failures and disappointments and not carry them with us into our future.

Hanging on to pain, bitterness and disappointment from a past conflict is a heavy burden. It affects your moods, attitudes, relationships, job and all aspects of your life. Negativity eats away at your self-esteem and destroys any possibility of a life free from pain.

Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Your future doesn’t have to be a repetition of your past. You don’t need to be destined to a life of pain, regardless of what you’ve already been through. You can lay down your burdens. It’s okay for you to be free. In fact, you deserve it!

These five steps will help you move forward and find the freedom you need to begin living a fuller, more enjoyable life, regardless of what lies in your past:

1. Deal with it. Discuss your past pain, fear, disappointment or trauma with a trusted friend or family member. Fully express the feelings associated with the situation: cry, scream, or do whatever you need to do to release the bottled up emotions in a safe way.

Until you really talk about the feelings connected to your past, you may not be able to move past them. Once you’ve spoken the words, release them from your mind forever. As hard as it may be, it’s the only way to free yourself from your past.

2. Use a journal. Writing in a journal is an excellent way to pour out your pain. A journal offers the safety of knowing your words are just for you and won’t be read by anyone else. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or even if the words follow a logical progression, simply write from the heart.

Physically writing your thoughts and feelings can free your emotions so you can release them.

3. Seek forgiveness. Many people misunderstand the meaning of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what happened to you is unimportant or you’re saying it’s “okay.” In fact, forgiveness isn’t about the other person at all.

Forgiveness simply indicates that you’ve made the choice to let go of the desire to exact revenge and punishment, and you’ve found closure within your heart and soul.

Forgiveness releases you from the burden of carrying the pain any longer. By choosing to forgive, you can stop thinking about the past so it won’t control your future.

4. Seek professional guidance. You can choose to get help from a life coach or therapist.

The people closest to us aren’t always the best choice to help us work through our pain. It may be difficult for us to fully open up about our deepest pain or it may be hard for them to step back far enough to help us through it.

Seeking guidance from a professional gives us the safety of relative anonymity, which can make it easier to share our problems. Often a coach or counselor can help us see a new point of view, which can help us move forward.

5. Use alternative therapies. There are many techniques you can use to help change your mindset, which can be instrumental in leaving the past behind.

One method, known as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), uses the principles of acupuncture (without the needles!) to help you take the “charge” out of your feelings. EFT is done by tapping with your fingertips on the meridian points in the upper part of your body.

The tapping sequence, combined with verbally expressing your feelings, helps break up the blockage of energy caused by the negative feelings, allowing you to release them.

Hanging onto past negativity isn’t necessary. No matter what your history contains, you can learn to release it and move forward into a life filled with contentment and joy. Find a method that works best for you and begin, today, to let go of the past and move into the life you deserve!