For many of us before and after coming out, we become fixated
with seeking acceptance from family, friend and even strangers. We look for
confirmation that the choice we made to be ourselves in the open was the
"right" one or, at the very least, worth the effort. Our fear of
rejection leads us to overcompensate with needs of confirmation and excessive
Unchecked, we are in danger of collecting
affirmations from our family and friends like sea shells saved in a bowl where
they sit just in case we need them. This is great in times of duress, but we
can become dependent on that acceptance when we don't start self-soothing.
Otherwise, we come out and wait in silence for others to respond, then link the
response directly to our sense of self-worth. If affirmative, we hug with power
to move forward. If they throw us under the bus, or sometimes literally out in the
streets, we squash any
sense of self-esteem that led to the action of coming out.
Although family acceptance can give us strength to
overcome life's obstacle against our identity—as research shows—when we look to
others to approve of who we are we give our individual power over to them. We
hand them the keys to our self-worth. In this way they get the power over how
we view our identity, when it's us that have come to realize who we truly are.
In any other societal, cultural and political
situation, this sort of power shift would be deemed oppressive, inhumane and
worthy of revolution or public outcry. As we've seen with recent international
turmoil, each individual is entitled to care for their own sense of power and
purpose, not authoritative interests that determine peoples' significance.
The same holds for our personal identity as LGBT
people. Our voices are ours and we have a right to carry them how we choose, as
long as we do not infringe on the well-being of others. In this case,
well-being does not mean being 100 percent comfortable with a person's
identity, but respecting that we each have boundaries that internally protect
our sense of self.
Don't get me wrong, acceptance helps (big time!),
but real freedom and self-assurance comes when we hold our own power of
self-acceptance. When we do this we develop our own moral codes and sense of
what's good and bad for us. We come out not on the schedule of our family and
friend's comfort, but in our own time. And when we wake in the morning and
decide to tell others of our identity, their answers are just icing on a cake
that's already been loved and accepted.
SOURCE: GAY LIFE