The Many Apprehensions of Coming Out, and How to Deal with Them
Coming out doesn’t always go as planned. We tend to plan on doing it for years and as time goes by, it begins to feel like a burden. It feels like being trapped inside somebody else’s body, your thoughts getting tangled, a knot building up inside you. It feels like the closet is too small; small for all your feelings to fit in. Small, for all these thoughts you want to get rid of but you can’t. It feels like the walls are closing in on you and if you don’t come out soon, it will all end up in absolute chaos.
But that’s where we are wrong. We shove ourselves into our own imaginary closet of thoughts because we think we won’t be accepted like everybody else is. We are scared of getting shunned and hated by everybody. We are afraid of the never-ending ‘what if’s?’. I remember how scared I was when I came out to my mother. My ‘what if’ was so irrational that I don’t even know how it crossed my mind. We were in a cab going out for New Year’s Eve when I told my mother that I was bisexual. I was so scared that I thought she would push me out of the moving car. I wanted her to accept me so bad that I made up tons of horrifying possible ways in which she could react and ended up making myself all the more paranoid than I was before. She asked, “You’re not a lesbian, then?” and I explained to her the difference between being a bisexual and a lesbian and she understood. She told me that I would be her daughter come what may and she will always love me, irrespective of who I am or will be with.
We tend to crave general acceptance so bad that we never think about how we should be completely okay with ourselves first and focus less on winning everybody’s approval. We have to accept ourselves for who we are and our choices first, and only then, if at all, start to worry about what others think of us. The acceptance we crave should begin from ourselves. We should own the way we choose to live and love ourselves wholly. Self love is always a good first step. When we start loving ourselves for who we are, we get less paranoid or anxious about what people might be thinking about us. The only thing that matters in the end is whether you accept yourself and whether you are happy.
Self love. We always read and talk about it so casually. What is self love and how does one take a healthy step towards it?
For starters, self love is when you look at yourself in the mirror and feel good, positive about yourself. It’s when your negative ‘what if’s’ turn into positive ones. You start to enjoy your own company and don’t necessarily need anybody else’s validation to feel good. It’s when your mind is happy and so is your soul; happy about things that make you, you. Once you start loving yourself the way you should, your mental health will start improving gradually. Positive thoughts take over the negative ones and your self-confidence increases. You feel less self-conscious about yourself. Self love is a big step towards better mental health which we often neglect.
A Healthy Start to Loving Oneself
The first and foremost step towards self love is forgiveness.
Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for whatever happened in the past. It happened, holding onto it won’t make it any better. You may be what you are now because of your past. It may have helped you, shaped you into being this wonderful self that you are now. Forgive your past self.
Distance yourself from people who won’t help you grow.
People who help you progress, mature and grow, people who help you strive better and make you be a better version of yourself are the people to be around. Toxic people will only make things worse for you. Distance yourself from them. They will only bring you down. Trust me, they are not who you need right now. Take a break.
Believe in yourself.
You cannot be the one person who brings you down. Don’t be harsh on yourself. Believe in yourself and in everything you do. Believe that you can do anything you want to if you put your mind to it. Believe that whatever you do, you will do it for good, and that it is okay to seek help at any point.
It is important for one to accept oneself. Look at yourself in the mirror every day and say this to yourself: “I am who I am and I like it. I like who I am becoming and I am proud of myself. I have accepted myself for who I am. I matter. My thoughts matter. Everything I do matters.”
A few simple steps as these go a long way in protecting you from letting yourself down into the worries of coming out, and even otherwise.
Nida Hanif is a Blogger at One Future Collective.
Featured image source: GLSEN