The feeling of pride is one of the most powerful representations of the joys and pains of fully embracing one’s identity as an LGBTQ+ person. For any person belonging to this vibrant community, they know that no one wakes up one morning suddenly feeling a sense of pride for who they are—far from it. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, pride is forged from the pains of shame, rejection, and fear. Pride is earned and is the outgrowth of vulnerability and the risk of being oneself.
For some people, the development of pride occurs naturally over time. Through the experiences of becoming more involved in the LGBTQ+ community, coming-out to family and friends, and engaging in romantic relationships, feelings of shame transform to pride and self-love. However, for many others, the path to pride and self-love is not as easy. The thought of fully embracing one’s identity, hopes, and desires seems painful or wrong. For these people, life is something to be watched from the sidelines rather than fully lived in and embraced. However, deep inside all of us is the need to belong and the need to know who one is.
For LGBTQ+ people, this path to self-discovery and self-love is possible through a therapeutic relationship that deeply attends to the challenges of growing up in a family, community, and society that were unable to fully develop and affirm one’s sexual and/or gender identity. For any identity or sense of self to develop and be strong, it needs the love and affirmation of others. It needs to be seen and know that it is worthwhile.
One of the most profound challenges that LGBTQ+ children face is that they are born into heterosexual and non-trans families. They are alone with their identity with no role model to look up to or parental figure to affirm the sense of ‘otherness’ that is felt by these children. Further, these children go to schools where they face further ridicule and ostracism by their peers for their innate differences. Shame is pervasive and the essence of one’s identity—it’s personality, talents, humor, and liveliness—is stunted. There are profoundly legitimate reasons that many LGBTQ+ adults struggle with self-love and struggle with a feeling of wholeness—for most of our lives, we never got what was needed.
For LGBTQ+ people seeking a more deeply satisfying life—a life in which pleasure is not found outwardly but lives inwardly, a life where one feels calmness and security in their actions and sense of self, a life where one can proudly live the life they want and obtain the things they want—I encourage you to reach out to me to learn more as to how talk therapy can help.
Pride, self-love, and fullness of life are possible.
You can discover who you truly are—not who you think you should be.
You can take the risk to be you.