Self Compassion for LGBTQ People
We all grow up hearing “how things are supposed to be” and “how we are supposed to act”. It is embedded into us from our families, friends, and society. And Self Compassion for LGBTQ People is even harder, because after transcending the homophobia experienced growing up and all around us, there is still pressure within the LGBTQ+ community to fit in, as well as society telling you, now that you are out, how to be LGBTQ.
In addition, research has shown that LGBTQ people are more likely to struggle with mental health conditions because of the stress a less than welcoming society places on LGBTQ folks.
All of this living up to the “status quo,” and never rocking the boat takes its toll over time. Trying to meet the impossible standards set by those around us is never a good way to live a happy life. This is where Self Compassion for LGBTQ people is vital! And it starts with the relationship you have with yourself.
It’s often a lot easier to show compassion towards others, but not that simple to show it to our selves. And let’s face it, it is even harder if you are in the LGBTQ+ community because society often hasn’t been kind to us. We are often our own worst enemies. If you struggle with letting your truest, most brightest colorful self shine, know you aren’t alone.
When it comes to accepting our own authentic LGBTQ+ selves and showing up fully as ourselves, many of us still struggle and our worst inner critic often takes over with unhelpful messages such as, “What will they think of me if…” or “If I am myself, no-one will like me”, or “What is wrong with me?”, or “Why can’t I just be like everyone else?” and the list goes on. Below are some tips to becoming the person you were always meant to be.
1. Look To Others
We’re all so different, but we are all still human beings with a right to be respected and treated well. We’re unique people just trying to get through life the best way we can. One of the best ways to begin accepting and showing the best version of ourselves is to look at those we admire.
If there is someone in your community whom you admire, either someone you know, a celebrity, or an influencer…look at their life. They are likely considered different, too, but isn’t that what makes them stand out so much and admired in the first place?
2. Identify Negative Self-Talk
It’s cliche, but it is also neuroscience – we all have an inner critic. That voice that just won’t shut up and tries to tell us about ourselves. It’s that negative voice that never can look on the bright side. To be more compassionate towards yourself, you first need to recognize when this voice is rearing its ugly head. How is this affecting your mood? Your stability? Your Life?
3. Give Yourself The Same Pep Talk You Would To Others
Most of us are great at giving advice, but not that great at following our own advice ourselves. If you are struggling, put yourself in the shoes of someone else who is, preferably someone you care deeply about. What would you tell them, if you were sitting across from them? Then, truly, take your own advice. Say the same message to yourself and act on that wisdom!
4. Find Support Groups
One is the loneliest number. When you are seen as different, especially if you are in a minority group, it is hard. This is one reason that self compassion for LGBTQ people is a kind of super power. While it can seem as if no one gets you or understands what you are going through, self compassion is a key to feeling good within yourself and self compassion doesn’t have to be only a self to self interaction.
This is where others can help. Depending on your area, you may not have this luxury, but try to find other people within the community. Online, especially during Covid-19 is a great way for you to connect with others who know exactly what you are going through and dealing with. Asking others, how they have developed self compassion for themselves is a great idea. They can be “life cheerleaders” who are cheering you on and boosting your confidence and self compassion.
5. What Makes You “You” Is Special
For those who identify as LGBTQ+, what makes you yourself may not have always made you feel special. To be more compassionate towards yourself, think of all the positive traits that are admirable regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Think about your beautiful heart and your gifts to the world. Then, be proud of who you are and share your beauty with the rest of humanity. Humanity needs you to be you. So do your best to be proud of who you have become and who you are in the process of becoming.
6. It Takes Courage To Be You
It’s not easy to be vulnerable with others. To show the world who you are, no matter your identify. But, it is courageous to show your true colors (Go Cyndi Lauper!). It takes tremendous strength to show your authentic self, regardless of what others may think.
If you are at the beginning of your journey of coming out as LGBTQ+ therapy can help you make progress sooner rather than later. Having a supportive and trained Gay Therapist can make a big difference in helping you to take, find and express your courage.
And for that, you should be incredibly proud.It may not always be easy to be different, but, at the end of the day, you are who you are. Stand proud. Stand courageous. Be kind to yourself. And please become the rainbow you were born to be. The world needs your beauty more than ever.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the USA and an Accredited CBT Therapist in the UK with over 15 years of experience. I specialize in life transitions and teaching the tools of self compassion for LGBTQ+ people. Click to learn about Counseling for LGBTQ + people and Therapy For Gay Men. I have received advanced specialist training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy. Please feel free to contact me at my Honolulu or London clinic to set up an CBT Therapy Test Drive or to ask any questions.