When people talk about coming out they usually mean opening up to people about their sexuality. But, lifelong coming out is how it actually works.It’s a process that continues as we live our lives and move into new situations with new people. The good news is that is does get easier.
Hiding as a Theme in Our Lives.
For men who are gay, bi, or wherever you might be on that spectrum, coming out is a theme. Because of pressure from society, family, peers, and religion, you learned to be shameful of your sexuality and to hide it. But it isn’t the only thing that you hid in that closet. Anything that you thought might rock the boat, make other people feel uncomfortable, or make you feel weird, was hidden too.
You learned hiding as a powerful coping strategy. It’s a tactic that many of us get really good at it. Some people use it throughout their lives. Hiding doesn’t have to be reclusive. People can hide in plain sight. They use elaborate masks to disguise themselves that are so well integrated that no one really knows the person behind them. Just because someone’s an extrovert doesn’t mean they’re not hiding.
Coming Out Isn't Just About Your Sexuality.
That’s why I treat coming out as a life-long process that touches every area of your life, and every aspect of your being. Coming out is a human process, anyone can benefit from discovering things that they keep hidden and setting them free.
While you hide, your closet fills up with skeletons. Each one represents something you’ve been keeping from other people, or maybe even yourself. You may think you’re done with your process, when in fact, you’ve just skimmed the surface. Everything that lurks in your closet is robbing you of energy, depriving you of joy, and keeping you paralyzed with fear.
As you start to let some of your secrets out, things you’ve hidden from yourself become apparent. Slowly, all of them will show up to be dealt with. It feels like something’s up, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. If you explore for a while you’ll start to understand what the issue is. It can be challenging to see things you don’t want to. But embracing them is the best way to find happiness and fulfillment.
There is a Path to Freedom.
My work with gay, bi, and questioning men has shown me that it’s possible to find peace and happiness. It’s a process I like to call “Getting Real”. Strip away all the layers. Get everything out of that closet. Then you can discover what will really bring you the amazing life you’ve been searching for.
It’s really up to you. One important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it alone. Men tend to resist getting support. But, reaching out for help doesn’t make you weak. It makes you smart. Some perspective, a shoulder sometimes, and a good swift kick at others, might be just what you need. The road ahead can be bright if you’re willing to “Get Real”, and dare greatly.