Have you ever felt shameful or rejected yourself for being gay?
It's easy to fixate on blaming others for these experiences and feelings. In moments of shame and rejection, you're not attending to the places of woundedness by blaming others.
I recently had the honor to meet with Tara Brach who's an international mindfulness and meditation teacher. She teaches compassionate souls like many of us in the gay community to wake up our hearts and minds to free ourselves from the suffering we've faced from oppression.
Tara Brach is the author of Radical Acceptance and she wrote this book because she used to be radically rejecting of herself.
Common issues amongst gay men include shame and rejection on various levels. Tara herself went through similar experiences of shame and rejection in her own life and had to find a way out of her own suffering. She found that the practices of mindfulness were the best answers to help heal and relieve suffering.
Watch our entire interview here:
Mindfulness can wake you up from a trance.
You may have experienced rejection from your community or even from close friends and family members in certain scenarios. Tara tells us that the only way to heal is to find strategies that turn suffering around because we have a tendency for self aversion.
You're either going to buy into your basic goodness or buy into the message of your badness. You can make the commitment to loving and healing yourself. You can unconditionally accept yourself just as you are and trust your goodness and worthiness.
You can send kindness and compassion to the places that were hurt.
Place one hand on your heart and say "It's ok sweetheart."
You can keep company with the wound and then you won't be the oppressed individual but you'll be the compassionate presence and the holder of that vulnerable being. You need to forgive the places of yourself that are aggressive, addictive, and self centered by forgiving your imperfections.
Imagine you see a dog in the middle of the woods and he lunges out at you. First you're frightened, defensive, and angry but all of a sudden you realize he has his leg in a trap. Then you shift. Instead of being mad, you shift to kindness. You wouldn't behave with anger unless you knew you were trapped yourself.
You need to dedicate yourself to trusting your goodness. Carl Rogers says "It's not until we accept ourselves that we're free to change."
The compassion that you hold to yourself is your true self.
It's natural to feel anger and blame but always find a way to move beyond the anger and send kindness back to yourself. Come back to reminding yourself of your value.
Have mirrors of people around you that trust in your basic goodness and make this the center of your life. Be a mirror for others, see the light in others and remind others of their own rightness, intelligence, and creativity.
All of the shame and suffering you experience is not entirely your fault. It's the conditioning of many lifetimes but you don't need to blame others to heal yourself.
When you forgive yourself, you can forgive others. Remember three things: remember to forgive others, don't blame others, and bring healing to yourself, over and over again.
When you begin to include forgiveness to the oppressor, you change the patterns of the world, and begin the healing of the world.
It's critical you dedicate yourself to loving and healing yourself. You need to offer healing to yourself, and to begin to heal yourself by placing one hand on the heart and say something compassionate to yourself.
You also need to receive energy from others too. We're not good at receiving because we have many parts of ourselves that have been pushed under, wounded, and violated.
Max DuBowy is a best-selling author and the Chief Peace Officer at Your Success Launch where he teaches gay men how to heal and transform suffering into self-acceptance, love and confidence. INSTANTLY DOWNLOAD A COPY OF HIS FREE SELF-ACCEPTANCE CHECKLIST.