What is is about yourself that makes you so scared, and so ashamed that would go and hide it an any length?
The one thing that you have thought you have succeeded in forgetting to the point it will return to disturb and haunt you yet again in some moment, unexpected.
I know you have it in you, because deep down its in each and every one of us, its just placed under a different name.
Probably yours is called an affair that you had hope will never re-surface, a childhood memory, the nagging guilt that just won’t go and fade away, or maybe an extremely obsessive habit that you are trying so hard to keep it under control.
Possibly it’s that gnawing sense of blank empty feeling in your marriage or even your sexual identity.
Whatever it is that is scaring you and makes you wanna run away from, trust me, you are not alone.
You’re maybe wondering am I so sure. Well, I know because I , myself ran away from it too.
I am 31 years of age and I spent the first 20 years of my life desperately trying to convince myself and my loved ones, my family that I was surely heterosexual.
I was so afraid of being gay and very much ashamed of my feelings, that I seriously thought I was weird and not normal. The fact the I had grown up and was raised in a certain culture where even if the thought came to your mind, it was already a huge sin, added to disgust and shame I already felt for myself.
So what do you do when you’re the only girl in a Religious Filipino family and everyone looks to you to be the daughter who gets married to the perfect man and have a big family of your own and possibly being the torch bearer?
You suck it all up and find a man, get married right? Well that’s how my mind was working so I dated guys and dreamed of having a big wedding and having little kids of my own. Not the happiest I’ve been in my life. (Not saying that men are bad. just not my preference)
Long story short, I had a difficult time running away from it. Finally at the age of 25 I broke down, I couldn’t take the hiding any longer. I spoke to friends who cared and learnt a lot about myself. I let go of the feelings that made me feel ashamed, then slowly, painstakingly, had became whole.
And what i want to say to you is, you, yourself can also do it too. regardless of how much it scares you, the only way you are going to find peace is if you face it. If you don’t, it will someday find you at your worst moment and you may regret it, just like I have, not having to do it sooner.
So now your mind is thinking, “What if, MY situation is something that nobody would understand? What if it is so horrible that if I were to admit it, it could possibly destroy my life?”
Believe me, even if your impulses are the scariest, or what you have done is so horrific, the burdens of having to hold it and carry it with you secretively will most probably kill you faster than the actual pain of having to admit and seek for help.
It is because your fear is a lot more soul crushing than the actual situation that you are afraid of.
Today, begin your healing process, using this guide as your steps.
The Beginners Guide to Face Your Fear or Shame
1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE
This was a huge eye-opener to me. When fear or shame takes over, it starts to create this invisible bubble around you, which makes you feel different, feeling alone and even unable to connect.
After all, everywhere you go, everybody seems to be so “normal”, right? and you are stuck living in this world, full of people who are normal who live normal lives, making you feel isolated, feeling like nobody even likes you or even understand you if they knew about your secret.
I completely understand the feeling, I lived plenty years thinking that way too. But its all a lie.
Whatever it is you may be fearing or ashamed of… You are not alone.
This world we live in is huge, and each and every story, each impulse, every single thought of fear, is also being experienced by tons of other people too.
And you want to know something else? Someone, a person you admire most likely carries a secret as well of their own, and could possibly be jealous of what they think is your seemingly “normal” life.
Normal? there is no such thing. Even appearances are deceptive. We all are human beings and there is no reason for you to pretend that you are not.
It’s not the impulses that is separating you, it is what and how you choose to do it with.
Which brings me to the next guide in this lesson.
2. Find a decent and good therapist
“Fit” is significant in therapy. And there are so a lot of ways to find a decent therapist who is considered a good fit for you.
Ask help from your PCP (Primary Care Physician) for any referrals.
Dial up your health insurance company, explain your struggle in very specific terms then ask for the names of professional providers who work with such issues.
If you have any friends worthy of trust, ask them for guidance, advice, help.
Be open to any sort of trial and error.
Ask for a “consultation” first, that way you can both assess the right “fit”
During your consultation, make sure you ask the therapist about their views on topics that are important to you; such as religion or cultural norms or parenting styles or sexual identity issues etc; (The worst thing that can happen is with you working with somebody for such a long time only to find out that they’re an atheist while you, on the other hand are deeply religious or possibly, vice-versa).
At the same time, try to be open to being challenged on your own thoughts. That is where the growth will come from.
It is not necessary to spill the beans right at the first meeting. Get to know the therapist and get a feel of how good he or she is as “fit”. Ask questions like “What areas of specialization or what “type” of therapy they are trained in.
Never ever lie to your therapist. It’s entirely okay to say “I don’t want to talk about XYZ right now”, rather than telling them a lie.
Once you have begun working with your choice of therapist, be as consistent and open as you can be.
3. Come clean with those who are affected
Through your struggle with the “situation”, if you have drawn in other people in any way, get help from your therapist to come clean with those involved. Gathering courage, when I finally spoke to my then-mother about my true feelings, it was both the hardest and also the most liberating thing I had ever done. And it helped me respect myself again. She was definitely not happy and I know I have hurt her. But I felt free.
Don’t let your fear take away your integrity.
4. Live in the moment
During those long lonely nights and days in between all your therapy appointments, you will be alone with yourself and with your thoughts.
Within that time, the thing that I found most supportive was to stay and just live in the moment. It may sound simple, but can be also very hard to do, especially when your mind is so busy churning out a thousand worries and ongoing emotions.
Learning to stay and live in the moment has been life saving for me. Keep in mind… every day I am still learning.
5. Constantly remind yourself that what it is you’re doing does take a heck of a lot courage.
If you decide to face your inner struggles and to better yourself, you are incredible and even God will tremble before you. (Well, I would believe so)
I am not joking. It is much easier to face anyone or anything exterior, than it is to really look within. What it is you are doing is rare, and it is beautiful. And even though the road is long, narrow and hard, it will lead you to peace.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
6. Do something that gives you connection and pride
This isn’t no 100 meter dash run, it is very much a marathon. And just like a marathon, it’s very important to nourish yourself along the way.
What do you most like about yourself? What is most important to you? What kind of activities make you feel needed and connected? What are you good at?
At the crossroads of these 4 questions, is the activity that shall nourish your soul.
For me, it was getting myself in photography and design and even writing blogs like this.
For you, it may be taking your nephew or niece to the get ice cream every week, or helping out at the local coffee shop, or reading to people in a retirement home care or writing a book.
Whatever it may be, push yourself to find it. And once you find it, make it a essential part of your life. Self care is fundamental to this journey.
So yes, there you have it. A simple few steps or guide to help you in facing and defeating that nagging thing that is scares you.
You definitely deserve to feel alive. You very well deserve your peace. And you are worthy of being understood and being loved.
Right at the very end of it, you will look back at your life story. Make your looking back moment be with pride.
Be brave. Feel like Goliath. Go onward and eliminate your fears. Burst your invisible bubble and go feel alive again.
I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT.
… Now, I should very much listen to my own advice. 😛