Self Acceptance

Discussion in 'Group Discussions' started by cypher21, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. cypher21

    cypher21 Deactivated Account
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    Hey guys,

    This fourm (and website) has been such a big help for me learning and understanding myself through the different perspectives of such strong, confident, and intelligent gay black men and I just wanted to ask the (loaded) question:

    How did you come to love and accept yourself? Was it something you did consciously or did it just come over time? Were you always like that??

    Right now it's hard for me to be comfortable in my own skin sometimes and it's been that way for a while but I want to start putting myself out there and be more open to new relationships.

    Don't mean to sound mushy or anything, just curious as to how others deal/dealt with this kind of thing.
     
    #1 cypher21, Oct 8, 2015
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  2. acessential

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    It's a day to day process. I feel like so many black gay men are broken because of all the things we've had to face our whole lives. Many of us look for love and acceptance through other men and that's just just a recipe for toxic, needy, and unhealthy relationships. We should really find it within ourselves because at the end of the day, the only person who could make you truly happy is yourself. If someone isn't comfortable with themselves, they're going to poison any relationship they have with someone else.

    I just say fuck the world. I'm pretty introverted, so it's easy. I have a handful of friends and family who care for me. And that's all I need. Whenever I'm facing something difficult or feeling insecure about something, I always think "What's the worst that can happen?" A lot of the time, the worst isn't even all that bad. And even if it, so what? If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen. You can't change that. The only thing you can change is your mindset.
     
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  3. cypher21

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    You're absolutely right, that's what I want to avoid. It's kinda like I don't want to just rush into something but at the same time I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines..but you're right, real happiness comes from within.
     
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  4. Nick Delmacy

    Nick Delmacy is a Verified MemberNick Delmacy Da Architect
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    The first step is letting go of viewing yourself and homosexuality through the eyes of straight family, friends and society. That is often the biggest hurdle...we don't want to "disappoint" others. My favorite is when young people neglect living their lives to the fullest to not "disappoint" grandparents who DID live their lives to the fullest. Its wasted time and a wasted life.

    And also realizing that EVERYONE dislikes something about themselves at some point or another...even heterosexuals...even people with great bodies...even wealthy people...even people who seem to have "perfect" lives. We all face this struggle, sometimes all our lives. Some people are better at handling it than others...some people learn to let go through therapy. But reaching out to talk about it (like you did here) is a good start.
     
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  5. cypher21

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    That line is so crucial. You get so wrapped up in trying to walk on egg shells for other people, trying to make sure everyone else is OK but you forget about yourself while they just continue to go about their lives. I really needed to that thank you!
     
  6. Sean

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    My love of self started at an early age. I've always been a go-getter and have had confidence in my ability to go for whatever I wanted. I was always the smart kid, the class clown and most talented and was relatively well-liked and popular--despite being bullied early on as a kid. But like a lot of black men, I went through (and still go though) my share of shit that challenged my sense of self and my confidence. My first and only relationship with a guy did a lot to add to my self-confidence. He taught me an important lesson about attraction that went beyond just physical attributes, and into character, personality, how one interacts with other people and more. Along my journey, I also befriended a pretty accomplished, handsome and overall remarkable slightly older man (he was like 15 years older) who helped me come into a strong sense of self. Regarding my sexuality, he was the one who told me, "as long as you and God are cool, don't worry about what anyone else has to say." This friend also made a passing comment to me shortly after we met after months of emailing. His words still resonate with me today: "handsome and smart...powerful."

    All this being said, having your own confidence, sense of self and knowledge of your value and worth is very important, no doubt. But surrounding yourself by sincere people who value everything about you and can help reaffirm and build you up is important as well. It is easy to dismiss the world and fuck everybody, but that is a lonely place that most folks--deep down--really don't want to be. Fortunately, the world is big enough for us to seek out a community that reaffirms our sense of self. I think sometimes we overstate the fact that in a society, we can't live in complete isolation and that as human beings, living in isolation/loneliness, is not good for the majority of people's psyche...but that's another topic.

    So yeah, love yourself, but surround yourself by people who love you too.
     
  7. keith

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    I did it consciously. I spent most of my teenage years and undergrad with horribly low self-esteem. Once I got to about junior year in college, I decided that I was going to be open and accepting and to those who couldn't come along for the ride well tough. I know that sounds smug but my parents were accepting so I had that as a foundation. The problem was that I cared more about what external people thought. I was raised to always be viewed as a "decent and respectable" person and to never bring shame to anything you are associated with (family, neighborhood, school, etc) - which conflicted with being attracted to men. This reached a breaking point in grad school and I vowed to never let people have that much power. I literally looked in my bathroom mirror and said "from this day forward I will be open about who I am and let the chips fall where they may". What happened was that I lost no friends and the newer friendships felt much more genuine. Second step was I became affiliated with a group that promoted positive interaction among black gay men. I made some fantastic friendships there and I still refer to the members of that group for a "booster shot" every now and then. It feels good to be around like-minded folk for me. In addition, I also read anything I could get my hands on about living an affirmative life as a gay man. I'm a bit ashamed to admit at 50, I'm STILL not complete but I've accepted that this is my "work-in-progress".
     
  8. cypher21

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    Thank you guys so much for replying it really means a lot to me to read your opinions and personal experiences...makes me realize I'm not alone and it's important to have a connection with people that are going through similar problems and are willing to lift you up and not tear you down..
     
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  9. Tyroc

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    My Mom!
    We weren't always on the same page about a lot of things in life but I always had her unconditional love!
    She never led me to believe I was perfect but I was her perfect son and she always taught me to be whoever me was as long as it caused no harm to myself or others.
    I feel very lucky to have had that kind of love and support and I know that as long as I can look in the mirror (according to some mostly false stories, I do that quite a lot) and feel good about myself then that's all that matters.
     
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  10. African King

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    Hey Keith,

    I read what you said to cypher21 about how you looked yourself in the mirror in graduate school about having courage to be who you are. Please can you tell me more about that. I am in Florida from Texas in a place where no one knows me and I've sought out support from a black gay men's group that has been a very positive experience. I've met so many black gay married couples that are regular guys. I remember when I was going to attend the black gay men's meeting, I thought all I was going to see was shade throwing and flamboyant men. It was the complete opposite for the most part. But yeah how did you go about coming out in graduate school? I am slightly introverted so me being solo most of the time does not make me go as crazy but it would be cool if I felt like relationships could feel like they are more genuine between my classmates (total of 43 of us in my graduate program). Everyone does seem pretty open-minded from what I can see.
     
  11. OckyDub

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    Great responses.
    More positivity please:feedme:
     
  12. BlackguyExecutive

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    Like the others that commented here. Self-acceptance and coming out is a deeply personal process. Emphasis on process. That process can have many stages and steps and that is perfectly ok. There is no one way. Personally, for me, I had a realization that I truly only have one life to live and why not live that life as full and authentic as I could be.

    I will tell you that the moment you start living an authentic life you will never look back, you will be freer to live and enjoy the relatively limited number of days we are given. Why experience that in shame and fear?

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. OhSheit

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    When I was very young I always knew that something was up and I use to blame certain experiences for it because I didn't have an understanding of what I was going through. I was very depressed and did counseling from as early as elementary to middle school. But once I entered H.S. I got involved in extra-curricular activities, acted upon my feelings (horse playing lol) and learning about what "gay" was through the internet/youtube videos my depression went away and I just stopped giving a F.

    Nowadays I'm comfortable enough to tell you that I'm gay if you ask. I never lied about anything, never had a girlfriend in H.S., never pretended like I was smashing bitches, nothing. My sexuality is still not questioned by my closest friends or some of my family which is funny as hell to me. However, I'm still in the process of self-acceptance and I'm not always happy or comfortable. I came out to my mother three years ago and that was a disastrous week but she suddenly "forgot". I came out to my younger sister last month and since then she's been bugging me about getting a man. But I'd rather it be that than "Hey Girl, we can go shopping now!" or some bs. I would never come out to the males in my family, especially my father who is Jamaican. I'm making progress though!
     
  14. African King

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    That's what's up. At least you got fam encouraging you to date. My parents are Nigerian and they wonder about me engaging in relationship. I spoke to my mom last night and she still doesn't know and she suddenly asked about why I am not in a relationship with any girl in my class. I used the excuse of school as my main focus right now. How convenient. lol. but it is getting tiresome to do that.

    No one has asked me if I am gay here but I think that if someone would ever just happen to ask me then I may just tell them. I gotta stop giving a F to grow and move on with my life. I gotta start living my life just like how my parents are living their own.
     
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  15. OhSheit

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    Oh wait, those still come up every now and then with (female) friends and that's the classic answer. It sure is.

    I still live at home and I commute so the fam is nosy as hell. You on the other hand should be out there doing you! It's not like they'd know or find out. It's not like I'm sneaking off to wear a dress or anything but I know there's no burden when I'm at school.
     
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  16. African King

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    Oh yeah I am doing me....somewhat lol. I checked out Wet Bar Miami before things got serious during second semester just to see what the hype was all about. I've attended meetings with black gay men at Pride Center Florida to meet more people and I've gained mentors in the process. I just have not had time to date or do the relationship thing because this graduate program is VERY rigorous. I know that I take a lot of time to myself in between classes, studying and hitting the gym. I will think about dating but then I wonder how will I fit it in!
     
  17. G Ron

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    It was a long process, which included lots of therapy. I don't see how any Black, gay man (or is it, "gay, Black man"? LOL) in today's world can get past the constant beat-down we've taken from family, friends, the media, the community (both Black and otherwise), the Church, etc., without the help of a good therapist (a real, licensed therapist, that is). Also, sometimes it helps to get mad- once I realized that some members of my family were embarrassed of me, yet were accepting family members who were ex-cons, unwed parents, thieves, and hypocrites, I decided that I was too pissed off to be ashamed anymore. Lastly, coming out was a scary- but ultimately freeing and healing- experience.
     
  18. Kouncelor

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    My experience has been interesting. I've always known that I liked men and women (but I do prefer men, bigtime). Personally, it really didn't become an issue for me until college (I didn't date until then). I used to feel like id didn't matter, and I don't really have to choose. However, in college, when the pressure to "choose" became too much, I actually came out.
    After college, I met a woman and dated. My gay friends said "You just don't know what you want". My reply was that that labels just don't work for me. I'll accept love from whomever it comes from. And that has been my consistant truth today.
    After moving and ending that relatinship, I started dating men again and then a women, who I ended up marying. I was never secretive, nor did I ever try to hide my gay friends.
    Many years later, that marriage ended.. and not because of a need to be with a man (so don't get it twisted). However, at this point in my life, it would have to be a VERY special woman to make me go back... . and I say that with a bit of humor and a bit of truth.

    Over the years there was so much pressure from the straights to be straight.. and so much pressure from the gays to be gay.
    In the end, I just decided to be ME... and keep them mofoes guessin...lol
     
  19. Cyrus-Brooks

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    It took me a long time to fully accept myself. Look back 20 years to when I was 18 I was in complete denial. I didn't actually start having sex with other men until I was 21 even after that I was still in hiding. I did come out at 25 and that was very difficult my mom stopped speaking to me for a month. At that point I was seriously considering committing suicide I'd even planned out how was going to do it to make it look like an accident. I did patch things up with my mom and some other members of my family but that still left an impression on me. Like some others the whole dealing with family and society just made me angry. I was in the armed forces at the time and DADT was still in effect so I still had to watch my back. I didn't fully start to deal with and process things until my 30s when I got into therapy. For me being in a stable relationship with someone who had similar experiences and had already unpacked these issues also helped.
     
    #19 Cyrus-Brooks, Nov 11, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
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  20. Kouncelor

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    @Cyrus-Brooks and @G Ron , I am glad you shared your stories and talked about therapy. Taking care of our mental health is as important as taking care of our bodies, especially when it comes to Self Acceptance.
    As peoples of color there is a stigma against mental health professionals. As black men, we need to let each other know that it is a good thing to seek the support of a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.. and there is NO SHAME in that. It was therapy/marriage counseling that helped me realize that the relationship was broken, I couldn't fix it on my own, and it was time to move on before I became a statistic.
     
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  21. Dante

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    I wasn't straight (or pretended to be) or did the things that straight boys/teens did, so I was not part of the "in crowd" (sports, date/have sex with girls), hang around a lot of guys, etc.). And with the pressures of other kids and their perception of being gay through the eyes of the obviously-feminine, Rupaul, Diana Ross "I'm Coming Out" gay kids, It was quite stressful from the 4th grade to the 8th grade. But once I turned 14 I was like "Forget It" and just didn't care. I had the strength to ignore some other male teens and their thinking I was gay or thinking to try me like I wouldn't whip her ass. And still to this day, I look back with so much pride doing that.

    Self-acceptance has to truly come from not allowing the external things around you to dictate your life, as well as not being able to value you and to love yourself. If it takes moving away from those things and even crossing people out of your life, for the sake of you and you living your life, get the pen (not the pencil) and start crossing them and/or those things out.
     
    #21 Dante, Nov 11, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
  22. cypher21

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    Thank you all again for sharing your experience it's an invaluable resource to not only me but others out there that might not even be members of the site.
     
  23. BlackExcellence

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    Yo I have two good friends that their mother "forgot" they came out to them I didn't know this was a thing!

    As for myself and my acceptance process like others its been a looonnggg road and I'm still on it. I've known I was attracted to guys since I hit puberty but coming from a small rural area and town thats a no go. So for years i attempted to date women but it never really felt right/worked. Nor did I ever have a serious relationship with a woman. After I came back to Maryland for grad school a frat bro invited me to a gay function for the first time and that was a revelation as all my friends were straight and I had no one to talk to about it. I really enjoyed that. At the time I was still tryna date women and later on that year one i was pursuing ended badly and i was like "fuck it this just aint for me" and jus embraced what I was running from for a long time. The same bro added me to a Facebook group and seeing gay men in relationships and comfortable with themselves helped me a lot. I came out to a couple friends and another one of my close friends who I suspected we came out to each other. From there I had my first gay club experience, started going to house parties, etc...

    At this point I'm not "out" but it's not a secret and I'm not hiding anything. I haven't told my family yet though I'm sorta waiting to have someone to introduce them to for that. Most people if they'd ask me I would tell them the truth.
     
    #23 BlackExcellence, Dec 1, 2015
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  24. grownman

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    That's been my problem for most of my life. I have had a "fuck you" mentality. But, I am trying to change that which is why I am on here. This is a good place to start. I think it was good for people to their pics up that was another way to self acceptance.
     
  25. tigerbreaux

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    I personally have always had a great sense of self from a very young age. I've always had been fairly confident and had a a great drive and work ethic. However, all of this got tested when I was about to graduate from college. I was always the smart kid that never tried too hard and did just enough to get by, was ok with being slightly above average, never really rocking the boat or having to try to hard to succeeded...until life said otherwise.

    I found myself getting ready to graduate from college with no concrete plan and no direction. That was the first time in my life I was applying for things and didn't get them, and basically life just told me "no". I took a really hard introspective look at myself and did some deep soul-searching and found out who I was, what I needed to change.

    About a year after that, I fell in deep like with someone who didn't really want me. Someone who enjoyed my company, loved being intimate with me, had several things in common with me, but didn't want to commit to me and wanted to just be FWB essentially. This also crushed me lol. I was used to being the one turning people down but this fool completely turned m world upside-down. That was another big learning experience.

    A lot of my acceptance and experience comes from watching other people, learning from their mistakes, and making some of my own. It's all a process. There's no guidebook and or instruction manual. We've all got to figure it out for yourself, just be sure to surround yourself with people who know more than you.
     
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  26. grownman

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    Mr. Cyh 21 my friend. I dedicate this video to you, me and everyone else on this board. We all have felt this way and/or feeling this way now as I type this. This is a guy that I follow on YouTube by the name of Montre Bible-don't be fooled by the name. He has been quiet with posting videos lately but he uploaded one today and it is so very fitting to this topic.

     
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  27. cypher21

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    Thanks for posting @grownman, that is a message I needed to hear. I was just complementing some of the things he mentioned all weekend really.
     
  28. BlackOnyx1

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    personally it took my till i was 20 to learn to accept myself for years i hated my skin, voice and overall self but learned to love being black, gay, creative and free spirited as I am. I feel that we as people especially people of color have a difficult loving ourselves because we are taught to hate ourselves. I did this for myself because I needed to grow and get past all the bullshit that really doesn't matter. I love myself and that's what matters always and forever. i wish you the best on your journey to discovering to love yourself
     
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  29. KritiKal Analysis

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    Those are some great questions...

    As for me, I find it hard to still love and accept myself. I'm still a work in progress. I love certain things about myself, but because I used to be a heavier dude, my self esteem still has not recovered from feeling like the ugly duckling for 34 years. I think that other people have helped me love myself more through positive reinforcement and validation. Sometimes I still have issues with my esteem.
     
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  30. grownman

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    I love your caption-"be the standard not the substitute..." A good start.
     
    KritiKal Analysis dapped this.
  31. KritiKal Analysis

    KritiKal Analysis "Be the Standard, Not the Substitute..." DMCureton
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    I have that tattooed on my arm and try to live that daily...
     
  32. DC.

    DC.
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    I'm late on this post but @cypher21 I would say that the biggest thing in life is to realize not everyone is gonna like what your selling. For some people you might me too tall, too this too whatever. Some people probably think I'm ugly and I'm okay with that lmao.

    In life we have to put ourselves in positions and places where it allows us to thrive. Because not everything is meant for you to mix yourself into. And we won't do everything well in life no matter what these motivational speakers or whomever else out there says. We instead have to put ourselves in places and positions we know we'll do best in and that's only a benefit to our internal core and character.

    In life people always feel the need to prove things to other people on one level or another but we're all moving at our own pace and we should never envy where people are at in life because we don't know what advantages they may have had or what they may have had to gone through to get where there at. We just do the best at where we are at in life.

    Like even accepting I was gay at a young age it was hard. Because I had always fathomed if I wasn't gay life would be easier. But truth be told even if I was straight it'd be something else trust me , some other huge situation that contrasted from the norm would surface that would make me go "man if it weren't for this my life would be okay" let me put it like this to end this post, the way you perceive your life determines if your story to you is a good one or bad one
     
    African King dapped this.
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