Live | Pure | Potential

Adam Willemse | Life Coach

Month: September 2015

Guest post: My friend’s email

Sexual Organs

In my previous post I referred to an email I received from a friend. I spoke to him and he consented to me publishing his whole email here:

Dear Adam,

You asked me what I would like to see on a blog like yours. Here is my answer:

In my personal journey I’ve had many challenges. I’ve never spoken out about them and these secrets have been changing me and every choice that I’ve ever taken. I’ve never had the courage to speak my truth and set myself free, I’ve been held hostage within myself for many many years. Even after I came out as a gay man. I feel that, if I had more guidance to what the consequences are of keeping secrets that cut so deep, I would have been able to be true to myself a long time ago. I’ve developed issues of grandeur.

Even though I am happily married to a guy and we are building our life together, I’ve lost big parts of myself along the way. I’ve recently spoken out at a forum and by speaking my truth I came to realise how much damage I’ve done to myself being silent.

I’ve been lost most of my life because I could never relate to other guys. I always saw myself as less of a man because of my sexuality. I’ve put a limitation on myself by allowing myself to draw comparisons to every guy I’ve ever met, thinking that in some way they were all superior to me just because they have heterosexual sex. I realise that this is all bullshit and that any straight guy would enjoy relations with the same sex just as much as I realize that I could enjoy relations with a woman. But it is the limitations of humanity that categorised us all. Indicating that you must belong to either group and choice should be limited. I truly feel that if we could all cut the bullshit and be true to ourselves we would realize that bisexuality is the only orientation there is.

Sex in general is just an act of passion and an exchange of love and feelings. The person’s sexual organs have nothing to do with the deed as it is only a method of expression. There should be no reason for anybody to ‘come out’ as they never actually made a choice to go in? They were categorized by humanity and humanity’s sick idea of what is right and wrong. Then they made the rule fit every human out there, never mind personal circumstance or choice, so we are forced to ‘come out’ or state that we are gay when it really doesn’t matter.

I am working toward accepting myself as I am and getting rid of the label that’s been bearing down on me so heavily. When I meet you I don’t need to know if you are gay. So many of us have this very well rehearsed line, “Hi, I’m John and I’m gay”. How about society taking me seriously as a being and giving me the fair chance of happiness and let me introduce myself instead of my sexuality. The world we live in is a very superficial world. My sexuality and how I choose to express that love to the people I love is no one’s business. On a BLOG for fellow beings being scrutinized and dissected under society’s great microscope, I would like to say… please find yourself, not your sexuality. Your sexuality is only a small part of what makes up the bigger person. What you do in the bedroom does not define who you are! Please do not let what you prefer rule your life and blind side you because you’ve heard one too many bad jokes. Who you are is more important than who you choose to shag.

Be true to yourself in everything you do and be normal. You are normal! There is not a thing wrong with you and you are not doing anything wrong! You have been created the same as all people around you and you have the same urges as every single guy or girl out there, it is just that if you feel like you don’t fit in, it is because you are comparing yourself to a single opinion of a superficial idea of what normal means.

You are valuable in this world and you have value to add to someone else’s world. You have purpose, and a place in this world that belongs to you. By being true to yourself and not letting a word rule your existence, you take back the power of your purpose and journey on this earth.

I wish I could remove the hurt and anguish I know so many people experience, but I myself, 32 years old, only just found a glimmer of light and I want to tell you that I could have found this light much sooner if I was only honest with myself and had the courage to be myself and not my sexuality. I’ve been ‘out’ for 13 years, but I’ve only just became the man I was suppose to be before I allowed society to label me, box me and ship me off! You are powerful, you are special. Choose yourself and acknowledge your sexuality, but don’t dwell on why you feel different! You are not different in terms of sexuality, you just are!

Warm regards

Your friend

Wow! Powerful stuff!

I would love to hear your comments on my friend’s email.

Find yourself, not only your sexuality…

Shag

I received an amazing email from a friend last week. In it he talked about society’s view and reaction to sexuality. He made the point that sexuality does not define a person. This is an enormous truth. And one I would like to embroider on…

If you, reading here, is contemplating coming out of the closet, or has recently come out of the closet, you might think that your sexuality defines you. You might feel that you have to build your identity around your sexuality. This is hogwash. Your sexuality does form part of your personality, yes, but it does not define you! Listen carefully, it does not define you.

At the moment, where you are very new to the whole scene, you might feel that your newfound sexual freedom drives your whole existence. In a way, yes, since it is going to influence your new identity. But for god’s sake, please do not let it become your whole identity.

What my friend meant to say was that you need to actually just find yourself. Get to know yourself better. All the in’s and out’s of your personality. Delve deep and find your being. Since this is what people (read: society) will get to know first. They will not get to know your sexual preferences first. They will get to know you first. So, it is important for you to know the true you. Your sexuality is a part of you and you do need to integrate this new part of you into your identity, but it is only one aspect of who you are. My friend put it so eloquently: “Who you are is more important than who you choose to shag.

Know Thyself:

The forecourt to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi had the words ‘Know Thyself’ engraved in stone. It was originally in Greek (γνῶθι σεαυτόν). The Latin translation is ‘temet nosce‘. The philosopher Plato used it in many of his teachings.

Integrating all aspects into your personality and identity is a growth process and you will learn a lot about yourself in the process. You need to remember to keep perspective and not only focus on one aspect of yourself. The keyword here is balance.

Most gay people are more in touch with themselves, since they had to go through this rigorous introspection to accept their difference to the norm. Speaking of the norm… This is exactly the point my friend was making in his email. We as gays often marginalise ourselves! We notice we are different and then we want to show the world exactly how different we are. And it is exactly this difference that the heteronormative world struggle to accept. Why do we not do the opposite and show them that we are actually not that different from them after all? This has always been my own modus operandi. I let people get to know my true self first and then as a by-the-by find out that I happen to be gay. It is basically my sly way of trapping them into liking me first, before they can judge me on grounds of my sexuality.

The thing is, people are drawn toward authenticity. Embrace your uniqueness. Be authentic.

Just be yourself.

Become aware of your thoughts…

Thoughts

I would like to explain to you the impact your thoughts have on your life and your emotions. Maybe you already know this, so just bear with me if you do.

What many people out there do not know is how powerful your thoughts are. It comes down to this, every emotion you experience has an underlying thought that fuels it. If you can identify the underlying thought, you can control the emotion. Trust me on this.

What exactly is a thought? Technically? It is an electrical impulse in your brain cells, or nerves if you will, created by a chemical reaction. The chemicals that causes this impulse is called neurotransmitters. When this impulse occurs, it creates another chemical reaction – an emotion! We already know that emotions are chemical reactions in the brain. Now we know where this chemical reaction comes from – from the thought that happened.

Neurons:

The size of a brain cell varies from 0.004 mm to 0.1 mm in diameter. The nerve impulse or signal travels at about 320 km/h. There are roughly 100 billion cells or neurons in the brain. Each neuron is typically connected to 1000 other neurons. In other words, each cell has 1000 connections. Read more here and here.

When a new thought occurs, a new connection in your brain forms. This ability of forming new connections is referred to as brain plasticity. Now, how the connections in your brain work are as follows. Each time you have the same thought, the connection becomes stronger. And the stronger the connection becomes, the more neurotransmitters are involved in the thought. And the more neurotransmitters involved in the thought, the stronger the emotion associated with the thought. This, of course, is very simplistically explained.

Let me give you an analogy of how the new connection evolve. Imagine you walk through a field where no one ever comes. The first time you walk through the field you step on some twigs and grass etc. You leave some trace behind that you walked there. The next time you take the same route, you crunch some more grass and break some more twigs and plants. Now imagine how this route will look like if you walk the same way every day for a week. And for a month? Imagine you walk the same way for a year. How would the route look after a year? There would be a neat pathway, wouldn’t there? It works the same way in the brain, the more attention you give to something the stronger the connection in your brain gets. So much so that instead of one single minute connection there forms a nerve ‘highway’, if you will.

When we think the same thing over and over the emotions connected to it becomes stronger and stronger. This brings me to the point I’m trying to make. If you have the same negative thought over and over you will get stuck in a rut of negative emotions. You should therefore become very aware of what you are thinking. You must start to look at your thoughts in a critical way. By ‘critical’ I do not mean that you should criticize yourself every time you catch yourself having a negative thought. That will just contribute to the negative spiral. You should be critically aware of your thoughts.

What should you do if you have a negative thought? Be gentle with yourself and re-frame it in a positive way. I know, I make it sound so easy and effortless. Unfortunately it isn’t. It takes concentration and hard work.

How does re-framing work? Say you get the thought “I am stupid”. Where did that thought come from? What thoughts are underlying this thought? Is it even true? What sparked this thought? Really go in there and explore the thought. Is there any evidence of the contrary? Start focusing your attention on this evidence. And think the opposite thought deliberately. I like to say the phrase “Cancel that thought” in my head or out loud when I encounter one of these unfounded negative thoughts. And, important, you need to really believe yourself when you think this positive thought. This may seem ridiculous or useless to you, but forcing your brain to think the new positive thought creates new neurological pathways.

What will happen to the path in the field we spoke about earlier when you stop walking there? It will slowly return to its original state, won’t it? The same thing happens in the brain. If you stop thinking a specific thought the connection becomes weaker and weaker. This is the wonder of brain plasticity or neuroplasticity! The weaker the connection gets, the less you will experience the emotions associated with that thought. Isn’t it amazing?!

So, in short. Pay attention to your thoughts. Really examine them. Find evidence of the contrary. Re-frame the  negative thought. Pay attention to the new thought. Think that thought over and over. Start feeling more positive.

I would like you to take responsibility for your emotions by examining your thoughts. Don’t be a victim of your thoughts. You can control them. You are in charge!

Trust me on this. You will see the change after a while.

You will be okay…

Brave

 

Coming out was one of the most stressful things I had to do in my life so far. All kinds of fears kept popping into my head. I think my biggest fear have always been rejection. Thankfully I have never experienced firsthand rejection on grounds of my sexuality. Sure enough I have seen homophobic slants in the media and by so-called Facebook ‘friends’ in general, but never ever directly aimed at me personally. I have been lucky in this way. And I am grateful.

Rejection comes in various forms and from various sources. I think that one of the worst can be internalised rejection or internalised homophobia. But that is a topic for another day.

I would like to focus on the positives, though. If you are able to deal with the rejection, you will be okay.

But how does one deal with rejection?

In short, you need a thick skin. How does one get a thick skin? Through experience. Through lots of tears (literal and figurative). And with time. I’m not saying it is going to be easy… The thing is, you need to find your inner power. A. A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh, wrote: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” This is unbelievably true! Become aware of your inner power, find it, access it, and get to know it, intimately. You must know it so well that you can access it any time you need it. Then you’ll be okay.

The thing is, haters will always hate. And you will need to ignore them. You cannot control what others think and how they act. What you can control is how you react. You can choose to get upset or to let it roll off of your back. If you choose not to get upset, you will be okay.

There will be ups and there will be downs. There will be obstacles in the road. Sometimes the obstacle will be the size of a grain of sand, and other times it will seem like Mount Everest rising in front of you. Remember, every journey begins with one step. Stay in the now and focus on the next step – you will be okay.

Do not give up.

Listen carefully: Do. Not. Give. Up.

There is always hope!

Always.

Remember what Winnie the Pooh said and you, my dear friend, will be okay.