Coming out as gay or lesbian is a process, and it means different things to each individual who goes through it. When a client comes into my office struggling with the coming out process, I typically take them through an exercise that creates a clear understanding of what they REALLY want, which is typically not to ‘come out’ per say, but to experience the positive IMPACTS of coming out.
So, if you are struggling with coming out, think about what positive impact coming out might have on your life, and make a list of ways you would notice those impacts. Maybe you’ll find that you can do some of those things on your list without taking a leap you’re not ready for yet, and those things may in-turn, help you gain the strength you need to take that leap.
Want an example to start with? Here is an example of a small list of typical ‘impacts’ clients say they think will occur as a result of coming out to themselves, and others. (keep in mind, my clients and I make lists of at least 25, and usually more…the more details you give, the more likely you are to notice the progress you eventually make.)
Signs of the positive impacts coming out might have:
1. Feeling more confidant
2. being more social with coworkers and friends
3. eating healthier
4. being honest about my weekend plans to folks who ask
5. looking people in the eye more
6. laughing more with acquaintances
7. walking taller at work or around town
8. smiling more
9. being more focused at work, getting more done
10. feeling calmer throughout the day
11. holding hands with my spouse in public more often
12. working out regularly
Still feeling a bit stuck?
Call me, I’m happy to help you find your unique solutions.
Rebekka Ouer, LMSW
Dallas Rainbow Counseling