Sometimes, in the process of self-discovery, folks in the LGBT community make realizations about their lives that require some painful honesty with the people that they love most. I frequently have conversations in my counseling office with individuals who are carefully navigating their steps towards a preferred future that they know will be incredibly difficult for some of the closest people in their lives. For instance, when someone in a heterosexual relationship can no longer deny that they are gay, or when someone in a long term relationship of any kind, can no longer deny that they are trans.
Whenever someone comes into my office at the tipping point this kind of difficult realization, I think that the best, most respectful place for me to be, is behind them, asking questions directed at the destination they are working towards. Why do I do that? Well…this quote sums it up best, I think:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I firmly believe that imagining the details of your destination is crucial when you’re looking to gain the courage to take the next small step towards it, especially when those steps involve saying or doing difficult things to the one’s you love most.
So I don’t give a lot of advice, or shine a light on a difficult step pointing out how hard it will be to take. Instead I choose to stand behind you, out of your way, and shine a light on the destination, knowing that because that truly is where you yearn to go, you will have no choice but to continue moving towards it.