GLBT Expert’s Tip of the Month – February

Self-confidence starts with self-acceptance

For GLBT students, the average high school and college experience can be a bit more challenging. Not only do we struggle with the everyday stress of getting good grades, but we also have to deal with the social aspect of coming out and acceptance of our peers.

As a way to avoid the additional stress, I was not “out” in high school. The social climate back then was a bit less accepting than it is now. But that isn’t the reason why I stayed in the closet. The primary reason was because I was not ready to accept myself fully. Basically, I hardly new myself at all, and because I chose to hide my true self throughout high school and college, my grades, health and social life were directly affected.

From the time I could pick up a pen, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But I never believed in myself enough to pursue it. I always felt that I wasn’t good enough, or that writing a novel was an impossible dream. I didn’t understand that the reason I felt I wasn’t “good enough” is because I hadn’t accepted myself for who I was. It had nothing to do with being a writer at all. It had everything to do with being gay. I lacked confidence in all areas of my life because I thought being gay wasn’t “good enough.” How could I expect to succeed and accomplish my goals if I didn’t appreciate and accept myself? The answer is simple — I couldn’t.

It wasn’t until after I graduated from college and came out, that I realized how important self-acceptance really is. Self-acceptance is the cornerstone for anyone who has dreams and aspirations. It is often the final roadblock we have to move before we are able to reach our goals. But once it is out of the way, the path to success is open and clear. When I finally stopped trying to be something I wasn’t, and embraced myself fully, only then did my self-confidence begin to grow and my goals became reachable. I no longer cared what others thought about me. With a newfound sense of pride and acceptance, I knew that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. And only then did I finally believe I could be a writer.

Since then, I have gone on to write for local and national publications, published two young adult GLBT novels, and started my own freelance business. But I know that none of these accomplishments would have come to fruition without self-acceptance. There is no “right” time to come out of the closet. It’s a journey that is unique and different for every GLBT individual. But self-acceptance can begin today. You don’t need anyone else’s permission to accept yourself. Focus your energy into embracing who you are, and watch what happens. The results will amaze you.

~ Lyndsey D’Arcangelo, GLBT Expert, Campus Calm

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