What's the next step?

  • IsrealiBoy

    Posts: 165

    Apr 27, 2013 2:25 AM GMT
    I've always been a confused person, never knowing what to do at what point in time. I believe that hiding my sexuality made me feel like I'm an outsider and has lead to a lot of my insecurities. This being said I do have some people in my life I am comfortable sharing who I am with, I just feel like I'm still holding back from being myself. The problem? I don't know who I am. I have never been able to express myself without having to look who's around me or wondering how the person I'm with will react. So I guess my question really is.. How do I find out who I am? How do I work on improving myself and getting comfortable with sharing things with people I care about?
    Open to many ideas and willing to try almost anything. No negative comments please.
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    Apr 27, 2013 2:29 AM GMT
    BadbitchXx saidI've always been a confused person, never knowing what to do at what point in time. I believe that hiding my sexuality made me feel like I'm an outsider and has lead to a lot of my insecurities. This being said I do have some people in my life I am comfortable sharing who I am with, I just feel like I'm still holding back from being myself. The problem? I don't know who I am. I have never been able to express myself without having to look who's around me or wondering how the person I'm with will react. So I guess my question really is.. How do I find out who I am? How do I work on improving myself and getting comfortable with sharing things with people I care about?
    Open to many ideas and willing to try almost anything. No negative comments please.


    I'm still exploring who I am... I've opened up to a lot of people in my life... experiment, feel things out, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. icon_smile.gif
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    Apr 27, 2013 2:34 AM GMT
    Sometimes who we are as an individual is a reflection of those around us as a whole. We all learn from each other -- whether it's a way to act (or not to act), what music we are introduced to, what foods we like to eat. So embrace the things you like that already know you're doing. and build on that.
  • IsrealiBoy

    Posts: 165

    Apr 27, 2013 2:37 AM GMT
    willular saidSometimes who we are as an individual is a reflection of those around us as a whole. We all learn from each other -- whether it's a way to act (or not to act), what music we are introduced to, what foods we like to eat. So embrace the things you like that already know you're doing. and build on that.

    That helps, thanks.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Apr 27, 2013 3:42 PM GMT
    Finding yourself, discovering who you are, is a life-long process and it works differently for everyone.

    For me the most difficult time of my life was the first few years after high school. I had a lot of interesting and exciting experiences but at the same time I felt very 'lost' and 'confused' about a lot of things.

    Willular's suggestion to build on what interests you is very good advice. Its just a matter of noticing and paying attention to what interests you and where that leads your curiosity.

    Different types of people approach life very differently, though. From what you've said, I suspect you're fairly introverted (don't know for sure but could be) and introverts (I am one) approach life very differently from extroverts. Extroverts tend to just dive in to life and take it as it comes (or so it seems to me) where introverts are more hesitant, often unsure of themselves, and tend to want to make sure things are 'safe' before they try them.

    Of course no one is strictly one or the other, we're complex beings. Moreover, we change through time, not only growing older but our interests, desires, hopes and fears, all this changes through time and experience. So the question "who am I?" should be "who am I right now?" Who you are now at age 19 isn't who you will be at age 20 or 21, much less 20, 30, 40 years down the road. You're still in the process of discovering and creating yourself. It's sort of like what Alice said to the Caterpillar when he asked "Who R U?"... "I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."

    My advice is to try and not worry or think about it TOO much. Obviously we all need to think about these questions to some extent but ease up. Keep telling yourself that you're ok, you can do this (life), even if you don't exactly feel sure that you can or know 'how' you're going to do it. Learn to value the things you enjoy and give them more attention than the things that make you feel uncomfortable or unsure of yourself. Growing up and becoming an adult doesn't happen all at once. In my experience, the only 'end point' is death itself and we don't even know about that for sure.

    Hope this helps.

  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Apr 27, 2013 3:58 PM GMT
    I think everyone goes through this, it is what makes us human. It is why we pick up traits from our family and friends and even television and actors in the movies; "give me a clue,who am I, how should I act, how should I I feel, what is right, what is wrong?" I think we get a glimpse of who we are late at night in our beds, when we lie quietly, with our eyes closed, examining the thoughts that flow freely through our mind's, as we slowly drift off to sleep.
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    Apr 27, 2013 4:10 PM GMT
    Good advice so far.

    One approach to finding yourself is to look around you at the people you know, and find one or more that you admire. If you don't know anyone like that, get to know more people, or choose a public figure. Think about what you admire about them and figure out how you differ. Come up with a plan to become more like the person you admire. If you succeed, you will then be a person you admire.

    Sounds simple, but it can take a lifetime.

  • Apr 27, 2013 4:16 PM GMT
    the problem? the problem is you're relying to heavily on labels to define who you are... dont seek to be a gay man... your journey will go down as a man who happens to be gay/bi/queer/whatever you want to call yourself and thats ok and you dont have to explain it to anyone...

    phew now im out of breath icon_razz.gif
  • IsrealiBoy

    Posts: 165

    Apr 27, 2013 5:21 PM GMT
    You all gave some pretty great advice, I'm looking forward to trying some of these things. thanks guys.
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    Apr 28, 2013 7:49 AM GMT
    How do I find out who I am?
    It looks complicated, but once when you know how to, everything simplifies itself...
    1st thing you have to do is...stop hesitating or being shy in accepting the facts about yourself and admit whatever it is, good or bad...(Some people are shy to themselves to know what they actually are and usually fake it and cheat themselves. So, accepting yourself is very important)
    Then, when you're ready to admit or accept yourself...then ask yourself questions...mostly yes/no type questions.
    for eg: am I gay? Yes/No
    Or grading on the scale of 0-10
    for eg: how good am I at this? 0-10 (0 means not at all, 10 means an expert)
    something like that...
    then you'll know about yourself more clearly and the confusion lifts off.

    How do I work on improving myself and getting comfortable with sharing things with people I care about?
    When the confusion lifts off, you'll need very little to improve in sharing yourself. Because when people know what they actually are, they don't feel and uncomfortable in expressing themselves.
    But I suggest you to always share the intimate things with people whom you trust completely.
    if you're speaking for the 1st time, practice in front of the mirror...it may help.
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    Apr 28, 2013 12:25 PM GMT
    'Who am I' is always an interesting paradigm because finding truth is an active process yet the opposite of truth is denial; we're all innately lazy. There's a phrase-- Leaves are most beautiful when they're about to die. In the end, we are the sum of our relationships. It's not the experience but it's the capacity for experience. Some are so scared and fearful that it's not even possible to experience life for it's pains AND joys. It's called taking the joy without the pain; is it really joy if we haven't experienced pain?

    For two years I've had brunch every Saturday and Sunday with a 79 year old gay man. He came out in the 1950s-- a completely different world than we live in now. Surviving the arrests, the discrimination, the virus he is still searching for who he is-- and he doesn't know. Most importantly he doesn't care. It's his childlike learning capacity that keeps him open to today and what he may experience, not tomorrow and not yesterday.

    Today I'm comfortable with the words 'I don't know' because it keeps me open to the experience. In the past I wasn't. The vast amount that I don't know is far greater than what I can and do know.

    I came out at 17. I didn't know what others would think of me-- I was scared. Years later I've realized that what others think of me is none of my business. It's only my business when I'm wrapped up in my defensive ego.
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    Apr 28, 2013 2:48 PM GMT
    deltalimen said'Who am I' is always an interesting paradigm because finding truth is an active process yet the opposite of truth is denial; we're all innately lazy. There's a phrase-- Leaves are most beautiful when they're about to die. In the end, we are the sum of our relationships. It's not the experience but it's the capacity for experience. Some are so scared and fearful that it's not even possible to experience life for it's pains AND joys. It's called taking the joy without the pain; is it really joy if we haven't experienced pain?

    For two years I've had brunch every Saturday and Sunday with a 79 year old gay man. He came out in the 1950s-- a completely different world than we live in now. Surviving the arrests, the discrimination, the virus he is still searching for who he is-- and he doesn't know. Most importantly he doesn't care. It's his childlike learning capacity that keeps him open to today and what he may experience, not tomorrow and not yesterday.

    Today I'm comfortable with the words 'I don't know' because it keeps me open to the experience. In the past I wasn't. The vast amount that I don't know is far greater than what I can and do know.

    I came out at 17. I didn't know what others would think of me-- I was scared. Years later I've realized that what others think of me is none of my business. It's only my business when I'm wrapped up in my defensive ego.


    I've never been lazy about exploring myself and through my dreaming practices I've managed to reach in there pretty far and I've been at that since I was a child. My suspicion is not that people are lazy, rather that they fear. Being lazy may add to that mix and make it harder to overcome the fear but I think the fear is the primary barrier. Lazy is functional of course but mostly it is an excuse.

    I disagree very much that "we are the sum of our relationships". Besides that it opens the door to guilt by association and to using people, the problem with that statement is that people die, people betray, relationships fade or otherwise alter and the individual doesn't have a lot of control over all of that, as those things happen regardless of our efforts or intentions so they do not define us. As well, a person certainly could remove himself from society entirely, live in a cave, yet be enlightened and so it's possible to be more than you might be with relationships. That may not be very practical in today's society for most people but it speaks to the capacity of the human mind. Ultimately we are complete within ourselves. We are the sum of who we are, not of who they are. We are the sum of our relationships with ourselves, including how we interact with others, not the sum or our interactions with others. You can be a very nice guy and still get totally screwed in a relationship. You can internalize that but it isn't naturally part of you.

    "We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we are not alone."~~Orson Welles

    Recognizing that joy and pain often wander hand in hand is different from wondering "is it really joy if we haven't experienced pain?" Well, of course it is. We don't require knowing one to know the other. We can know each for themselves alone. But certainly my experience has been that my greatest joys have come with harshest pains. The more you love the longer you live the more you lose.

    I always said to my puppy dog, "you're gonna break my heart one day."

    By our attachments the Buddha noted that all of life is suffering.
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    Apr 28, 2013 2:58 PM GMT
    BadbitchXx saidI've always been a confused person, never knowing what to do at what point in time. I believe that hiding my sexuality made me feel like I'm an outsider and has lead to a lot of my insecurities. This being said I do have some people in my life I am comfortable sharing who I am with, I just feel like I'm still holding back from being myself. The problem? I don't know who I am. I have never been able to express myself without having to look who's around me or wondering how the person I'm with will react. So I guess my question really is.. How do I find out who I am? How do I work on improving myself and getting comfortable with sharing things with people I care about?
    Open to many ideas and willing to try almost anything. No negative comments please.


    I suspect that you already know who you are. The rest of life is just filling in the details. That's not confusion, that's orientation. I guess that because you've already identified the gay dilemma: being who we are while hiding who we are. It's a relatively unique experience on the planet. Surely people hide differing aspects about themselves--their perversions, their inclinations, their secret loves--but not one of their basic drives are hidden. We don't hide that we require sleep or food or drink or shelter and heteros don't hide their requirements for sex, but we do. So that is a unique experience in this fucked up world.

    How do we deal with that? What does that do to us?

    I think that we develop a very strong sense of a double consciousness*, of viewing ourselves as we perceive others viewing us.

    And we become experts in the chameleon effect, mimicking others so that we fit in. Thus many of us emphasize str8-acting.

    In that do we lose ourselves a bit? Those insecurities you acknowledge. It can be disorienting. Don't let it throw you. Everyone has a battle inside.

    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_consciousness
    ** http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10402679
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    Apr 28, 2013 5:57 PM GMT
    deltalimen saidI came out at 17. I didn't know what others would think of me-- I was scared. Years later I've realized that what others think of me is none of my business. It's only my business when I'm wrapped up in my defensive ego.


    I like this so much better than, "I don't give a shit what anyone thinks of me." But I don't happen to agree with either statement. How you affect others can be an important feedback mechanism.
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Apr 28, 2013 6:03 PM GMT
    i think you should just go out and have some fun. do it safely but go out and have some fun buddy. u will not know what you like or is comfortable with unless you experiment