( continued from yesterday )
We don’t have to be victimized by the system! In actuality, gay men and lesbians can take pride in the fact that we are quite resilient in the face of having to deal with so much stress to achieve the self-acceptance that can be more easily afforded heterosexuals just because their sexual orientation matches the expected mainstream norm. We rock! And that requires self-esteem.
8 Quick Tips for Greater Risk-Taking Efforts
If you find that you struggle with shyness, insecurity, anxiety, or inhibition about going after the things you want in your life, the following suggestions might help you in building more confidence and motivating you toward taking more initiative and being more proactive over making your desires come to fruition.
1. Taking risks builds self-esteem. The only way out of fear is through it. The more you avoid or run from fear, the stronger it actually gets and will continue to immobilize you until you face it and push through it.
2 . Consider doing a life review and write about all the consequences you’ve had to suffer as a result of your difficulties with self-esteem or lack of follow-through in moving toward your goals. What losses have you had to endure? Perhaps also look at the kinds of benefits and secondary gains you may receive from failing to take risks to help you identify some of your emotional blocks or barriers you put up that sabotage your goals.
3. Taking risks requires that we move out of our comfort zone. You have the power of choice in what risks you decide to take. Whenever you experience uncomfortable feelings as you’re stretching out of your comfort zone, realize that those are “growth spurts/growing pains”. Try to avoid succumbing to the panic and learn from these feelings as they are telling you something. What skills do you need to feel more confident pushing forward? Do you need more information? Fill in the gaps and keep facing the anxiety head-on. You’ll find that your comfort zone will begin to enlarge over time, increasing your sense of confidence and mastery. But risk-taking is very individual; everyone must determine for himself what risks he’s willing to take and when.
4. Take an inventory of all the risks you’ve taken in your life that had positive outcomes; use these as evidence to prove that you are capable of surviving a risk.
5. Examine your anxiety. Is it a real or imagined threat? What’s the worst possible thing that could happen and if it did happen, would it really be all that bad?
6. Build assertiveness. Know who you are and what you stand for by being aware of your values and act upon them. Realize the skills you need that will help you overcome fear. In the case of asking a guy out, determine your strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to your social skills and practice role-playing with a friend, join a Toastmaster’s Club to practice public speaking, practice relaxation/visualization/rehearsal techniques etc.
7.Act as if you were confident. The more times you consistently behave in your desired role, your thoughts and feelings will eventually catch up with the more successes you have.
8. Watch your self-talk. Negative thinking can kill your efforts. Become conscious of the things you’re telling yourself and develop positive counter-statements to dispute them. Sounds corny, but develop affirmations to help keep you motivated. Anytime you get a compliment o achieve something positive, write it down on a slip of paper and stick it in a jar. During times of low self-esteem or high anxiety, read the affirmation as a way to calm yourself and keep motivated to maintain your efforts.
You have the power to reach your potential. In what ways do you hold yourself back in your dating life or relationship? What are some small steps you can take this week to begin overcoming those barriers that keep you from having what you want? What will inspire you?
Consider making a collage that creatively represents your ideal life and post it in a place that you’ll see on a daily basis to help keep you centered and accountable for what you’re trying to do. Begin developing structured goals and tasks to begin the process of making those dreams a reality. Go approach that hottie across the room and introduce yourself.
Tell your partner how much he means to you. With every successive experience where you confront vulnerability and fear head-on, your risk-taker muscles will be throbbing with such strength and resilience that there will be nothing that can stand in the way of you and your goals. You totally can do it!
“Risk: You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com