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It hates exposure. The more you do not talk about shame, the more it enables the feelings of not being good enough to become heightened. Since going to my weekly meditation classes I have started to see why I was still getting these bouts of anxiety, why I was still feeling unworthy, not good enough and Shame kept raising its ugly head each time. I focus on keeping eye contact with objects in the distance but then the thoughts pop in so quickly….

Also when on a date, there will always be a moment when you look around to see if anyone is looking if you want to kiss the guy, not as much now but at times I do get a little self-aware. I have felt this uncomfortable feeling of being judged, this is mostly being judged by myself.

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I was not comfortable in my own skin as I do not I think I have fully accepted who I am, a gay man living in this world. The feeling came from my stomach and it felt like shame. This feeling was no way near the height as to what it was years ago but still I felt it cast a shadow over me.

Only until recently whenever I went home to Mayo to visit my family I would be asked am I seeing anyone. I would feel uncomfortable and try to change the subject. For the love of God man I say to myself, why are you getting embarrassed?

Overcoming the shame of being gay

No one cares yet you are making a bigger deal out of this in your own head. So from then on I answered honestly and tell them before they asked me that yes, I was dating this great guy and the embarrassed feelings would subside and I would feel more relaxed. The word was shameful, disgusting, negative and even at a young age I felt connected to that word. I knew from a very early age I was gay so my earliest beliefs of myself were negative, shameful, disgusting and then my anxiety and shyness developed.

As I look back I always thought my anxiety and shameful feelings started in secondary school when the bullying happened but now I can see this went back much further. Then I started Irish dancing with the rest of the kids, all the lads hated it, I loved it, I was really good at it but I felt embarrassed, look at the gay boy Irish dancing. I went to competitions at primary school and won medals and trophies, I felt so proud of myself, so happy but shameful.

I knew this looked gay and the kids were judging me so I just stopped after primary school. I stopped something I loved so that I could fit in. Even by pretending to like things I hated other kids still picked up on my gayness, my differences. I looked like the other guys but I was different, I was gay, I stood out to them and they hated me.

The overwhelming feeling of shame went so deep into my soul and has been hiding there ever since. Every night as a kid I would go to bed and pray to God to please let me be like the rest of the boys, let me fit in, please God let them leave me alone, let me fade into the background. Shame makes me feel less than, not good enough, not handsome enough, not smart enough.

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Once that thought enters my mind then there is this wave of emotion that can take your breath away. So I had to really face this monster in the face and stare him square in the eye and feel those horrendous feelings I was trying to run away from. By facing this deep rooted pain the monster now has shrunk in size. Shame does not bring me down as he once has but at times he does creep up.

Gay Men: How To Use Dating To Raise Your Level Of Consciousness

He tries to remind me to be careful of all those people out there, that they are out to hurt me but I know now this is just fear that will lead to anxiety but I am not going down that road again. Time to make a new turn. I thank God today for making me the person I am now, I was meant to be a gay man living in this beautiful yet complex world and now I am embracing my differences, my quirks, the qualities that make me who I am.

I am not perfect and I never want to be. I am really starting to love the person I am right now who happens to be gay and I am letting those old feelings of shame that haunted me go forever. They may come back from time to time but they will not stick around for long. Please follow your dreams and passions, do not let anyone tell you cannot do something, that you are not good enough, good looking enough, smart enough, fit enough as they have no idea the talents that lie inside you.

You are the only person who can truly embrace this and let this part of you shine out. I know it is easy for me to say this now after going through a process of healing, but the one thing I wish I had done was follow my heart, kept on with the Irish dancing and done something that I loved and was important to me but I felt I needed to try and fit in. Risks are defined by the individual.

The key is the find the thing that YOU consider risky and go for it. Maybe you're a rock climber, but a not a public speaker?

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Join a business association and speak about a topic you're familiar with. Or maybe you're not particularly sporty, but you've always wanted to finish a marathon - join a training group and do it! If things work out, then you now know you can do more than you think.

It's risky to go on a date. It's risky to run a marathon.

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It's risky to start your own business. But the only way you're going to grow is by tackling the very things that scare you. The confidence boost you'll feel afterward may be just what you need. During moments like those, take a deep breath to calm those stomach butterflies. Think about why people date in the first place. Going on dates with someone new is meant to be fun. You are getting to know them as another human soul, and vice versa. People are drawn to others who are comfortable with themselves and have an enriched life.

These actions are driven by the fear that the person we are trying to woo can suddenly be uninterested in dating us at the drop of a hat. During such times think of the people you trust most in the world, the ones who have been in your corner since day one. These people choose to keep you in their lives and they truly care.

Pursue passions that provide some enrichment outside of a romantic relationship like club sports, volunteering, and industry organizations. Doing something you love is not only good for the soul, but it also makes you more attractive to potential partners. I encourage you to reach out to a professional. If you can't honestly say, "I love myself," or you have heavy feelings of inadequacy or sadness, get help.

Even a few sessions with a psychologist or dating coaching can set you on the right path. A Lesbian Date: Asking The Right Questions. Member login. By Dr. July 25, What IS Confidence?

Gay Life #4: Being Self Conscious

It's about how you feel about yourself. Doing Things You Find Impossible. Think about how you feel after you've achieved something you've been working very hard on?