I am learning through my development, that there are definite connections between the issues that I am trying to accept which can be best described as cousins.
A cousin is a relation, who shares the same familial roots, but one who is now part of a different branch of the family to our own.
Applying this logic of family relationships, I have begun to apply the same logic to my emotional relationships.
I have recently made a connection, on my journey to love self, between my suppressed gay sexuality, and its cousin, which is my need to be liked.
The root of this relationship is in my feelings of anxiety about the suppressed truth of my same sex attraction, and a constant feeling that the world could not like me, because it did not know me.
In recent years, I have emerged from the suppression of my truth in two profound ways — firstly in telling my wife and close circle about it and secondly investing in my own self development to accept it as an integral part of who I am.
I am now more conscious of the branch containing its cousin — my need to be liked.
It feels to me like it is casting a shadow over my ability to thrive in the present moment, because if my happiness is dependent on the good opinion of others e.g my wife, my boss, my family, my friends, then I am continually on the look out for signals that they accept me and love me which is exhausting and unrealistic for them and for me.
I am actively trying to avert my thoughts from the anticipation of feedback or praise or comforting looks or hugs, to being able to assess my own performance at work, or in the home, and in the absence of any message to the contrary, being satisfied with that.
It has felt like, what I imagine it feels like, to overcome an addiction — the hit of the nicotine, drugs or alcohol, are for me manifest in the praise or the thanks or the positive feedback, which I have needed to get me through each day.
I am learning that the joy of being accepted in my truth, is being matched by the joy of being able to live each day, being present, and comfortable with my own assessment of the contribution I make in the world.
My next blog will be: The Conflict of Values