I know many of my posts are long. I'll make this a quick hit today.
I dedicate this to anyone who can't come out because to do so might put him or her at risk.
Many gay people still live and work in places where they cannot be themselves. Where coming out isn't an option. Where they have to live in hiding because it's safer for them.
If you're one of these people, building your self-esteem is just as important to you as it is to anyone who can come out, who is already out.
Well, you might ask, what good will feeling good about myself do when I can't be myself, when I have to live in fear? How can I feel good about myself when I know people hate me because I'm gay?
Many of the posts I wrote here last month will help you with the second question. In short, despite what anyone might think of you, how they might make you feel, you always have control over how you feel about yourself. You can always love yourself, just as you are, regardless of other people's opinions, because, deep down, you know you're a good and worthwhile human being.
You know that, don't you? I'm telling you. You are a good and worthwhile human being, and you must not allow anyone to make you feel otherwise.
To answer the first question--what good will feeling good about myself do when I can't be myself, when I have to live in fear?--I'll answer this way. Feeling good about yourself--that is, having high self-esteem, or loving yourself--will give you strength. It will give you the strength you need to put the negativity directed at you in its rightful place. It will give you the strength to resist what other people do to you--the things they say, the looks they give, how they judge you.
You may feel imprisoned in your external world, because you can't be open about what you are, because you're not free to be yourself, but there's no reason why you should feel imprisoned in your internal world.
In your internal world, you can truly be anything you want to be. You can fly as free as a bird. You can walk down the street with the knowledge you're all right just the way you are. You're a worthwhile, and good, and respectable human being, and you don't have to change for anyone. And the reason other people don't know that is because they haven't given themselves a chance to get to know you.
Freedom comes from the knowledge of your self-worth. The world may not accept you as you are, but you don't have to stop yourself from accepting who you are. And, to those of us who know, that is freedom.
(This post was inspired by a comment from Aries Boy in Indonesia. Thank you.)