Friday, July 8, 2011


Today, I want to talk to you about making a shift in your life.  The dictionary defines a "shift" as, "a slight change in position, direction, or tendency."  And that's all I want you to focus on--a slight change, something each of us is capable of, because nothing more is needed to transform your life.  

As gay and lesbian people, when we think about the journey to self-acceptance, to loving ourselves for who we are, we look at it as this enormous task, this journey of a thousand nights, something that will take years to accomplish.  But don't get caught up in all that.  Don't defeat yourself, even before you begin.      

Here's all I want you to think about:  This one precious minute in which you find yourself reading these words.  Right now.  Not later today, or tomorrow, or a few days from now, or next week, or even next month.  Because none of those matter, if you don't focus on right now first.

Right now, I'm asking you to make a shift, an infinitesimal movement in another direction, one you haven't gone in before.  Chances are, your life has been on the same trajectory for months, maybe even years.  But you know in your heart the path you're on no longer serves you.  Time for a change.

I want you to look at the course of your life in this way.  Imagine yourself standing and looking straight ahead.  Let's say that's the direction your life has been going in, and, for as far as you can see, beyond walls and whatever other immediate obstructions, is the direction you'll keep going in.

Now, here's the important part.  From your standing position, turn to the right, ever so slightly. Not much.  Just a bit.  Then look in that new direction.  Yes, your starting position is essentially the same, because you're still standing in the same place, and the view looks familiar.  But you've just made a big change.  

Here's the beauty of that shift.  If you project into the distance, further and further away from where you are now, you'll see how, over time, the trajectory of that line diverges increasingly from the trajectory of the original course you were on.  Some distance into the future, the two lines will be miles apart.

That's what you need to do.  For now, that's where you need to take your life.  In that new direction.  On that new trajectory.  Toward that new horizon.  Toward whatever new experiences and opportunities await you along the way.  Toward your new and exciting future.  

But, I hear you say, how do I know if that new direction is the right one?  The one I should be going in?  What if I should have shifted to the left instead of to the right?  What if where it takes me is no better than where I was going before?  What do I do then?

The course of your life is full of directional changes.  We don't always know if a new one will be right for us.  What we do know, however, is, sometimes, we get to where maintaining our course in the same direction is worse than not making a shift at all, left or right, and setting ourselves on a new course.  

So it is with hating ourselves just because we're gay.  Whether we know it or not, the path of self-loathing we've been on for years doesn't serve us.  It hasn't taken us where we want to go, or where we need to go.  Our lives, from our careers to our relationships, especially with ourselves, have been adversely affected.

Time for a shift.  

Now that you know a shift can make all the difference in the world, what is the shift I'm asking you to make today, this very minute?  It's nothing more than making a change in your routine, doing something positive in how you look at and treat yourself.  That's it.  Nothing more.

Here are a few ideas on simple shifts you can make:  Compliment yourself on something.  Do a good deed for someone else.  Think of five things you're grateful for.  Cook yourself a great dinner.  Take a long, relaxing walk.  Watch a movie you've wanted to see for a while.  The list is endless.  You decide.    

When you do one (or more) of these things, be sure you consciously acknowledge the reason why you're doing it is for you, not for someone else (although others might benefit), because you deserve it, because you're worth it, because you're the most important person in your life (which you are).

Congratulations.  You've taken your first tentative step toward self-acceptance.  You've put some new, positive energy out into the world, directed specifically at you, and, without you realizing it, that energy will return--in how your day goes, in how others look at you, in how you look at yourself.

Before you know it, you'll willingly do kind and positive things for yourself all the time.  Today, you treat yourself to that new book you've wanted to read.  Tomorrow, you buy yourself a vitamin-rich smoothie.  The next day, you take yourself out on a date, or go for a bike ride, or spend a couple hours at the spa.

You get the idea.  This is about you.  This is about looking after you.  This is about changing how you feel, think about, and look at you.

Small shifts.  That's all it takes.  Shifts where you know the reason why you're shifting is for you. The result is, you'll take a step closer toward being all you were meant to be, for yourself as well as for others.                          

Shift.  Do it today.  I'm counting on you to do something for you, to begin your journey toward self-acceptance.  Don't put it off a minute longer.  You deserve this.  You really do.      

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