Thank you so much for writing this Eric. I am finally working on self acceptence and love how my life is already changing. Thank you for sharing this.

I am happy to hear that, Alex, and I hope you find it as true for you as I found it for me. It started with a challenge from my therapist. His assertion was that others tended to avoid getting to close to me ironically because of the strong "don't get too close to me" vibe I was giving off. The paradox was that my fears of rejection caused me to be defensive, which in turn ensured that others would react in kind. When you send off the vibe "don't get too close", people will subconsciously comply.

His challenge was that I live a week not hiding anything (although not necessarily volunteering anything). That's all it took. Ten years later, I am enjoying a lot of quality friendship and the deep anxiety I used to feel is largely a thing of the past. The friends I do have are true ones who know me well - both gay and straight.

We are so very good at hiding. For me, it was challenging to let that go because it meant survival at one point. But it offered me nothing, and ultimately was a burden worth shedding.