If Only I Was the Person My Dog Thinks I Am

A cute saying but maybe we are already the person our dog thinks we are. Maybe deep down however we fail to congratulate ourselves, for not only surviving as a gay person in a straight world, but also failing to appreciate our personal life successes. I am convinced we don’t love ourselves enough and in doing so we negatively affect our self-esteem.

We made it through childhood feeling a bit of an outsider, struggled when we found out we were gay, finally accepted it and then marched on into the world seeking validation from family and others. For many of us growing up was a much harder journey than that of our straight friends, who already had an easy blue print to follow for societal acceptance. So let’s congratulate ourselves for this personal resilience and courage.

Then off we went to find: a career in the world, somewhere to live, flat mates, further study, lovers, ways to tackle the gay scene, new friends and also stay connected to our family along the way. So we are hugely successful.

Because human brains have a negative bias we often however allow negative self-talk that says we are not sexy enough, successful enough, rich enough, social enough, creative enough, or overall just not good enough.

Our minds are full of noise and crap thinking about our selves and others. We face a constant barrage of thoughts and feelings relevant to past events and nothing whatsoever to do with here and now living reality. Some of the noise is often not true and merely is a collection of distorted recollections and personal positions.

Do you know what I am talking about? Those feelings you have about work colleagues or the boss, the friend you don’t see any more or the lover you have issues with. Try this, think of nothing when next interacting. Feel the freedom of not judging. Hear what they have to say without any perception filters.

Maybe there is room for improving how we interact with the world? Maybe we could challenge ourselves more to be healthier? Maybe we could engage in more worthy activities and maybe we could try to be a better partner, friend or work colleague? We can decide to do this and still love ourselves at the same time for being our authentic self.

The one thing dogs always do, that humans don’t, is offer unconditional positive regard. They give us a big welcome and every meeting is a new invitation for positive interaction. Maybe we have a lot to learn from our doggy friends.

To get in touch with the authentic you, that your dog sees, try meditation for a few minutes at the beginning of each day. See the free phone ap, “Take a Break”. Also I highly recommend every gay man reads the book, “Velvet Rage” by Alan Downs, who discusses how you can better get in touch with your authentic self.

Gerry North is a gay couple and general counsellor treating depression, anxiety, sexual issues and addictions. Email: gerrynorthcounsellor@gmail.com

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