Recently someone posted a beautiful video on Facebook that featured a man talking about his love for his gay brother and the discrimination he faced when he publicly acknowledged that love. The video brought me to tears because I have a cousin who is gay, but as I went to re-share it, I found myself hesitating and eventually deciding it wasn’t a good idea. I realized I was afraid of the negative response I might get if I did. It really bothers me that I held back to avoid being disapproved of. It bothers me that there is so much fear around the whole sexual orientation issue. Any advice on this?
It would be healthy for you (and all of us) to explore our fears on this topic.
(Just to clarify — this article is not about the political issues around same-sex marriage nor does it reflect the views of KSL or Deseret Media Corp. It only addresses the author’s ideas around choosing a love-based mindset toward all people and how fear can get in the way.)
I believe that we experience everything (and everyone) in this world from one of two places — fear or love. We have the power to consciously choose how we want to feel or think about any situation, but usually we don’t. We usually let our subconscious mind determine how we feel, and most of the time our subconscious mind is programmed to fear.
Many people experience fear around same-sex attraction because it triggers some of their subconscious fears. If you understand these fears, you will better understand their negative reactions. Here are some common subconscious programs of fear:
1. We may be subconsciously afraid of anyone who is different from us or who we don’t understand. Whether we are talking about someone from a different race or country, someone who is disabled, disfigured or whose sexual orientation is different, these differences can create discomfort. Just being around these people could push us out of our comfort zone. Sexual orientation is a tough one because most straight people can’t fathom how anyone could possibly be attracted to the same sex. They can’t get their head around it and we tend to fear anything we don’t understand. This subconscious program of fear around people who are different can result in pulling back, staying away and putting walls up. (This doesn’t happen for you or me because we have loved ones who are LGBT. We are more comfortable, so this fear doesn’t get triggered.)
2. We may be subconsciously programmed with a tendency toward judgment. This means if there are any two opposing ideas, we subconsciously assume one has to be right or better and the other wrong or worse. Because we would naturally like to be right, we subconsciously tend to see “anyone who is different” as wrong or bad. We subconsciously cast other groups of people as the bad guys, just because they’re different. We may also subconsciously look for evidence to support their being bad and conveniently ignore our own bad behavior. (LGBT people may also fear and judge straight people for this same reason.)
3. This issue could trigger the two core fears: loss and failure. Some people fear that support for LGBT issues could make them lose their rights to believe what they believe. Some are afraid accepting same-sex attraction as normal could mean losing their children, and this would signify failure as a parent. Same-sex attraction can make some people feel unsafe and trigger both of these deep-seated fears — and people tend to behave badly and get very defensive when these fears get triggered. (Again, straight people can also trigger the fear of loss and failure in LGBT people.)
4. We may be scared of what others think of us. Some people are afraid if they seem at all sympathetic or open to people who are different, they could be seen “that way” or be looked down on. The fear of what other people think of us is a deep-seated fear that drives a large percentage of our behavior. (It is the reason you held back from posting that video.) But it is also an illusion because what other people think of you cannot change, affect or diminish you in any way, unless you let it. The world would be such a better place if we let love guide our actions instead of our fear of being judged.
I believe the way out of our subconscious fears is adopting principles of truth and consciously choosing a love-based mindset. Here are some principles I believe can guide us to a better mindset:
An individual, unique, irreplaceable human soul is the most valuable thing on this planet. If we are all irreplaceable, then our value is infinite and absolute. I therefore believe we all have the same infinite value, regardless of our individual differences. Our value is the same. This means we should never see another human being as intrinsically less than us, and we all deserve the same level of respect, honor and compassion.
The purpose and point of our being on this planet is to learn and love, and more specifically to learn to love. Life is a classroom, and you are here to stretch and grow. To facilitate your lessons, there are people and situations placed all around you to show you the “limits of your love” (a phrase coined by Marianne Williamson). Everything in the universe is here to teach us how to choose love over fear. Maybe we need people who are different to give us a chance to see the limits of our love so we can stretch and learn to love at a deeper level.
This means learning to forgive, honor and respect all men. You do not have to agree with them and you do not have to participate in their lives, but you do have to honor their rights, and it would be a good idea to refrain from judgment or attack and declaring anyone as worthy of rejection.
If you choose a mindset of judgment and rejection, you must understand you are sentencing yourself to the same. This is true because there are only two mindset options, and whichever you subconsciously choose for others, you choose for yourself as well. If you choose to dwell in fear (judgment, condemning and attack) you will also experience a subconscious fear of judgment and being attacked by others. This will create unease and is not a peaceful place to live.
If you choose to dwell in love (forgiving, accepting and edifying others) you will subconsciously feel accepted, loved and safe in the world. This is just how your subconscious mind works. You project out your own inner state and whatever you put out dwells within you.
I highly recommend you choose a mindset of love. Let go of your fears around what others think of you and remember that your value is infinite and absolute so you cannot be diminished by anyone. Choose a mindset of acceptance and forgiveness so you will feel accepted and forgiven. Make all your choices (like posting the video) a love choice, not a fear choice. Don’t do anything for a fear-based reason.
Remember that if anyone has a problem with your choice and chooses to judge you, it says more about them (and their choice to live in fear) than it says about you.
Hope this helps.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.