Being Yourself is Enough

Being Yourself Is Enough: LGBTQ+ Edition

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By Kyla Winlow, LCSW

“Being enough” is a theme throughout Brené Brown’s books. One quote from both Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfections that always resonates with me is, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.” It has become a mantra for me in many areas of my life including my identity as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

I often hear people talk about their experience of feeling like they don’t fit into a community. I hear things like, “I am not feminine enough, masculine enough, gay enough,” and the list goes on. Where do these messages come from? Sometimes they come from within the LGBTQ+ community, sometimes from the outside world, and sometimes from us. I grew up feeling like I didn’t fit in, especially not in the LGBTQ+ community.  I often received feedback from people confirming that belief-they would say, “Well, you don’t look gay.” Or “But you’re pretty!” The pretty comment really ruffles my feathers but that’s a whole separate blog post. This led me to explore how I want to express myself to the outside world. Should I only wear flannels (I do love flannels) or can I still wear dresses sometimes? Should I only have short hair?

Should I have a more masculine presentation? Or maybe a more feminine one? Here’s what I have discovered and continue to discover: I am the perfect amount of queer-I am enough. And you are too. Other people’s expectations or understandings of what we should look like are exactly that-their own expectations. YOU get to choose what makes you feel like the most authentic version of yourself. You don’t have to try to fit into any box.

Here are some things that continue to help me settle into and flourish in my identity:

  • Notice. Notice what makes you feel your best. This can change day to day. This is also an opportunity to bring some mindfulness into daily activities: What are you feeling as you get ready for the day? What makes you feel that you are being true to yourself? What are the stories you are telling yourself: Are you making decisions based on what you want or what you think other people expect?
  • Accept. Accept whatever it is that makes you feel your best. This is important. If you feel like your authentic self when you are strutting your stuff in heels and a dress then give yourself permission to accept that piece of you. Again, this can be an opportunity to invite some mindfulness into the moment. One technique I use is pausing to place a hand on my chest, take a deep breath, and offering myself acceptance. “I am enough,” or “I accept this piece of me.”
  • Do It. Do what brings you joy. When you accept yourself for who you are today, in this moment, you allow yourself to be free. And remember, whatever you are doing is enough. You are enough.

If you liked this post, you might also like our post on Tips For Coming Out At Work or What’s Next After Marriage Equality?

If you feel that we could be of assistance to you or a loved one, do not hesitate to contact us to make a counseling appointment or get more information about LGBT counseling on our dedicated page.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash