Why do many gay men take things personally.
Why do gay men take things very personally?
I think that gay men take things personally because they are more sensitive. The sensitivity comes from the negative experiences of meeting and interacting with other gay men socially and inside romantic relationships.
Breakups, rejections, criticisms during interactions can deregulate any gay man emotionally, even the strongest one.
Most gay men are “on guard”. We are more imbalanced emotionally than straight people. Whenever someone offers feedback, we often leash out on them, we get personal, we attack them or we shut down and internalize the comments.
It all starts with connecting the criticism to our identity. This is called internalization. When someone makes negative comments, we assume that they are true and we “swallow” those comments like food even though they are not true.
Then, after a few days or weeks we become angry at ourselves for accepting those negative comments (as opposed to fighting back) and we transfer our anger onto the gay men around us. This is why many gay men are angry all the time. It is a toxic cycle.
Here is how it works:
Let’s say you wanted to started a business 2 years ago and you haven’t’ started it yet. You probably are angry and guilty about procrastinating about it. Then when someone asks you about your business, you end up exploding with anger and criticisms, you end up projecting your own anger and guilt onto him. You may end up calling him names, making character judgments and in the worst case rejecting and abandoning him.
How projection works:
You hold inside you anger and guilt about past failures related to money, relationships or body. When someone talks about them, you look at those comments as attacks because you still are angry and guilty.
There is something about ourselves that is incomplete that we allowed to be left unchecked that we neglected to pay attention to, that we have distracted ourselves from. And when someone points out to that direction, we go “crazy” and we unleash a lot of anger, a lot of venom and we go after the person instead of taking full responsibility.
That I believe is the foundation for why we take things personally. And here is a quick fix…
How to stay cool and avoid taking things personally:
One of the fastest way to come out of taking things personally is just to simply accept yourself – accept yourself that it is tougher to start a business, accept yourself that it is tougher to find a lover, accept yourself that it is not as easy as you thought.
- That it’s okay to be single.
- It’s okay not to have a lot of money.
- It’s okay not to have to have that perfect body.
And when you start accepting yourself more – when you really start to accept yourself, all of a sudden when someone says: “Hey – where is your date, I haven’t seen you dating anybody, what’s going on with that?” – then as opposed to taking it personally as an attack, you are going to say:
“Well, I have tried many things and it didn’t work and I decided that I am going to take a break to get my strength back and I am going to try a little bit later. Right now I am a bit weak I don’t want to do it.”
With such answer, you no longer take things personally, you have accepted yourself with your current situation and you then have a healthier response, healthier communication and healthier relationships.
It works the same way in business and with your body image.
When someone comes up to you and says: “Hey, looks like you are putting on some weight” – you no longer reply with anger. Instead, when you accept yourself, when you surrender yourself to your current situation, the response will be: “I tried exercising and dieting and it didn’t work for me and right now I am just going to be where I am. I am not ready to try again. I am going to start in a couple weeks.”
You no longer take comments about your body personally. Your responses are casual and without anxiety. The other person doesn’t trigger you anymore and you recognize that you are okay.
You are okay the way you are and acceptance of yourself becomes a very powerful tool in not allowing other people “break you”.
Try it out: accept yourself in whatever category you struggle in and you will notice that you no longer take things personally that you no longer are upset when somebody reminds you of how overweight you are, or how little money you have or how alone or single you are.
- Accept yourself alone.
- Accept yourself single.
- Accept your past and present failures.
- Accept yourself with the money that you have or you don’t have.
- Accept yourself with the chunky, overweight body that you have.
And life becomes a different experience.