Published on July 28th, 2014 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles
Gay, Happy and Free!
by Paul Novello
You’ve heard it countless times that happiness comes from within, and this is absolutely true. Yet it’s also a fact that we sometimes need external motivation in order for us to achieve what makes us happy. Everyone has a different idea of what they need to be happy. No matter what it is, we all desire joy in our lives.
As gay men, we sometimes look outside of ourselves and make comparisons. We may feel that we come up short in some way. We don’t have the right body. We don’t make or have as much money as our friends. We don’t even have so many friends. We don’t travel and lead exciting lives like other gay guys we know.
If you’re like me, you may have often wondered, Where do I fit in? I know I’m gay, but I don’t always relate to what’s expected of me as a gay man. Well, the truth is, when you come to realize and accept that you don’t have to fit into anyone’s mold of what it means to be a gay man, freedom and happiness ensue. You now get to create your life in your own unique way. You step into the driver’s seat, and you become the leader of your life.
Here are a few tips you can use as a guide to live authentically and increase your happiness:
Acknowledge your need to be happy. Although most of us say we want to be happy not everyone has a strong enough desire to make it their primary goal. We get bogged down by life’s challenges, which can lead us into frustration, anger and even depression. Although we may not always have control over what happens in our lives, we definitely have control over our thoughts, interpretations, and reactions to life events. Ask yourself: Do I want to be right or happy? What is most important here? Then refocus your attention on your emotional well-being. What would make you feel better in this moment?
Let go of the status quo. If your life no longer feels like it fits who you are, it’s time to be honest with yourself. Give up the need to be like everyone else. Stop behaving in preconceived ways because you are gay and think you must live accordingly. You don’t have to live an “image” of what it means to be gay. Learn to live authentically by being true to yourself, not what society or anyone else dictates to you.
Know what makes you tick. Every individual is different in the way they perceive happiness. Although we all share the basic goal of happiness in life, we may have dissimilar outlooks on how to get there. One man’s heaven is another man’s hell. Understanding your personality and preferences will give you clarity on what makes you happy and how you can remain in that state for longer and longer periods of time.
Discover the things that make you happy. Start to brainstorm and make a list of the things that bring you joy. Jot down everything and be truthful. This may include material items, or intangible ones like being loved by someone, getting your dream job, traveling around the world, and so forth. Engaging in activities, and spending time with people, in places, and with things that bring you joy on a more frequent basis will definitely increase your happiness.
Make an action plan. Once you have identified items on your list that are crucial for your happiness, it’s time for implementation. Set goals that are aligned with your authentic self; develop a plan, and make a commitment to make them happen.
Seek support. No man is an island. We all need support and encouragement. Locate a mentor, therapist, or life coach who can support you in achieving your goals. Make an investment in yourself. You are your number one asset. Don’t neglect yourself. Give yourself the gift of someone who can fully support you on your journey.
Get moving and be happy. Remember, as you shoot for happiness you must also savor the journey and choose to be happy each day. In every stage of life we can always find things to be grateful for. Acknowledge your achievements and be grateful for your life as it is right now. You can still set goals while embracing the now. Cultivate the positive feelings you experience as you move forward, knowing you are on the path to being all you want to be. You’ll discover that you are already a much happier guy!
Paul Novello, L.C.S.W., C.L.C., B.C.C. is an author, therapist, and life coach in New York City. Paul created and developed Life Solutions for Gay Men , a personal development resource to empower gay men to achieve personal, professional and financial success. He provides life coaching to get you from where you are to where you want to be in any life area you want to improve. Paul is a highly sought after coach and consultant. He works with numerous organizations, including: Fortune 500 financial firms, law firms, healthcare companies, small businesses, and non-profit organizations.