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Maybe It's Time to Come Out of the Closet

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.: Wed, Nov 20th 2013

The reality is that life at times is hard. The other reality is that many of us don’t like to share the hard parts of life. Sometimes we keep it so tucked into our vest that it turns into chronic stress that leads to anxiety, depression, sleep problems, flues, heart disease and even cancer. Gay advocate Ash Beckham recently spoke at a TEDx talk in Boulder Colorado talking about why even straight people need to come out of the closet. 

She says that we all have things that we hide and that at times holding them close to us can feel safe. At times we rank each other’s closets that one is more difficult to be in than the other. That only goes to breed further insecurity. Ultimately she says a closet is a closet and “a closet is no place to live.”

To me she is taking her own experience of coming out of the closet as a Gay advocate and recognizing the common humanity behind vulnerability and suffering.  

Keeping that closet closed and not processing it literally causes dis-ease or Ash says, “When you keep the truth about yourself a secret, you are essentially holding a grenade.” 

So here comes the tough question: What closet are you hiding in? 

What makes you feel vulnerable that you have difficulty admitting? Maybe it’s to be intimate with a friend or partner or to voice an unpopular opinion. Maybe it’s that you’ve been suffering in quiet with anxiety, depression or some past trauma. Whatever it is, it may be time to come out of the closet. 

Ash has what she calls “3 Pancake Principles:” 

  1. Be Authentic – take the armor off, be yourself

  2. Be Direct – Just say it, rip the band aid off

  3. Be Unapologetic 

Experiment with how you might start stepping out of your closets. 

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Workô program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Tell the truth - MN Kingcb - Nov 11th 2014

  I had to tell the truth to my mother that I was gay/lesbian recently and for my own health it was best I did. I do not have a weighed down heart anymore. I love myself even more  now. I do not believe it is fair that because of other people's dislikes, LBGT suffer relentlessly. I refused to be weighed down,emotionally and mentally. It takes a toll on you to be closeted.

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