A Limiting Label

***DISCLAIMER***

Although this post may sound as though I’m upset with myself, I’m not.  I’m just trying to figure things out about myself.

I’m in a class called Sociology, Science, and Religion.  I really like it a lot.  It is so interesting to learn about how religion and society influence each other.  We recently learned about something called the Thomas Theorem.  In my professors words the Thomas Theorem is this:

“If a person defines something as being real, it is real in it’s consequences.”

I didn’t completely understand what he meant by this statement, but he clarified it through an example.  In the days of American slavery, blacks were treated as though they were less than human.  Because they were treated like this, they actually were less than human in a lot of peoples eyes, including their own.  Someone defined them as being less than human, and it’s consequences followed.

I’ve always known that someones perception of a person is very powerful.  I especially learned this on my mission.  If I treated my investigators like they were dumb children, I would get responses from them that reinforced that belief in them and me.  I had one companion who was particularly difficult and actually did act like a child.  It was so hard to not treat him like that.  I wanted him to act like an adult, so I treated him like an adult.  I was with him for three months, and he grew so much in those three months.  I don’t want to take all the glory for it, but I do believe that beceause I treated him differently than he had been treated by other companions, he was able to grow up a bit.

I think that being attracted to guys may be doing the same thing to me.  Sometimes I identify myself as a gay man.  Sometimes I identify myself as someone who struggles with Same Gender Attraction.  I usually don’t know what I want.

Why do I do this to myself?

If I define myself as someone who struggles with same gender attraction or as a gay man, then I consequently become that person.  In my first post I wrote about how this is my struggle.  It is a part of who I am, not who I am.  Unfortunately, I’m letting it become who I am.  It often consumes my thoughts, and I don’t like that.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that I should go back to lying to myself and telling myself that I’m not attracted to men.  I am.  I’m not ashamed of it.  It is a part of who I am.  What I am saying is that I’ve began to let this define myself, and I don’t like that.  It has caused me to go out of balance.  I’m limiting who I am because I’m identifying myself so much with this particular label.  I tell myself that I won’t get married.  I tell myself that it will never go away.  I tell myself that if I tell people, they will judge me and hate me.  I tell myself so many things about this that I actually believe them.

I don’t want to limit myself anymore.  I want to live life without reservation. I hate when people tell themselves (or worse, when they tell other people) that they can’t do a particular thing.  Why not?  The only thing stopping us from living to our true desires is ourselves.

I’m not going to do that to myself anymore.

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6 Responses

  1. So you have discovered the principle that “perception is reality.” Very true in so many ways. The corollary is that we must always be open to new information and willing to change, hopefully for the better. The Savior called that being humble and teachable.

    I agree that it’s probably a mistake to build one’s whole life and outlook around one characteristic, whether it’s being gay or something else. Balance, that’s the key. “Moderation in all things.”

  2. 🙂 You’re awesome. You’re very correct in what you said. I’ve also found that the more you can occupy yourself with life outside of homosexuality, the less homosexual you feel. So, depending on what you want, you can really change the flavor of your experiences in life depending on the things that you let occupy your thoughts. You’re awesome man. It was awesome to see you and your parents last Monday. Really man, love you and I hope you have a great day. 🙂

  3. I REALLY enjoyed that. It sure made me think about the MANY labels I’ve put on myself. Thanks for sharing that!

  4. I really appreciate your thoughts. I need to be reminded of how our self-labeling can affect us. Amen to what Alan and Robert said.

  5. It’s true that self-perception is a very powerful thing, though I’m skeptical about how far it can go. While it’s true that I think of myself as shy and that then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, I don’t think that if I really thought of myself as a super-outgoing extrovert I could keep it up for too long, at least not being comfortable with it. Certainly I could use more of that kind of thinking, but I don’t know that I can change my fundamental personality 180 degrees. But hey, one could argue that I just defeated any chance of had of doing so by not believing I can 🙂

    My point is that I will never tell you or anyone that they can’t do anything, but if we’re unable to change something, don’t get too down about it. I can always have the goal of being less socially awkward, so it can always be something for me to work on improving.

    I don’t know if any of that made much sense, but I really did like that quote at the beginning of your post and it is making me want to try harder to treat myself and those around me more like we should be, in all respects. That story of your mission companion is awesome; that’s definitely how things work.

  6. AMEN BRO!

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