Hiding any part of your identity can feel overwhelming.
It can make you feel like you have something to be ashamed of, or that there is something “wrong” with you that people won’t accept.
If you’re hiding your sexual identity, it’s important to know—first and foremost—that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that everyone in your life will accept things so easily. Chances are, you already know that. So, what can you do to cope with the stress that comes from hiding your sexuality? How can you handle keeping it in each day, knowing that opening up could change everything?
Accept Who You Are
The first step in coping with the stress of hiding your sexuality is “coming out” to yourself. You might be trying to repress things so deeply that you haven’t fully accepted who you are and how you want to live.
Simply put, you could be “hiding” from yourself without realizing it.
The stronger you feel about your identity, the more confidence you’ll gain. It’s easy to have low self-esteem when you’re worried about what the people around you will think about your sexuality. But, when you accept who you are and you’re proud of it, it won’t be as difficult to cope with the stress of keeping it from others.
Confide in Caring People
Just because you feel like you have to hide your sexuality from certain people doesn’t mean you have to hide it from everyone.
Many people think of “coming out” as a big lightbulb moment where you tell everyone in your life about your sexuality at once. It doesn’t usually happen like that. You can make the process easier on yourself by confiding in one or two people who you know will be supportive and caring.
Even having one person you can talk to about your sexuality will make a big difference in your stress levels. Not only will you feel the support you deserve, but they may be able to guide you on how to open up to others in your life.
Explore Your Sexual Identity
It’s important to feel comfortable with your own sexuality. Hiding it doesn’t always make it that easy. So, don’t be afraid to explore what you like and what interests you. Thanks to technology, there are plenty of ways to connect with other people who might be going through similar situations.
You can find support groups online, read through forums, or even join virtual meetings and hangouts that will allow you to meet like-minded people and explore more about yourself in the process.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
When you decide to finally open up about your sexuality is a personal choice. In the meantime, you’ll find it easier to cope with the stress of hiding it by prioritizing your mental and physical health.
Practice mindfulness and meditation. Journal. Exercise every day and cook healthy meals for yourself. Self-care is incredibly important when you’re under stress, so make it a goal to do at least one thing every day that provides you some happiness and relaxation.
Prioritizing your well-being should also include talking to someone about your sexuality. If you’re too nervous to open up to a friend or family member, consider reaching out for professional help. You might still be struggling with why you feel the need to hide, and a mental health professional can help you work through those anxious thoughts.
Feel free to contact us if you find yourself in this situation. No matter why you’re hiding your sexuality, managing your stress until you’re ready to open up is crucial. Together, we’ll work on effective ways to cope.