Tough conversations often create discomfort and can lead to avoidance. There may be reluctance to speak up due to fear of consequences. What will people think? How do I manage my own anxiety? Consider for a moment that remaining silent during tough conversations also communicates a message. What message do you wish to convey?
As we look toward 2021, many of us may take time to reflect on resolutions and intentions to carry into the upcoming new year. For those who struggle with disordered eating and poor body image, this time of year may be especially challenging due to the constant rhetoric and messages around programs designed for weight loss. If you are in recovery from an eating disorder, diet culture’s strong presence during this time may activate parts of you to feel ambivalent around your recovery goals. This is normal and this does not mean you are failing for having those thoughts. You are not alone!
The holidays can be a tough time of year, especially for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, queer, intersexed, agender, asexual, and ally community who experience homophobia during holiday gatherings. We all need to feel physically and emotionally safe, to feel connected within relationship. If these elements are not present or lacking in family gatherings, individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community can feel especially vulnerable to rejection which can exacerbate underlying mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
Feeling the pressure to fit in with what one’s friends or family are doing this holiday season can be stressful! After all, it seems easier to “give in” [and conform] than to “rock the boat” and go against others’ expectations.
What may have started out as tradition may begin to feel like an overwhelming obligation. It might begin to feel as though others have control of your schedule and choices. I “have” to visit this person, then I “have” to visit that person. I “have” to make this, then I “have” to make that. I have to buy…I have to go…I have to do… !!
The sad fact is that individuals in the LGBTQ+ community often feel as if they are wearing a “mask” every day of the year. Imagine what it would be like to feel that your true identity was hidden–feeling pressure to conform, especially when it often does not feel safe to express your gender identity or sexual orientation.