Cultivating a personal relationship with, and understanding of gender can be challenging for many trans and queer people. So in this blog, I'll be sharing three simple tips that will help you arrive at the truth gender - according to you.
If you are someone who is currently exploring the gender landscape… then you are most likely aware… that this world is overflowing with opinions, stories and ideas about what gender means… according to other people.
From Social media, to pop culture, to the beauty industry… it seems like everywhere we look… there is a steady stream of new, and ever evolving stories about gender. Which, on one hand… is an incredible blessing for trans people. Because now… we have access to so many different perspectives about what gender can look like.
However… on the other hand, this environment also creates a lot of challenges. Because now… we are being flooded with everyone else’s version of gender. From the opinions of your family, to your friends… and your therapist, and your partner, and your social media feed. all the books, and podcasts, and videos, and scientific studies.
And before you know it… you are drowning in a world full of opinions about gender. Which can be totally overwhelming, distracting, and even disempowering.
So in this blog… I am going to give you three simple tips… that will help you reclaim your individual, unique, autonomous relationship with gender.
Okay, let's get into it. Tip number one… Turn Away from the World
And what I mean by that… is to stop looking for the truth out there. In the beginning of your journey… yes, of course… draw inspiration from other people. This is a great way to jumpstart your exploration. But recognize, that relying on the opinions of others is just a stepping stone, along the way to something more specific to you.
And, the step that comes after learning from others. Is learning for yourself. but the only way that is going to happen… is if you create some space between you and everyone else. that way… you can start cultivating your own relationship with gender.
So, what does this look like in daily life?
Well… first, I recommend limiting your exposure to other peoples opinions. That means cutting back on social media. Turning off the television. Walking away from debates, and creating space between you and overly opinionated or critical people.
This is going to help create a buffer between you and the outside world. And mentally… just adopt an awareness that everything you hear from another person… is just their own story. Including what you hear from me. All I'm doing is talking about my personal relationship of gender. Which is going to be different than your relationship. So don't let my words… or anyone else's… come through that buffer… and turn into a proxy… for your personal truth.
Another way to approach this is imagining yourself as being totally transparent. And as you listen to other people talk… your job is to stay very present with your breath, and aware of your emotions… making sure not to grab ahold of what they are saying. Instead… you are just allowing information to flow in and out of your space.
And in addition to monitoring yourself during interactions with other people… its important to adopt a mindset of solitude.
This means taking the time to sit and hang out with yourself. Make yourself a priority. Go out of your way to engage in high quality introspection time. This is going to be one of the most valuable resources you have. So from now on… my challenge to you… is to take your alone time seriously… and immerse yourself in the experience of you.
Okay, moving on to tip number two…. Examine your Belief System.
This tip is about becoming more intimately familiar with your individual narrative. Or your personal story about gender. Because chances are very high… that contained within this story… are all sorts of confusing, limiting and even painful ideas about what gender is or isnt supposed to be. This is one of the negative consequences of being raised in, and continuing to live in an environment full of beliefs about gender.
Because inevitably… along the way… you are going to absorb a few unsupportive ideas, that will keep you from having a more direct, and authentic relationship with gender. Which means that a big part of your exploration into the truth of gender… is sifting through, and cleaning out everything that doesn’t support you. That way… when you engage with gender… you will do so without the baggage of a painful, and limiting story.
So what does this look like? Well… asking yourself questions is going to be the easiest way to get the process started. You can ask yourself things like… what does gender mean to me? What is my relationship with gender? What kind of feelings, and thoughts do I have about gender?
And when you come across a specific belief or opinion… be curious. Ask yourself, why do I believe this? Where did this belief come from? Is this a true belief? And If the belief doesn't feel good… ask yourself, who would I be, without this belief?
But don't have this conversation in your head. Instead write it down. Do a freehand, stream of consciousness, no rules attached exploration into your story about gender. Take 15 minutes to get as much out as you can. And after the time is up… just sit quietly and breath. If you want to focus on something… focus on providing a compassionate and nurturing environment for you emotions to express themselves in.
And then over the next few days… pay close attention to your daily life… and see if you can notice how much of your real life experience is connected to your narrative, or story about gender. Notice how your body and mind responds when your story is being activated. Are there any patterns, or themes, or ongoing dramas that are dominating your story?
And don't forget that the point of this isnt to become overly self critical. Instead, this is something you do because you are curious to learn about the narrative that you are acting out. That way… you can become more aware of how you are being effected… either positively of negatively by your story about gender.
Okay, moving on to tip number three… Give Yourself Permission.
Currently, the crux of the problem… is that you've become solidified within a narrative that says… this is what gender is, and this is what gender is not. And the process of breaking out of that storyline… is taking you beyond the horizon of what you currently know. Which is inherently scary.
So… this tip… is all about recognizing what the process is… and then giving yourself permission to go through it.
So when you come across intense emotions… like fear, confusion, or doubt… recognize that this is normal. This is what happens when you turn away from your comfort zone… and question the foundation of your relationship with gender.
So yes, you are supposed to feel growing pains. Yes, you are supposed to be challenged. Thats the whole point. And if you can give yourself permission to go through that process… then all of a sudden, those intense emotions aren't quite as intimidating anymore.
Because now, you realize that its okay to be a mess. Its okay to feel totally overwhelmed. Not only is it okay… but its to be expected. So when the discomfort presents itself… give it a smile… and when the fear shows up… Give it a hug.
This is what it means to go with the current, instead of fighting against it. Thats what this is all about. And its going to make your life a whole lot easier… if you can just give yourself permission to go through the process.
This means letting go of your expectations of how you think its supposed to be. And then saying yes to the process… as it presents itself to you. Even when its uncomfortable. And in those moments when your really in the middle of it…and you want to retreat back to your comfort zone… you stay present. And continue offering yourself to the process.
That way… your relationship with gender can unfold naturally and organically. And if you are ready to start engaging with gender in a way that is supportive, inclusive and empowering… then I recommend joining my remapping gender workshop.
In it… we will explore the creative expressive framework of this world. Which I call the ground of gender. And i’m going to guide you through the process of aligning yourself within that framework…. That way, you will be able to cultivate a deeper, more meaningful, more expansive relationship with gender. Its totally free. Check out this link for more info.
alright… thats it for now. Lets Talk soon.