The Happiness Connection  

Are you still in the closet?

Coming out of the closet is a commonly used expression to describe people who are LBGTQ coming to terms with their sexuality and sharing who they are openly.

Frequently, they pretend to be someone they aren’t to fit the expectations of family and society. No one wants to be rejected by their tribe.

Pretending you are someone you aren’t can be exhausting and soul shattering.

This may not be a situation you have to cope with, but have you ever stopped to think that you may also need to come out of a closet?

Do you let others get to know the real you, or do you hide certain parts of yourself from family and friends for fear you will be judged, criticized, or rejected?

Do you do things because they are expected, not because you want to? Do you have beliefs that you keep to yourself because you worry how they will be interpreted by others?

I recently had a conversation with a group of friends. One of them talked about the process she is going through as she comes out of a spiritual closet.

Her mom has very strong religious beliefs. My friend was raised with these, but no longer shares them. Until recently, she hid her new attitudes from her mother.

She isn’t the only person I know who is navigating their way through a break with the views they were raised with. It feels liberating to embrace a philosophy that resonates with you, but it can be intimidating to share that with people you think might judge you, or stop loving you.

Living a life that you hate can also cause you to shut away the real you. Feeling that you must put your life on hold to care for an aging relative, or to make the best of a bad marriage for the sake of the children will stifle you.

If you do it because you believe it is for the best and you want to, that is one thing. Feeling it is something you have to do because it is expected, is completely different.

I’ve made some major changes this year because I knew carrying on with the way things were would eventually breed resentment in me. Putting what I wanted into a closet for the sake of others wouldn’t serve anyone if it resulted in anger and bitterness.

My parents are 89 and 91. They are still relatively independent. They would love to have me spend more time with them and be their personal chauffeur, but they also understand that I run a business and have a life of my own.

We have talked openly about how we feel and have come to a solution that serves us all. This wouldn’t have happened if I had tucked what I was trying to accomplish into a cupboard and became a full-time companion.

It also wouldn’t have helped them remain independent.

Unless you have taken the time to become more conscious of who you are, you may never have considered whether you need to come out of a closet. If you are unhappy with your life, this might be something to explore further.

What do you want? What are your values? How would you spend your last day if that was today?

The happiest people have alignment between who they are on the inside and the person they show to the world.

If you haven’t taken much time for self-discovery and self-reflection, it is never too late to get started. Delve deep and get more intimately acquainted with the real you.

The more you know and understand yourself, the easier it is to honor who you are and care less about the opinions of others.

Are you hiding anything in a closet? If so, perhaps it is time to come out. There are people out there who will love the you that’s been hiding. Give them a chance to see you.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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