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  • Writer's pictureChris Tompkins

Being Authentically Proud

Updated: May 11, 2020

Last week I was speaking at a high school and a young girl asked me whether or not I loved myself. I was there to share with them my experience of coming out and I told them loving myself wasn’t something I knew how to do when I was younger. She then asked me, “how do you love yourself?”

I told her, “it begins with letting go of who you think you should be and embracing who you are.”

I let them know if there was one thing they take away from what I share, it’s to love themselves.

After I left the school, I started to think about closure and how so many of us never experience it from past relationships or painful endings. Not all of us experience something painful in high school, but for a lot of youth, they do.

Time and time again whenever I teach a class or speak at a school, I hear stories about bullying. I have family members who were bullied. When I was in high school I was bullied. I wasn’t beat up or physically abused, but the type of bullying I experienced was silent. I was ignored. I was left out. I wasn’t invited.

Whenever we’re bullied, or mistreated by someone seemingly more powerful, we learn to shut parts of ourselves down and become someone we’re not in order to fit in. I used to jokingly tell people I could’ve won an Oscar for the role I played in high school and college. I was so good at fitting in, I wound up forgetting who I actually was.

What’s helped me remember is sharing. Sharing what’s important to me and sharing from my heart. I believe that by sharing authentically our experiences, we help empower ourselves and others. A few months ago I gave a TEDx talk whose message is one I hope to share with the world. The purpose of my talk is to encourage acceptance and prevent bullying.

June is Pride month for the LGBT community and our allies. The way I see it, in order for us to be authentically proud, we have to be willing to embrace our humility. In order to embrace our humility, we have to look at where we’ve been and what we’ve been through. It means taking a look at the parts of ourselves we once feared and tried to ignore. The parts we bullied ourselves.

This has been a practice I’ve cultivated over the years and it’s allowed me to experience closure where I didn’t think closure was once necessary or even possible. When we forgive and heal ourselves, there’s an energy that goes out into the Universe and returns to us as experience. Full-circle moments happen in our lives and the wounds we thought couldn’t be healed, become sealed.

I personally believe that closure is a gift we receive when forgiveness is truly given. I also believe having closure is nothing short of a miracle.

Yesterday I received a miracle. The Assistant Principal from my high school emailed me to invite me to speak to their faculty about bullying. I was invited to share the topic of my TEDx talk with my old school’s administration. Within the halls I once hid, I will now be fully seen. The message I hope to share with the world, will be heard by people who reside in the place I used to fear.

I never thought I needed, or even wanted, closure from my high school experience. I mean, it wasn’t all bad. But sometimes our hearts want something our minds can’t comprehend. And sometimes, our souls need something in order to expand even more.

I used to think closure wasn’t guaranteed. Especially when it came to something deeply painful, I used to think some scars have to heal on their own.

What I’ve since learned is that when we can embrace who we are, love ourselves, and we’re willing to forgive others for their mistakes, we experience closure no matter what happened in the past. The closure our heart desires already exists. It just takes us being aligned and ready to fully receive the miracle it has to offer.

May you experience the closure your heart desires with anything holding you back from experiencing more love. May you embrace your humility to be truly Proud and may this Pride season bring you many miracles.

For more information on my TEDx talk, click here.

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