Doubting your transness

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“When we replace the question “Am I sure I’m trans?” with the question “Based on the evidence that is available, and what my thoughts, behaviours, past and feelings suggest, what is more likely: that I’m trans or that I’m cis?” -Natalie Reed in The Null HypotheCis

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You’re here because, like most non-cis, you struggle with doubt. Am I really trans? Will I always feel this way? What if I detransition? Therapists and doctors have compounded this issue by serving as gatekeepers. We require clients to prove that they are trans enough without requiring clients to supply sufficient evidence to the contrary that you are cis enough. *If your therapeutic relationship feels this way you need to address that with them and/or find another counselor.
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To go a bit deeper, if you’re looking for certainty of your gender identity in order to continue or move forward with transition (defined broadly) then you are creating an impossible situation for yourself. You will always have those “what if” thoughts. Identity is a subjective experience and therefore cannot be 100% objectively verified by hard sciences. Reed elaborates:

Maybe someday we’ll have brain scans that can analyze the parts of the brain that are “atypical” (or, as I’ve taken to saying, extraordinary) in gender variant individuals and thereby determine whether or not you have the neurological features that indicate a predisposition to transgenderism, the best it could do is determine a predisposition. Such a system could never ethically be used as a singular, definitive diagnostic tool, and given the subjectivity and self-determined nature of gender, there’d still be an abundance of “false positives” and “false negatives” (though even those concepts don’t make much sense).
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Therefore, the task of defining your gender identity falls solely on you. You must learn how to navigate doubt when it arises in your mind. Be able to look it straight in the eyes and familiarize ourselves with its presence–become friends, if you will. Resistance will only cause the doubt to expand and take up more space and energy.
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If you would like to learn more about how to develop this capacity in yourself set up an appointment with me at bogart-monteith@pridecounselingcenter.com and let’s get started!

You are the Source.

Don’t look for it outside yourself.
You have a channel into the ocean,
and yet you ask for water from a little pool.
There is a basket of fresh bread on your head,
and yet you go door to door asking for crusts.
Knock on your inner door. No other.
Sloshing knee-deep in fresh riverwater, yet
you keep wanting a drink from other people’s waterbags.
Meditate only on THAT.
-Rumi

New Years resolutions are often unsuccessful because that which is unconscious has greater capacity to influence behavior than what we consciously know and want. In the reverse, if we illuminate that which is unconscious we gain the power to change just about anything.

NRE: New Relationship Energy

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NRE is an acronym the poly community created for the all too common stage in the beginning of a relationship–the honeymoon phase. Most of us have been there: the heightened enthusiasm, long conversations bleeding into the night, getting aroused by brushing hands. In western culture, we like to call this phenomenon: falling in love. While beautiful and certainly delicious, I am here tell you that this isn’t really love at all. Instead, I want you label this sensation NRE: new relationship energy.  Could this remarkable person be the long awaited solution to my loneliness, past woundedness, and future dreams?  Albert Camus writes:

We fall in love with people because, from the outside, they look so whole, physically whole and emotionally ‘together’ – when subjectively we feel dispersed and confused. We would not love if there were no lack within us.

So then, what is true love?

However matched, love is a skill. Alain de Botton further comments, “Loving is inner work.” As a relationship therapist, couples contact me when the new relationship energy has worn off and doubt has taken its place–am I with the wrong person? The answer to that question may definitively be yes! Concrete reasons to leave a relationship exist. But most often, I get clients plagued with bored, sexually frustrated, smothered, and wondering if they have fallen out of love. The opposite is true. You are now ready to love.

Selective Ignorance

Today, in our climate of faux and sensational media, information is being fed to us like sipping from a firehose. Living in this constant state creates compassion fatigue, elevated anxiety, and powerlessness. More than ever, there is a need to cultivate a practice of selective ignorance. Urban dictionary defines selective Ignorance: as selectively ignoring distracting, irrelevant, or otherwise unnecessary information received, such as e-mails, news reports, etc. Here are three concrete action steps to start implementing selective ignorance and gain your power back:

1. Start Batching

Batching is scheduling time to check email, make phone calls/txt messages, social media, etc… In practice, you commit your effort to completing these tasks during the allotted timeframe and then refrain from further engagement during the rest of your day.

2. Create Auto-Responders

Dear all!

I read my emails twice a day at 10a and 4p. For urgent matters if you need a response before this time, please text me at XXXXX XXXXX.

Thank you for understanding.

3. Apply the 80/20 principle to your tasks

Evaluate your news sources, social media platforms, subscriptions, etc… Which 20% give me the most bang for my buck?  Which ones are a waste? Eliminate clutter and invest in what gives you the most output.

What can I get rid of?

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According to the 80/20 rule, most of what you spent your time on is wasted energy. But there are a “vital few” experiences that greatly increase your happiness. In a recent episode on the Tim Ferriss show, Tim recommends that you sit down with your 2016 calendar, budget, journal and ask two questions:
  1. What 20% of experiences produced the majority (80%) of my happiness?
  2. Conversely, what 20% of people or activities are creating 80% of my stress and consuming the large majority of my time?
The challenge? Eliminate the waste and invest in what really makes you happy. If you’d like to learn more about applying this model to your life email me and let’s get started!