How to accept yourself as bisexual

Humans are social animals, and it’s much easier for us to believe in ourselves if the people around us do so as well. Of course, this may be easier in college or in a city. Many people have fears about things they are not familiar with. Sometimes they even refuse to accept new things, although it sounds backward or even ridiculous, but there are such people. The word bisexuality has been around for a long time, but there are still many people who don’t really understand its meaning, and even think that bisexuality is disgusting. Once it happens to yourself, will feel unacceptable. Here are some tips, maybe can help you understand how to accept yourself as a bisexual.
1.Understand Your Real Sexual Orientation.

To clearly evaluate a new thing, you must first understand everything clearly, and then you have the right to say your own ideas. I believe that when people first realize that they are bisexual, they are more confused and doubt whether their judgment is wrong. If you really understand bisexuality, you will not be afraid to face and will not reject it.
2. Bravely Face The Sarcasm of Others.

Many people are reluctant to accept that they are bisexual, mostly because they are afraid of other people’s cynicism, fear of other people’s language and personal attacks. And some of them are shy, they need time and space to let them slowly accept the fact that they are bisexual. Don’t shy away from challenges but wade into the struggle and get comfortable with operating and living there. Struggles are a way of life, and we have to learn to confront them. Instead of worrying about what other people think, worry about what you want.
3.Looking for Support from Like-minded Friends.

If you are thinking about it in your own way, it is better to find some friends who support you and tell them your troubles. Although sometimes they can’t help you with a good solution, but listening is already the best help for you. The support and understanding of friends will give you a relaxed environment. Join some bisexual dating sites, groups, communities. Looking for more opportunities to contact the bisexual circle of friends, often to see other people’s experience sharing, expand your circle of friends, let you know more bisexual friends, get more support. Stop spending time around people that made you feel depressed.
4.Strengthen Your Own Beliefs.

Since you have already confirmed your true sexual orientation, don’t change your own perception of your sexual orientation because of other people’s words. Or fear of losing the love of family and friends and concealing your true sexual orientation. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You will never be happy that way. Do what makes you happy and your life will just improve somehow.
5.Being More Honest With People.

Being honest will lead to stronger relationships with people who become better friends. No point spending time with people who you have to alter your ideology for, because in the end all you are left with are superficial friends, which can feel lonelier than being alone. We don’t have to live to please others. Realizing that you don’t have to be perfect to be accepted by people.

Think about who you are and then think about who you want to be. Try to do this as objectively as possible. A big part of it for me was realizing that everyone has the same fears and doubts that I have. It’s easy to see that on some people but other people are just better at hiding it or thinking through it.

How to accept yourself as bisexual

I believe it’s every bisexual person’s birthright to feel comfortable with their sexuality and to express it as they wish. We deserve to thrive and realize our potential as unique individuals, free from low self-esteem or lack of confidence relating to our sexual orientation.

Sadly, bisexual people face multiple barriers to living happy lives.

Biphobia is widespread. We face discrimination from both straight and gay people in the form of stigma and negative attitudes. Harmful stereotypes and myths about bisexuals are common.

In such an unwelcoming cultural climate, it’s not surprising that bisexual people are much less likely to come out than gay men or lesbians. Many bisexuals decide to identify as straight or gay, in order to fit in and avoid discrimination.

Studies consistently show that bisexual people have significantly poorer health outcomes than gay and straight people, as well as higher rates of poverty and unemployment.

So, if you’re bisexual and struggling, remember this: it’s not your fault — there are a range of factors beyond our control that make life very hard for us.

Despite these difficulties, I know from personal experience that it’s possible to be happy as a bisexual person, and that anyone can actively learn to feel good about being bisexual.

I believe there are three broad ways in which we can cultivate positive change in ourselves:

1) Change Your Understanding of Bisexuality

Society feeds us so many negative messages about bisexuality that bisexual people inevitably develop some degree of internalised biphobia, which can undermine our self-esteem and confidence. To counter this, we need to develop our own more accurate and positive understanding of what it means to be bisexual.

We can boost our confidence by educating ourselves about bisexuality, clarifying what it is and why the stereotypes are wrong. Knowing the facts will strengthen your ability to challenge the myths and feel confident in your own sexuality.

Look at the research. We are the largest group in the LGBT community. Recent surveys suggest that up to half the population may be bisexual. You are not alone.

Learn about the problems we face as a community. Learn about the different ways in which people define and understand bisexuality. This will help you understand and accept yourself.

2) Engage with the Experience of Other Bisexual People

Most bisexual people rarely meet other openly bisexual people in the course of their everyday lives, either in the workplace or through friendship networks. This can lead to a sense of isolation, and a feeling that you are the only bisexual person around.

To really understand that we aren’t alone as bisexuals, we need to explore and engage with the experience of other bisexual people.

Read bisexual bloggers, watch bisexual vloggers, and explore and contribute to bisexual forums. Learn about the full range of bisexual experience. You’ll find that many people have had experiences you can relate to.

Meet other bisexual people in person at a bi social group. By connecting with others online or in person you can build supportive relationships and a sense of community.

3) Learn Practical Skills to Help You Feel Good About Being Bisexual

We grow up as bisexual people without any guidance on how to come to terms with our bisexuality. We’re forced to improvise and often end up unhappy and unsure of ourselves. Fortunately, we can learn a range of skills to help us overcome this.

We can learn how to come out, for example. Coming out can be a hugely positive process for bisexual people, but it’s often especially difficult to tell someone you’re bisexual, when you know they probably don’t understand bisexuality or even believe it exists.

By learning techniques to confidently come out to a range of people, we can make the process as smooth and successful as possible. Being out, especially to the important people in your life, is a major confidence booster.

Being bisexual in an unfriendly society also presents psychological challenges.

Many bisexual people try to suppress unwanted sexual desire (usually same-sex desire) and this can cause a range of sexual and emotional problems.

In addition, many bisexuals get caught up in negative thinking about whether they really are bisexual, influenced by the common misconceptions that bisexuality doesn’t exist or that you must have equal levels of desire for men and women to be a ‘true’ bisexual.

These psychological problems can be overcome by learning new ways of thinking and behaving.

For many people self-acceptance is hard to come by on a good day. It’s tenuous, a glass with tiny cracks, at best. On a bad day, when you’ve made a mistake or two, don’t like how you look or feel absolutely miserable, your self-acceptance is in shards.

Fortunately, self-acceptance is something we can nurture. Look at it as a skill that you can practice versus an innate trait that you either have or don’t.

Below, clinicians reveal 12 ways we can cultivate self-acceptance.

1. Set an intention.

“Self-acceptance begins with intention,” according to psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber, MA. “It is vital that we set an intention for ourselves that we are willing to shift paradigms from a world of blame, doubt and shame to a world of allowance, tolerance, acceptance and trust,” he said. This intention acknowledges that self-loathing simply doesn’t lead to a satisfying life. “If I set my intention that a life with self-acceptance is far better than a life of self-hatred then I begin a chain reaction within my being geared to a life of peace,” Sumber said.

2. Celebrate your strengths.

“We are much better collectors of our shortcomings than our strengths,” according to Ryan Howes, Ph.D, a psychologist in Pasadena, California. Psychologist John Duffy, PsyD, agrees. “[Many people] fail to see their strengths and cling to antique scripts they carry about their lack of worth,” he said.

Duffy helps his clients hone in on their strengths and abilities by writing them down. If you’re having a tough time coming up with your list, name one strength each day, he said. Start with something basic like “I’m a kind person,” said Duffy, also author of The Available Parent. “Typically, lists evolve as the script loses its strength, and people recognize they are intelligent, and creative, and powerful, and articulate, and so on. Sometimes, we can’t see ourselves until we clear the weeds,” he said.

Howes suggested making a similar list: “Make a list of all the hardships you’ve overcome, all the goals you’ve accomplished, all the connections you’ve made, and all the lives you’ve touched for the better. Keep it close by, review it frequently, and add to it often.”

3. Consider the people around you.

What kinds of people do you surround yourself with? Sumber suggested asking yourself these questions about the people in your life:

Who speaks negatively to me? Who reinforces negative self talk? Why do I allow such people to hurt me? Are they just doing my own dirty work because I’m not willing to choose a different reality?

4.Create a support system.

Distance yourself from people who bring you down, said Joyce Marter, LCPC, a psychotherapist and owner of Urban Balance, LLC. Instead, “Surround yourself with people who accept you and believe in you,” she said.

5. Forgive yourself.

Past regrets can prevent us from practicing self-acceptance. Forgive yourself, and move on. “Whether it’s about something you’ve done or a personality quirk that resulted in a social faux pas, it’s important to learn from the mistake, make efforts to grow, and accept that you can’t change the past,” Howes said.

When the tinges of remorse resurface, remember these words, he said: “I made the best decision with information I had at the time.” “The behavior or decision might not seem correct in hindsight, but at the time it seemed like the best choice,” Howes added.

6. Shush your inner critic.

Many people equate their inner critic with a voice of reason. They think their inner critic is simply speaking the truth. But if you wouldn’t say it to a loved one, it’s not honesty or sincerity. It’s unwarranted — and harsh — judgment.

To quiet your inner critic, Marter suggested choosing a realistic mantra. “I believe in the power of mantra and encourage clients to select a mantra that is normalizing, calming and encouraging during times when the inner critic rears its ugly head,” she said. For example, you could use: “I am only human, I am doing the best that I can and that is all I can do,” she said.

As Marter said, “Our mistakes and our imperfections are not bad or wrong or failures–they are the fingerprints of humanity and opportunities for learning, healing and growth.”

7. Grieve the loss of unrealized dreams.

“Many of our problems with self-acceptance come from our inability to reconcile who we are as compared with the idealized dreams of our youth,” Howes said. Maybe you dreamed about becoming an Olympic athlete or a multi-millionaire or staying married forever or having a big family, he said. Whatever your dreams or goals, mourn that they didn’t come to pass, he said. Then “get back to being the best you possible.”

8. Perform charitable acts.

“When you sacrificially give to others, you see how your deeds are a positive influence on other lives. It becomes more and more difficult to maintain the idea that you are no good when you see how your deeds help other people,” Howes said.

9. Realize that acceptance is not resignation.

Marter described acceptance as letting go of the past and the things we cannot control. This way, “you can focus your energy on that which you can [control], which is empowering,” she said. In fact, for some people accepting that they have a problem is the first step to making positive changes, she said.

10. Speak to your highest self.

Marter suggested readers try the following activity that includes imagining and interacting with your highest or best self.

I often ask my clients to visualize their highest and best self that lies deep within them. I ask them to imagine that highest self stepping outside of them and looking at them in their current life circumstance or situation. I ask the client to imagine what this highest or best self advises them to do.

This process of visualizing a separation or detachment from the current [or] suffering self often helps clients tap into the wisdom that already lies within them — their highest self — to promote healing.

This exercise teaches clients how to be their own best parent and demonstrate empathy, compassion and love towards the self. I advise clients to take a few minutes to meditate and practice this visualization whenever they are in crisis [or] need some direction or some self-soothing.

11. Be kind to yourself.

Many people are hesitant to show even a shred of self-kindness because they see it as selfish or undeserved. But the key to self-compassion is “to understand that weakness and frailty are part of the human experience,” according to Deborah Serani, PsyD, a psychologist and author of Living with Depression. “Coming to accept who you are involves loving yourself because of your flaws, not in spite of them,” she said. You’ll find more on practicing self-compassion here and here.

12. Fake it ‘til you make it.

If you’re unconvinced that you’re a worthy person, keep the faith and keep at it. Keep practicing self-compassion along with the other suggestions. “Most of us do not have direct communication from our deity of choice, yet we take the leap and trust that our God is true and real. The same goes for our self-acceptance. I first must think and do before I know,” Sumber said.

By Ditch the Label

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    So you think you might be bisexual? Or maybe you are just here for fun. Either way, questioning your sexuality is a completely normal thing to do and a lot of us do it.

    In fact, our research shows that over 50% of us don’t identify as fully heterosexual. And our research shows that most of us don’t identify as being 100% heterosexual. How cool is that?!

    A quiz can only do a bit of the work, and the truth is your sexuality is something that will evolve and it’s normal to explore and question your sexuality. Right now, you don’t need to rush through any firm decisions. When you know, you will know.

    This quiz is just for fun, and remember no internet quiz is going to be able to tell you who you are. Your sexuality is unique to you, and is a spectrum that everyone sits on.

    Am I Bisexual Quiz

    Thanks for taking the quiz!

    If you feel like you want to talk to someone about your result, or if you feel like the quiz got it wrong, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

    There are trained Mentors that can offer you advice and support about this and loads of other stuff. You can also connect with other people going through similar things.

    How do you know if you’re bisexual?

    You’ve taken the quiz and want to learn more about bisexuality?

    Bisexuality is a sexual orientation where somebody is attracted to more than one gender. Some identify as bisexual, while others use pansexual, queer, fluid, or no label at all to describe it.

    This identity is so powerful. You’re ready to be open and honest about something you value. It’s ok to start off slow – you may not be ready to tell the whole world! We’ve written 13 different tips for coming out as bisexual to help you decide who, when, and how you might tell someone.

    We have lots of other guides and advice below. Check out these below for some more info on bisexuality:

    • 13 Tips about Coming Out as Bisexual
    • 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Bisexual Person
    • 10 Things People Say to Bisexuals
    • What is Asexual?

    How to accept yourself as bisexual

    How to accept yourself as bisexual

    Getty Images/ Jena Ardell

    My best friend and I were on the bus coming home from school in the seventh grade, and we were almost at our stop. For the entire ride, she had been avoiding telling me the name of her new crush, who had been leaving her forlorn and mopey for weeks. I was getting impatient.

    “I need to tell you something first,” she said, avoiding my eyes. “I’m bisexual.”

    “Okay,” I said slowly, elongating the second vowel. I had never heard that word before. “What does that mean?”

    With the confidence that the cooler best friend tends to exude when explaining a scandalous new topic (at least in middle school), she said, “It means that I like boys and I like girls.”

    And then I shouted, “Oh, my God, I’m that too!”

    Bisexuality is more complicated than that, of course. Like her sister identities, such as pansexuality and omnisexuality, bisexuality implies an attraction to multiple (or all) genders. The simplification of being attracted to men and women (especially wherein these genders are assumed to be cis) is not only incorrect but also harmful. But as a kid without a deep understanding of gender, I was nonetheless struck by my best friend’s definition.

    You see, growing up, I was confused. Many queer kids have a similar experience: We’re presented with only one option of what relationships look like—cis man plus cis woman equals true love forever!—and we can sometimes sense early on that something about our internal experience feels different.

    In the fifth grade, when a friend of mine sneered that I was gay as an insult, I thought maybe I had landed on a name for what I felt. But I went home and asked my dad what that meant, and it still didn’t fit. I wasn’t straight like I was supposed to be, but damn it, I wasn’t this countercultural “gay” thing either.

    I felt stuck. As I saw it at the time, there were girls who were attracted to boys, and there were girls who were attracted to girls, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t simply pick one. I was both—and I thought I was the only one.

    Learning the word bisexual on the bus that day a couple of years later was an unforgettably powerful moment of validation. Not only was there a name for what I felt, but I wasn’t alone after all.

    Unfortunately, my road to strong, assured bisexual identity was riddled with potholes, as it is for many of us. Over the course of my life, because I internalized so much stigma around bisexuality, I’ve struggled with claiming this identity that at first felt custom-made for me.

    I started dating my first love, a woman, when I was 15. It was with her that I had my first sexual experience. I was very comfortable identifying as bisexual then. I had crushes galore, and gender felt irrelevant to my attractions. I also helped start the Gay/Straight Alliance at my high school. Sure, people mistook me for a lesbian and hurled associated slurs at me, but I felt solid in my bisexuality.

    When I later started dating a man, though, I felt a significant shift. Suddenly, my peers questioned my queerness. Even my boyfriend at the time told me, point-blank, “No one is bisexual forever. You eventually have to choose.” But instead of questioning our messed-up understanding of sexuality, doubt started creeping into my heart instead: Would I eventually have to choose?

    For many years after that, I dated cis men almost exclusively, mostly as a result of convenience. I still identified as bisexual, because I had crushes, went on dates with, and hooked up with people of various genders. But the love interests who tended to stick, who wanted me most, were cis men. I was even engaged to one before I graduated from college! Eventually, this led me in the opposite direction of what you might assume: My sexual boredom and sometimes even disgust with the men I dated led me to believe I was, and always had been, super gay after all.

    So, in my early 20s, I threw myself in a new direction and got deeply involved in my local queer community. I dated only women for a few years, identified as a lesbian, started a blog for queer femmes, and eventually got into a long-term, live-in relationship with a woman. I came out anew—only to be shocked when I later fell for a man all over again. I tried donning a “homoflexible” label for a few years, but two boyfriends later I had to sit back and take a good look at my identity and why my perception of it kept shifting seemingly so drastically.

    What I didn’t understand as I tried on these different labels was that it isn’t simply our behavior that dictates who we are. It’s also our internal experience and how we choose to describe it. The normative understanding of bisexuality tends to falsely define it as a strict set of feelings and actions: We’re told that bisexuality means having equal attraction to multiple genders and engaging with them romantically and sexually in similar amounts. Not only is this an incredibly reductive way to understand sexuality, but it also leaves many people grappling with whether they’re “allowed” to identify as bisexual when their experiences don’t align with this narrow definition. That’s what happened to me before I realized I was thinking about it all wrong.

    It took years for me to realize that sexual fluidity (the experience of sexual identity as flowing and fluctuating) is legitimate. Now I’m comfortable with the idea that my attractions sometimes shift, and with that sometimes comes identity changes, which are also valid.

    But it’s worth questioning why bisexuality as a label kept slipping away from me, despite attraction to multiple genders always being a part of my sexual experience.

    What does it actually mean to be bisexual? And who is allowed to claim it?

    Over the years, I’ve created and nurtured relationships in my community with other bisexual people, and women in particular. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of this common experience, which often throws people into a spiral of invalidation: A cis woman is attracted to multiple genders, but for various reasons has only ever engaged romantically and/or sexually with cis men. Maybe she recognized her attraction to others later in life and is, at that point, in a monogamous life partnership already. Maybe she feels uncomfortable—like an imposter—in queer spaces, so she hasn’t been able to meet, let alone date, anyone except cis men. Maybe her city, family, or culture is conservative, and living her life authentically could be dangerous to her. She knows in her heart where her attractions lie, but her experience betrays that. Is she bisexual?

    Well, yeah. If that’s what she wants to call herself, which is up to her.

    When I was in graduate school, working toward a master’s and then a doctorate degree in Human Sexuality Studies, I was introduced to the Orientation, Behavior, and Identity (OBI) Model. Popularized by Brent A. Satterly, Ph.D., and similar to its more famous predecessors, the Kinsey Scale and the Klein Grid, it aimed to be a simple framework for understanding the complexities of human sexuality experiences.

    The OBI Model posits that our orientation (who we’re naturally attracted to), behavior (who we engage with romantically or sexually, including through fantasies), and identity (how we describe ourselves) exist on independent scales, and there are endless combinations beyond the dictionary definition of any given sexuality. It says “not so fast” to the pervasive myth that in order to identify as bisexual, you must be attracted to all (or multiple) genders equally, and you must be romantic and sexual with all (or multiple) genders equally. Suddenly, the puzzle pieces of trying to understand my own sexuality fell into place.

    For most people, whether we’re talking about sexual orientation or something else, trying to live a life as anything but yourself is more painful than living a life working to come to peace with something about yourself that you or others are uncomfortable with.

    Really, if you read the stories of older bisexuals and homosexuals who tried to live their whole lives in the closet, they’ll break your heart seven ways to Sunday. I’ve heard a ton of them, on the page and firsthand, and even after over two decades of being exposed to them, I still can hardly bear most of them.

    Let’s assume for a moment that you ARE bisexual, even though that may or may not be the case.

    You still get to choose who you partner with. You still get to opt into heteronormativity if that turns out to be what you really want. You still get to decide how little or how much your bisexuality — and your sexuality period — plays a part in your life and your identity. You still get to choose who you share information about your sexuality, your attractions and your sexual relationship with. You still get to have whatever sort of life you’ve planned (with the understanding that on so many levels, the plans we have for our lives in our youth often differ from how our lives play out realistically).

    Most importantly, you still get to be exactly who you are, no matter who that is, or to whom that person is attracted.

    Understand that you’re hardly alone in these feelings: there are a pretty rare few of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, etc who haven’t strongly wished we weren’t at one point or another, mostly — and often ONLY — just because the world we live in can still be so discriminatory and unfriendly towards us, and being anything but heterosexual — in a similar way to being anything but white — can sometimes be something that makes our lives more difficult than it might be otherwise. But ultimately, as most folks will tell you who felt that way and tried to be something they weren’t instead, trying to be a person you aren’t makes things far more painful and difficult.

    Regardless, whether you are bisexual, lesbian or not, this isn’t something you need to get panicked about or really worried about right now. Sexual orientation — even for straight folks — is something that tends to reveal itself over time, and no one is required to be any level of out while they figure it out. There’s no reason to figure out how it fits into the plans of your life, or to put off those plans, right now: after all, the plans you make for your life should be more about you than your relationships, especially if you’re not actually in one. Relationships should fit the whole of your life, not the other way round.

    Certainly, plenty of women who are and/or identify as heterosexual and who look at pornography look at a myriad of types of it: while our fantasies sometimes have something to do with our realities, they just as often do not. But to be frank, if you’ve had a few years of thinking about women both sexually and romantically, and those feelings are stronger and more persistent than they are for men, it’s not very likely that you’re solidly heterosexual. Mind, more people are bisexual — whether they choose to partner with someone of the same gender or not — than those who are heterosexual and homosexual, even though more people identify as heterosexual and choose to live their lives only dating opposite-sex. And since you’ve had those feelings for a couple of years, it seems unlikely your friend coming out somehow made you suggestible to this.

    But you have plenty of time to figure all of this out: as much as you want or need. What I’d suggest is that you give yourself that time, and in the meantime, no matter WHAT you turn out to be, you perhaps spend some time looking at why you have the biases you’ve got, and who they’re really about. In other words, your family having any level of homophobia isn’t about you — save that theirs likely rubbed off on you, too — it’s about them. Any sort of avenue for your life that might only seem to have room for you as a member of a heterosexual couple is about cultural biases: not about you. Because those things are unjust and discriminatory doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with being lesbian or bisexual: rather, it means there’s something wrong with the way some aspects of culture and some people view sexuality and orientation and romance. And while things certainly still aren’t just ducky for non-heteros, even just over the last thirty years, things have improved pretty drastically. For all we know, in ten or twenty more, we may see the same velocity of improvement.

    Once more with feeling: no matter what, it’s really a lot more scary and limiting to think about a life where you’d try and live in denial of an aspect of yourself on purpose, or try and be someone you’re not, especially with something you really have no control over. I mean, often I sure don’t want to be short, nor am I that thrilled to see the effects of gravity on my backside, and sure, once or twice in my life I’ve wished my sexual orientation was different than it was, but as Popeye always said, I yam what I yam, and that’s about all there is to it. It’d be a pretty big waste of my energy and time to try to pretend things about me that just are or are not, and doing that would make me a lot less happy than just accepting even the things I don’t like or wish were different.

    So, for now, why not just invest your energy on getting to know who you are and accepting yourself? As you go through that process you can figure out how to manage and deal with what you discover, but there’s little sense in putting the horse before the cart or freaking out about what you could be and how people will react until you just relax and find out for yourself what you really want and who you are. 🙂

    I’ve included a couple of links for you that I think may be of help, as well as a link to information on my book, which I think could be a real boon to you:

    By Ditch the Label

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    The things you need to know when coming out

    Are you ready to come out as bisexual? We know you’ve probably spent countless hours wondering if bisexuality best describes you– so let us be the first ones to congratulate you!

    This identity is so powerful. You’re ready to be open and honest about something you value. It’s ok to start off slow– you may not be ready to tell the whole world!

    We have 13 tips for coming out to help you decide who, when, and how you might tell someone.

    1. Decide who, when, and where would be the safest to tell someone.

    Your safety is #1. You can slide LGBTQ+ topics into your conversation to see how a friend/family member responds, and notice what environments are the most private. Having a friend who knows your location when you tell someone might help ease any anxiety.

    2. Who’s the first person you want to tell?

    Consider who might take the news well. This may be a best friend, a close family member, distant relative, or acquaintance. Coming out to the “easier” people first will be a great start to building your support team. You’ll then have reassurance for any people who might be more challenging to come out to.

    3. How are you going to tell them?

    There are so many different ways to tell someone… Will you send them a text? Say something over family dinner? Or maybe bring it up during a hike? Ideally, keep the environment neutral and remain calm so you can fully express yourself.

    How to accept yourself as bisexual

    4. Celebrate whenever you tell someone.

    No matter how small– you’ve just been completely open with someone! We love hearing about successes on our Support Community. Check out the Brag Box.

    5. Be prepared for a shock.

    Your sexuality is not something new to you– it’s part of you… but other people may not have expected this. Shock can cause all sorts of reactions– be prepared for any emotion, from disinterest to anger, or sadness. Remind yourself that sexuality is a completely natural thing, and that you’re better for having told someone.

    6. Help them understand.

    Bisexuality is not a term that’s widely understood, or accepted. Many people have misconceptions around bisexuality- check out 10 Things People Say to Bisexuals. Dispel these myths by helping people understand the facts.

    7. Who can they tell?

    How this truth spreads is your choice. Give clear boundaries for who they can tell. Remind them how important it is for you that they keep it to themselves, at least while you finish telling the necessary people in your life.

    8. Give them time to process.

    If they’re sad, or angry, remind yourself that this is their process. It’s not your fault. You were just speaking your truth and wanted to help them know you better. Do not feel guilty for their emotions, and if you find their words are hurting you– give yourself some space.

    9. Address the conflict.

    If someone’s reaction hurts you, check out our information on resolving a conflict, here. This can create a safe place to talk about how their actions have made you feel, and they’ll have a chance to talk about how they’re feeling.

    If setting up a conflict resolution isn’t a possibility, consider writing them a letter that includes how you’re feeling, and what you would like to happen for the future.

    10. If they can’t accept you – distance yourself.

    It’s easier said than done, we know, but try to avoid expectations when telling people that you’re bisexual. Some people may not accept the fact that you’re bisexual, and that’s okay. But it doesn’t mean you have to try to keep them as friends. Good family and friends accept the full you!

    11. Come out, again.

    Although it does tend to get easier the more you tell people, sharing that you’re bisexual never stops. New people come into our lives, as do new love interests. Sometimes they deserve to know the full extent of our sexuality.

    12. Check out LGBTQ+ and Bi-specific resources in your area.

    Meeting people who may have had similar experiences is so powerful for feeling accepted! Finding a group where you can be fully yourself, without judgement, is a beautiful thing.

    13. Join our Community

    If in-person resources aren’t in your area, or if you prefer an online community, join our Support Community! Many of our other members are figuring out how to share their sexuality with people, too.

    For most people, whether we’re talking about sexual orientation or something else, trying to live a life as anything but yourself is more painful than living a life working to come to peace with something about yourself that you or others are uncomfortable with.

    Really, if you read the stories of older bisexuals and homosexuals who tried to live their whole lives in the closet, they’ll break your heart seven ways to Sunday. I’ve heard a ton of them, on the page and firsthand, and even after over two decades of being exposed to them, I still can hardly bear most of them.

    Let’s assume for a moment that you ARE bisexual, even though that may or may not be the case.

    You still get to choose who you partner with. You still get to opt into heteronormativity if that turns out to be what you really want. You still get to decide how little or how much your bisexuality — and your sexuality period — plays a part in your life and your identity. You still get to choose who you share information about your sexuality, your attractions and your sexual relationship with. You still get to have whatever sort of life you’ve planned (with the understanding that on so many levels, the plans we have for our lives in our youth often differ from how our lives play out realistically).

    Most importantly, you still get to be exactly who you are, no matter who that is, or to whom that person is attracted.

    Understand that you’re hardly alone in these feelings: there are a pretty rare few of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, etc who haven’t strongly wished we weren’t at one point or another, mostly — and often ONLY — just because the world we live in can still be so discriminatory and unfriendly towards us, and being anything but heterosexual — in a similar way to being anything but white — can sometimes be something that makes our lives more difficult than it might be otherwise. But ultimately, as most folks will tell you who felt that way and tried to be something they weren’t instead, trying to be a person you aren’t makes things far more painful and difficult.

    Regardless, whether you are bisexual, lesbian or not, this isn’t something you need to get panicked about or really worried about right now. Sexual orientation — even for straight folks — is something that tends to reveal itself over time, and no one is required to be any level of out while they figure it out. There’s no reason to figure out how it fits into the plans of your life, or to put off those plans, right now: after all, the plans you make for your life should be more about you than your relationships, especially if you’re not actually in one. Relationships should fit the whole of your life, not the other way round.

    Certainly, plenty of women who are and/or identify as heterosexual and who look at pornography look at a myriad of types of it: while our fantasies sometimes have something to do with our realities, they just as often do not. But to be frank, if you’ve had a few years of thinking about women both sexually and romantically, and those feelings are stronger and more persistent than they are for men, it’s not very likely that you’re solidly heterosexual. Mind, more people are bisexual — whether they choose to partner with someone of the same gender or not — than those who are heterosexual and homosexual, even though more people identify as heterosexual and choose to live their lives only dating opposite-sex. And since you’ve had those feelings for a couple of years, it seems unlikely your friend coming out somehow made you suggestible to this.

    But you have plenty of time to figure all of this out: as much as you want or need. What I’d suggest is that you give yourself that time, and in the meantime, no matter WHAT you turn out to be, you perhaps spend some time looking at why you have the biases you’ve got, and who they’re really about. In other words, your family having any level of homophobia isn’t about you — save that theirs likely rubbed off on you, too — it’s about them. Any sort of avenue for your life that might only seem to have room for you as a member of a heterosexual couple is about cultural biases: not about you. Because those things are unjust and discriminatory doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with being lesbian or bisexual: rather, it means there’s something wrong with the way some aspects of culture and some people view sexuality and orientation and romance. And while things certainly still aren’t just ducky for non-heteros, even just over the last thirty years, things have improved pretty drastically. For all we know, in ten or twenty more, we may see the same velocity of improvement.

    Once more with feeling: no matter what, it’s really a lot more scary and limiting to think about a life where you’d try and live in denial of an aspect of yourself on purpose, or try and be someone you’re not, especially with something you really have no control over. I mean, often I sure don’t want to be short, nor am I that thrilled to see the effects of gravity on my backside, and sure, once or twice in my life I’ve wished my sexual orientation was different than it was, but as Popeye always said, I yam what I yam, and that’s about all there is to it. It’d be a pretty big waste of my energy and time to try to pretend things about me that just are or are not, and doing that would make me a lot less happy than just accepting even the things I don’t like or wish were different.

    So, for now, why not just invest your energy on getting to know who you are and accepting yourself? As you go through that process you can figure out how to manage and deal with what you discover, but there’s little sense in putting the horse before the cart or freaking out about what you could be and how people will react until you just relax and find out for yourself what you really want and who you are. 🙂

    I’ve included a couple of links for you that I think may be of help, as well as a link to information on my book, which I think could be a real boon to you:

    For many people self-acceptance is hard to come by on a good day. It’s tenuous, a glass with tiny cracks, at best. On a bad day, when you’ve made a mistake or two, don’t like how you look or feel absolutely miserable, your self-acceptance is in shards.

    Fortunately, self-acceptance is something we can nurture. Look at it as a skill that you can practice versus an innate trait that you either have or don’t.

    Below, clinicians reveal 12 ways we can cultivate self-acceptance.

    1. Set an intention.

    “Self-acceptance begins with intention,” according to psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber, MA. “It is vital that we set an intention for ourselves that we are willing to shift paradigms from a world of blame, doubt and shame to a world of allowance, tolerance, acceptance and trust,” he said. This intention acknowledges that self-loathing simply doesn’t lead to a satisfying life. “If I set my intention that a life with self-acceptance is far better than a life of self-hatred then I begin a chain reaction within my being geared to a life of peace,” Sumber said.

    2. Celebrate your strengths.

    “We are much better collectors of our shortcomings than our strengths,” according to Ryan Howes, Ph.D, a psychologist in Pasadena, California. Psychologist John Duffy, PsyD, agrees. “[Many people] fail to see their strengths and cling to antique scripts they carry about their lack of worth,” he said.

    Duffy helps his clients hone in on their strengths and abilities by writing them down. If you’re having a tough time coming up with your list, name one strength each day, he said. Start with something basic like “I’m a kind person,” said Duffy, also author of The Available Parent. “Typically, lists evolve as the script loses its strength, and people recognize they are intelligent, and creative, and powerful, and articulate, and so on. Sometimes, we can’t see ourselves until we clear the weeds,” he said.

    Howes suggested making a similar list: “Make a list of all the hardships you’ve overcome, all the goals you’ve accomplished, all the connections you’ve made, and all the lives you’ve touched for the better. Keep it close by, review it frequently, and add to it often.”

    3. Consider the people around you.

    What kinds of people do you surround yourself with? Sumber suggested asking yourself these questions about the people in your life:

    Who speaks negatively to me? Who reinforces negative self talk? Why do I allow such people to hurt me? Are they just doing my own dirty work because I’m not willing to choose a different reality?

    4.Create a support system.

    Distance yourself from people who bring you down, said Joyce Marter, LCPC, a psychotherapist and owner of Urban Balance, LLC. Instead, “Surround yourself with people who accept you and believe in you,” she said.

    5. Forgive yourself.

    Past regrets can prevent us from practicing self-acceptance. Forgive yourself, and move on. “Whether it’s about something you’ve done or a personality quirk that resulted in a social faux pas, it’s important to learn from the mistake, make efforts to grow, and accept that you can’t change the past,” Howes said.

    When the tinges of remorse resurface, remember these words, he said: “I made the best decision with information I had at the time.” “The behavior or decision might not seem correct in hindsight, but at the time it seemed like the best choice,” Howes added.

    6. Shush your inner critic.

    Many people equate their inner critic with a voice of reason. They think their inner critic is simply speaking the truth. But if you wouldn’t say it to a loved one, it’s not honesty or sincerity. It’s unwarranted — and harsh — judgment.

    To quiet your inner critic, Marter suggested choosing a realistic mantra. “I believe in the power of mantra and encourage clients to select a mantra that is normalizing, calming and encouraging during times when the inner critic rears its ugly head,” she said. For example, you could use: “I am only human, I am doing the best that I can and that is all I can do,” she said.

    As Marter said, “Our mistakes and our imperfections are not bad or wrong or failures–they are the fingerprints of humanity and opportunities for learning, healing and growth.”

    7. Grieve the loss of unrealized dreams.

    “Many of our problems with self-acceptance come from our inability to reconcile who we are as compared with the idealized dreams of our youth,” Howes said. Maybe you dreamed about becoming an Olympic athlete or a multi-millionaire or staying married forever or having a big family, he said. Whatever your dreams or goals, mourn that they didn’t come to pass, he said. Then “get back to being the best you possible.”

    8. Perform charitable acts.

    “When you sacrificially give to others, you see how your deeds are a positive influence on other lives. It becomes more and more difficult to maintain the idea that you are no good when you see how your deeds help other people,” Howes said.

    9. Realize that acceptance is not resignation.

    Marter described acceptance as letting go of the past and the things we cannot control. This way, “you can focus your energy on that which you can [control], which is empowering,” she said. In fact, for some people accepting that they have a problem is the first step to making positive changes, she said.

    10. Speak to your highest self.

    Marter suggested readers try the following activity that includes imagining and interacting with your highest or best self.

    I often ask my clients to visualize their highest and best self that lies deep within them. I ask them to imagine that highest self stepping outside of them and looking at them in their current life circumstance or situation. I ask the client to imagine what this highest or best self advises them to do.

    This process of visualizing a separation or detachment from the current [or] suffering self often helps clients tap into the wisdom that already lies within them — their highest self — to promote healing.

    This exercise teaches clients how to be their own best parent and demonstrate empathy, compassion and love towards the self. I advise clients to take a few minutes to meditate and practice this visualization whenever they are in crisis [or] need some direction or some self-soothing.

    11. Be kind to yourself.

    Many people are hesitant to show even a shred of self-kindness because they see it as selfish or undeserved. But the key to self-compassion is “to understand that weakness and frailty are part of the human experience,” according to Deborah Serani, PsyD, a psychologist and author of Living with Depression. “Coming to accept who you are involves loving yourself because of your flaws, not in spite of them,” she said. You’ll find more on practicing self-compassion here and here.

    12. Fake it ‘til you make it.

    If you’re unconvinced that you’re a worthy person, keep the faith and keep at it. Keep practicing self-compassion along with the other suggestions. “Most of us do not have direct communication from our deity of choice, yet we take the leap and trust that our God is true and real. The same goes for our self-acceptance. I first must think and do before I know,” Sumber said.