It seems ironic, but those of us who have walked this journey have found that, until we could begin to love and accept ourselves just as we were, right then, we could make little progress toward becoming the men we really wanted to be.
Acceptance of our goodness, our value and our true potential as men was a critical early step in our growth.
That is why we teach at Journey Into Manhood:
“If you gain nothing else from this weekend, we want you to know these two truths:
- “One, you are good and valuable just as you are today, unchanged … and even if you never change.
- “And two, you have brothers who see your ‘shadows’ and accept you just as you are.”
Shame and Self-Hate Never Work
In traveling this journey, we discovered:
Shame or self-hate can NEVER motivate real change. Shame only begets more shame, self-hate only creates more self-hate. And that can only make life more painful and drive more self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. Shame and self-hate certainly never enable authentic love, acceptance, healthy spirituality or self-esteem.
Likewise, those who may try to “go straight” primarily to satisfy other people — whether family, friends, religious institutions or society at large — are unlikely to be either successful or happy on this path.
Working to de-sexualize your same-sex attractions or to develop or increase opposite-sex attractions cannot be about becoming valuable as a person. You already are valuable-and will be even if your sexuality never changes!
Surrender and Embrace
In fact, we found that if we were serious about exploring this path, we needed to:
Surrender all that we found negative or unhealthy about our same-sex attractions — oftentimes such things as…
- Sexual “acting out”
- Self-hate or shame.
Embrace all that was positive, healthy and affirming about our same-sex attractions – such as our natural drive to pursue or develop…
- Brotherly love
- Connection, belonging and community
- And oftentimes our innate gifts of creativity, sensitivity, empathy and spirituality.
If you’ve heard only that seeking to diminish your same-sex attractions is inevitably harmful, dangerous or self-shaming, we are here to tell you that our experience is quite different:
“I used to fight SSA and sex addiction in surpressing the urge and hating myself if I failed. During the JiM weekend I learned to accept myself and love myself as I am. I have experienced that this is a far better basis to come to terms with my SSA, which is still a part of me, but does not dominate me any more.” — Horst, Germany
“One of the most life-changing experiences I took from Journey Into Manhood was learning to love and accept myself. It came in pieces, and it took time and self-coaching, but today I am a completely different man. I feel confident and at peace with who I am and can see attractive guys without feeling depressed or lustful. Old ways of thinking try to creep back in, but with vigilance, I’m maintaining a state of mind that has brought me joy I didn’t know I could experience.” — Ryan, Pennsylvania, USA
“I am now living the way that I want and am the happiest I have been in a very long time. After lots of work, my SSA no longer has the intense grip that it once had on me.” — Jason, Utah, USA
“Therapy and healing weekends have not only helped me to see my problems differently but to see myself as someone who is good and valuable and acceptable just as I am—even unchanged.” — Jose, Mexico
“My efforts never were to change my sexual orientation but to be happy as the man I am—the man God created me to be. I’ve seen an increase in my self-esteem and renewed confidence. I have much more joy in my life. My love for my wife has increased a lot. I’m more secure and confident as a father, too.” — Stephan, Germany
“Emotionally, I am a much healthier person. I used to have really deep emotional lows, to the point that I considered suicide several times. Now, I am happy. I like myself, where before I did not. My self-esteem is much greater than it has ever been. I feel respected and appreciated by men, where before I only felt merely tolerated (or downright rejected) by them. My marriage is very strong. I love her more deeply than ever. I feel masculine; before I did not. I feel like an adult; before I felt like an 8-year-old boy stuck in a 48-year-old body of a man.” — Scott, Iowa
If This Path is Right for You…
If you’ve decided that this “non-gay” alternative path may be right for you … or even if you just want to authentically explore it … Brothers on a Road Less Traveled is a the right place to start.
Then learn about the road ahead — what others have experienced, and what you can expect.
And be sure to get support for this journey. You don’t need to do this alone!