Tag Archives: gay dating

SELF SABOTAGE AND THE MAGIC 10%

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I honestly believe that we are our own worst enemies. Growing up gay can be fraught with hardship due to the external pressures we feel from peers, our family and society but it’s the pressure we put on ourselves that can have the most debilitating effect. We don’t often realise the impact of our subconscious minds on our ability to live fulfilling lives. Why is that we never feel fulfilled? Because we self sabotage and what’s worse is that we self sabotage without being consciously aware that we’re doing it.

I used to think that fulfilment would magically find me when I had ticked a certain list of criteria pertaining to my body, career, sexuality, popularity and financial status. My life journey has now led me to understand that fulfilment is something you find within yourself that is not based on the accumulation of things or achievements beyond the self. I have also learnt that many people, myself included will never feel fully satisfied until we can overcome the sly devil inside of us that sabotages our efforts when we’re close to achieving success. Self sabotage leads to disappointment which is a roadblock to finding fulfilment within yourself.

Take this blog for example – in October I committed to writing 31 posts in the lead up to my 31st birthday. I started off strongly enough, posting an article everyday but as I neared the finish line something unconscious clicked inside of me which prevented me from writing until today. It was as if my intention to complete the task to which I had publicly committed was inherently flawed by cause of my own committal. Basically, because I had said I would do it, I couldn’t. I could not write the last few articles much like many other things in my life that I have abruptly stopped right before succeeding at them. This left me utterly disappointment and reciting a harsh yet familiar internal dialogue about my inability to complete a task to which I pledged.

Another example is at the gym where I’ve applied myself to strict regimes that I have confidently followed until spontaneously falling off the bandwagon which always coincides with the same point in time that I’m starting to see positive results from all my hard work. It is as if something inside of me doesn’t want me to succeed and when it sees me trying it lures me into a false sense of comfort before sneaking up on me and undoing all my efforts.

My own self sabotage and reflection of my habits has taught me a valuable lesson – the 10% principle. I’ve come to believe that you can put in 90% of the work but it’s the last 10%, the last push, the last effort, the last hurdle which is where the magic happens. There’s a point where you can see the finish line and if you’re not paying attention you’ll miss the mark and start running backwards unless you find the willpower to push through for only 10% more. That’s the point when everything changes. I believe that the most successful people in their fields are those who have learnt to overcome self sabotage and who push themselves 10% further than the rest of the population. Although it’s a small percentage of the overall effort, it is that portion of the work that makes all the difference.

It took me almost seven months to finally update my blog even though I felt the pressure inside of myself to do so everyday. Had I applied the 10% rule a little earlier then I would have had so much great content to share with you, my wonderful reader. Now I hope to make it up to you with more regular posts and content that I hope you’ll find interesting.

Image by Wendy Loke Photography

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ONE TRICK TO TELL IF A GUY IS INTO YOU

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There’s a surefire way to test whether a guy is firstly gay and secondly whether or not he’s into you. In today’s video, I recount an episode on the tube which taught me a valuable lesson about meeting gay guys and left me pining over the one that got away.

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FRIDAY MUSIC FIX: SAM SPARRO

I don’t like Sam Sparro because he’s gay nor because he’s a babe nor because he’s Australian. I like Sam Sparro because he makes awesome pop music. Enjoy this track by my future ex-boyfriend Sam Sparro.

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MODERN GAY HEALTH: WHAT IS PREP?

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To PrEP or not to PrEP: Is Truvada really a sexual health game changer?

There’s a lot of discussion at the moment about the use of PrEP as a safe sex tactic for gay men. Writer David Mang explains what PrEP is and looks at whether or not it’s the right tactic for you.

While the horrors of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s are mercifully consigned to history, HIV remains a major health risk for all sexually active people, particularly gay and bisexual men. In 2014, around 2,800 LGBT men were diagnosed HIV positive in the UK – many of whom could potentially have avoided infection had they been using a PrEP drug such as Truvada.

What is PrEP?

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and is a method of preventing HIV infection which has recently been made available for sale in some territories, including the USA. It involves taking an antiretroviral drug on a daily basis. At present, the leading drug on the market is Truvada, which has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection for people who are identified as ‘high risk’ by as much as 92%.

The easiest way to think about is is to remember that PrEP is the method, whereas Truvada is simply a brand name. When the patent on Truvada expires in a couple of years time, the market may well be flooded by equally effective alternatives, lowering the cost of the drug.

How does it work?

First of all, it’s vital to remember that PrEP is not a vaccine. When you take PrEP on a daily basis, it enters your bloodstream and can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading. However, of you fail to take PrEP consistently, it’s effectiveness weakens, and there may not be enough medication in your bloodstream to protect you.

Should I be using PrEP?

The reduction rate in HIV transmission from using PrEP is hugely significant. With the medication broadly considered to be safe and relatively low on harmful side effects, the evidence in favour of taking them is compelling – particularly if you frequently engage in high-risk sexual activities such as barebacking, anonymous sex or group sex, or if you’re an intravenous drug user. It could also be a major breakthrough for mixed HIV status couples. According to a study by HIV I-Base, around half of gay men in London would take oral PrEP drugs to reduce their risks of contracting HIV.

On the other hand, PrEP is not a silver bullet for sexual health. First, it is only effective if taken consistently, so don’t think of it as a gay version of the ‘morning after pill’. If you decide PrEP is for you, it’s critically important that you take the drug every day. It also provides no protection against other STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, anal warts and syphilis.

What are the potential side effects?

Some people who have taken Truvada have complained of mild side effects including loss of appetite, insomnia and an upset stomach. However, in most cases these issues have resolved after regularly taking the drug for a month or so. Beyond that, it appears to be a fairly comfortable and easy drug to take.

How do I get hold of PrEP?

A relative newcomer to the sexual health market, PrEP is not currently available on the NHS in the UK, and can only be accessed by participants in selected medical trials. However, in other countries such as the USA it has been brought to market, albeit at a high price point. Sexual health campaigners are calling for Truvada to be made available on the NHS, and it is hoped that before too long PrEP will become another powerful weapon in our sexual health arsenal.

For more information on PrEP click here 

Image by Bruce Weber for VMAN.

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THE TWINK IS DEAD

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What happened to all the twinks? I’m not referring to the beautiful, jacked-up 20 year-old boys who make their livings dancing half naked on podiums and posing in their underwear. I’m referring to the skinny boys in midriffs, covered in glitter who weren’t afraid to express their femininity. Ever since bigger became better and masculinity in the gay community became the norm for what is considered attractive, the image of the effeminate young gay guy who likes show tunes and tight fitting clothing has disappeared from public view. In his place are perfectly sculptured bodies of bros who dress like dudes who try to pass as jocks. With the onslaught of regularly updated images of ‘masc’ gay guys that fill our feeds and our minds and our fantasies, we have subconsciously been persuaded to value masculinity as desirable in a mate. As such, the colourful assortment of gay men that used to make up the spectrum of homosexuality has dwindled down to just a few archetypes that now form the basis of our aspirations.

The twink of yesteryear has suffered the most in the age of masculinity. Unable to grow a beard or chest hair to keep up with changing tastes, his only option is to join a gym and exercise his femininity away. Turning his back on his nature and often mocking the person he once was, the 2015 twink strives to look like the cover model of a gay magazine or a YouTube star from a homoerotic underwear advertisement. He is forced to turn to athletic enhancers to increase his size because his naturally skinny frame won’t develop as quickly as he would like. Striving for impossible perfection and acceptance, he looks to social media to parade his gains and show the world how far he has come from a girly boy to a man brimming with alluring bravado.

The twink is dead, reborn and remodelled to fit into a gay world where effeminateness makes us writher in discomfort because it highlights our own insecurities. Don’t tell me that you’ve never in your life felt slightly uncomfortable while in the presence of an overly expressive gay guy. It may have been only once, in high school, many years ago but for that one moment that flamboyant person held up a mirror to something inside of you that you didn’t like. Then again maybe you can’t relate to this experience and for that you are a better person than most because within the greater gay subconscious, flamboyance is something that makes us uneasy.

Although, maybe it’s something more than our own insecurities that make us resent feminine qualities? Something else all together? Something greater and at the same time, far worse? Maybe it is the move forward towards gay/straight equality that has altered our perception of male femininity.

Progress in social acceptance has made us strive harder to be like our straight counterparts but the victim of this social change has been the twink. There’s no place for yesterday’s twink in a gay world which wants to model itself on the straight world. Once upon a time the outrageous twink served as a big ‘up yours’ to the world of bigots, homophobes and fear mongers. ‘You don’t like gays’, he would say, ‘well look at how gay I can be’. Nowadays our mantra is ‘we are just like you’ and while our lives are in many ways better for it, diversity of expression within our own community has suffered. We have even turned in on ourselves and ostracised those who are not as quick to change. One only needs to logon to a gay dating app to see discriminatory profiles with bios such as ‘masc 4 masc’ or ‘no fems’ or ‘looking for REAL men’. This pressure from within, caused by changes from without, has forced many young gay men to conform to a narrow representation of homosexuality, one that espouses the idea that straight-acting, masculine ‘men’ are the pinnacle of desirability.

We have buried the twink of years past and in doing so we have lost a part of our own identities. We must learn again to embrace the differences within our own community by first respecting and nurturing ourselves. While it’s hard to be yourself in a straight world where they want you to be just like them, it’s even harder to be yourself in a gay world where the pressure to conform is often greater. The bravest thing you can do is to be yourself, as feminine, gay, flamboyant or naturally masculine as that may be. In doing so you will be commemorating all those twinks who have died looking for love, acceptance and bigger biceps.

Image Credit: Pantelis 

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THE MOST TERRIFYING THING ABOUT BEING SINGLE

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I’m terrified of being single but it’s not for the reasons that you may think. I’m not afraid of becoming the gay caricature of the old lady, surrounded by her cats, mainly because I’m allergic to cats but also because I’m not one to think too far into the future.  It’s not that I’m afraid that my soulmate is not out there (although it’s taking him a bloody long time to materialise if he is) but rather that I may be enjoying my own company too much in the meantime. You see, my biggest fear is not that I won’t find a partner or my soulmate but that I’ll be just as happy if I don’t.

I’ve noticed how some of my friends always seem to jump from relationship to relationship, easily finding a new partner with whom they become instantly infatuated. I on the other hand find it particularly difficult to forge such relationships. While some people need the security that a relationships brings to their life, I’m content being alone.  I refer to myself as a ‘social loner’ – a person who enjoys socialising, spending time with friends and making news friends but who is just as happy, perhaps even happier, being alone. As I become older and engrained in my routines and habits, which have rarely had to accommodate someone else, I worry that it may become difficult for me to adapt if and when a serious someone comes into my life. Will my morning, perfectly-timed schedule be interrupted by someone else’s schedule? What if I don’t feel like talking after a long day at work? Or going out with his friends? Or being in someone else’s company? What if I want to be alone?

Although it may sound arrogant, most of the time I can provide for myself everything that I need to be happy. As such, there hasn’t been a real drive to find a partner and therefore I don’t think I have made a particular effort to look. From friends, to work, to spirituality and community, I have created for myself the things that I need to keep me satisfied. What about sex you ask? Well I can find that too, although I’ve learnt from experience that sometimes it’s easier and less complicated to satisfy one’s self in this department. It all stems from my belief that we are whole as we are and that there is no need to wait to find our ‘other half’ before we can feel wholeness. This is one of the most dangerous myths of our time, that we need someone else to save us or we will never be saved. As homosexuality has become more accepted we have adopted the dangerous heterosexual ideology that to be truly happy we need to find a monogamous partner that will be with us happily ever after. What if we never find that partner though? Does that mean we cannot live happy and fulfilling lives? While I think it’s beautiful to be in a loving relationship and I certainly wouldn’t mind it for myself, I don’t think we need to be miserable in the meantime.

My Facebook newsfeed is often full of gay guys lamenting themselves for being single or congratulating each other when their relationship status changes. I’ve always been confused by the latter as if being in a relationship is some sort of achievement that needs to be acknowledged. I think that this comes out of the fear of loneliness which is particularly strong amongst gay men as we have often felt ostracised because of our sexuality. Perhaps this explains why so many of us are desperate to be in a relationship? It could also explain why there is a constant need for many gay men to broadcast their relationships to the world? The over-the-top uploads and updates might just be a desperate way for us to show the world and each other that we are loved and wanted. Or perhaps it may be because we do indeed love that person so much that we want to shout it from the rooftops. The cynic in me says that it’s the former.

Why listen to me though? All of this is just the rambling of someone who has never been in a serious relationship. Sure I have had flings and dated lots of men and even been in what some might consider the early stages of a relationships but still none of these have been worth the Facebook update. Now that I am older and more aware of the passage of time, I’m worried not about being alone forever but rather that I’ll be just as happy if I were.

Maybe I should buy a cat just in case…

Image by Malc Stone

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15 GAY GUYS TO AVOID IN 2015

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One week into 2015 and chances are that you have already broken most of your New Years resolutions. While you attempt to find your way back onto the right track towards health, happiness and your dream job, why don’t you also cleanse your soul of poisonous people? Here’s a list of 15 gay guys to avoid or remove from your life in 2015.

Disclaimer: the people mentioned below might also be your straight friend, female colleague or family member and should be detoxified from your life just the same. And another thing, don’t take this list too seriously…

1. THE GOSSIP
If he speaks more goss than Perez Hilton and TMZ combined then chances are he’s talking dirt behind your back too. Although everyone knows that a gossip cannot be trusted, he has the uncanny ability to discover information through his network of unnamed sources. Remove yourself from his network immediately.
2. THE DRAMA QUEEN
This guy lives his life as if he is a Southern Californian teenager girl being followed by a reality TV crew or an ill-tempered mob boss wife from New Jersey. He thrives on creating drama between people and as such his presence in your life is emotionally draining. Do not become caught up in his Bravo TV franchise.
3. THE JEALOUS ONE
Friends should be supportive of one another but some gay guys cannot deal with other people’s success. You’ll be able to identify this type of person cause he will always be the one discounting other’s achievements with comments like “yeh he has a good job but he’ll never find a boyfriend” or “so what if he’s good-looking, his boyfriend still cheats on him”. Stop spending time with jealous people because secretly they’re hoping that you fail too.
4. THE MANIPULATOR
The manipulator, strategist and liar are often the same person and should technically be grouped together. This type of guy likes to control situations and has a powerful ability to manipulate others into doing what he wants. He will lie and mould the people around his so to achieve whatever strategy he has thought up to benefit himself. When things do not go the way he plans, he’ll turn his back on you in jealousy and find a way to enact his revenge. This guy is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
5. THE STRATEGIST
6. THE LIAR
7. THE BAD INFLUENCE
A controversial inclusion on the list because a bad influence can sometimes be the key to the craziest of adventures. In small doses the bad influence can be fun and mischevious but if left unchecked he can lead to your demise. He is the friend who will convince you to stay out longer at the club when you have an early flight to catch the next day or persuade you to accompany him to a sex party in a sketchy part of town. If you enjoy missing your flight or engaging in sex acts that have yet to be named then by all means keep the bad influence around.
8. THE ATTENTION SEEKER
Loud, obnoxious, inappropriate and always vying for the spotlight, the attention seeker makes every moment a dramatic one-man performance about himself. He survives on the gaze of others and will do anything to attract attention. When you’re out in public with him he makes you feel uncomfortable with his outlandish behaviour and lack of social awareness. If you’re slightly uncomfortable being watched across a restaurant full of strangers then either ask your loud friend to step down from the table and put his shirt back on or just stop spending your precious time with him all together.
9. THE NEGATIVE ONE
Negative gay guys will suck the life out of you…and not in a good way. They complain that they don’t have a boyfriend, that they never meet anyone new, that their job is awful, that the music at this club is shit, that their martini is too dry and that nothing ever goes right. Negative people will cast a grey cloud over you, make it rain and then drown you in their pessimism. Replace the negative gay guy with a positive, easygoing and optimistic friend immediately.
10. THE BOYFRIEND THIEF
He is the friend who always dates or sleeps with your ex-boyfriend several months after you broke up. This will have you reflecting on all the times he hang out with you and your boyfriend while you were still dating. How long has he had these feelings? Why does he always end up with with your exes? What type of friends sleeps with your ex-lover anyway? You can take it as a compliment or you can just take him out of your life completely.
11. THE SPONGE
Never pays for dinners out, always manages to avoid his shout at the bar and somehow ends up in your room on summer holidays even though he hasn’t contributed to the cost, these are the ways of the sponge. While it’s commendable to help your friends when they are short on cash or in-between jobs, do not support the sponge as he has no intention of ever changing his ways or repaying the favour.
12. THE OPPORTUNIST
Have you ever noticed how some gay boys are only friends with semi-famous, extremely good-looking, well-known gays? Their so-called best friends are carefully selected based on their social capital and once they’ve infiltrated the group they work to develop their own social profile. These people are known as opportunists as they actively seek out situations and people that will help inflate their own egos. If you’re friends with one of these types then you’re probably a semi-famous, extremely good-looking and well-known gay so be aware that there is a social climbing impostor amongst your midst.
13. THE PERFECTIONIST
‘I love my life and I love my friends and I’m so grateful to the universe that everything is perfect’ reads his Facebook status. As a matter of fact, when scrolling through his social media it may actually appear that his life is perfect and if it wasn’t for his over-the-top declarations of perfection then you might almost believe them. Nobody’s life is that perfect and even though his beautifully photoshopped pictures make you feel like your life is crap, he’s probably desperately miserable and therefore terrible company anyway. Stay away.
14. THE TAKER
Do you know a gay guy who loves talking about himself? While the truth is that most of us love talking about ourselves there is a special type of gay guy who will take no interest in another person when having a conversation. He’ll never ask how you are or what you’ve been doing or if everything is ok in your life. Rather he’ll prefer to talk about his life and his problems and if the discussion ever changes where you become the focus then he’ll lose interest. This is a taker – a person who takes other people’s attention and steals other’s time but never returns the favour.
15. THE REPEAT OFFENDER
Perhaps you are friends with someone who fits one or more of the above descriptions but the good that they bring to your life far outweighs the bad. If this is the case then you don’t mind putting up with their shortcomings because you understand that we all have our flaws and that nobody is perfect. That’s completely fine. It’s not until they repeat those shortcomings over and over again till you reach a tipping point when you cannot forgive them anymore. Maybe you’ve called them out on sponging, or lying or thieving your boyfriend but they still never change. If this is true then 2015 is the year when you must decide whether or not you want to keep them in your life or remove them indefinitely. The choice is yours.
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RULE 26: STOP WAITING TO BE PERFECT

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Match.com has launched the 2015 campaign ‘#loveyourimperfections’, encouraging us all to embrace the things that make us unique. I have contributed to the campaign with this post which is a challenge to all those who read it to stop waiting to be perfect before you feel like you’re worthy of love. After all it’s our mistakes, misbehaviours, quirks, habits and our little obsessions that make us who we are.

If you are waiting to lose weight before you are ready to find love then you will never find love. If you are waiting to have the perfect six-pack before you are ready to find love then you will never find love. If you are waiting for anything about you to change before you are ready to find love then you will never find love. If you are waiting to be perfect then you will never find love.

I used to think that I would be ready for love and a relationship only once I had controlled all the external elements of my being, that only when my body, job and social life were in ideal alignment then would I find the perfect guy. The fact is that my life will never be perfect and neither will yours.

Stop waiting to be perfect to feel that you are worthy of love whether it be love from someone else or self-love. It’s exhausting to pursue perfection. Why? Because there is no measureable end goal. The finish line is always moving. How will you know when you’re perfect? The pursuit of perfection does not lead to happiness. It leads to dissatisfaction with the moment. Perfection does not exist and as such the pursuit of perfection is a pointless cause.

But who wants to be with a perfect partner anyway? Personally I don’t want to be with someone who wants me to be perfect, in fact, I want to be with someone who loves my imperfections. I want a man who will love me even when I’ve put on weight, when I haven’t gone to gym for three months, when I’m sick and when I’m feeling ugly. My future partner needs to understand that sometimes I shave and sometimes I don’t, that sometimes I trim my chest hair but most of the time I look like I’ve been stranded on a tropical island for months with only a Wilson volleyball as a companion. My future partner needs to understand that these external things do not define who I am and as such I don’t want a relationship that fluctuates depending on such things. The right person will love me for who I am always not who I am sometimes.

It’s our imperfections that actually make us the most beautiful. The Japanese have known this for centuries. Kintsugi, the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold is based on highlighting imperfections as beautiful fragments of the overall story. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. We should apply this same approach to mending the parts of us that we see as broken and imperfect.

My body is covered in scars and marks. I have a long scar on my knuckles from when I cut myself working in a cocktail bar, I have a scar on my chin from when I was dumped by a wave on family holiday and I have little stretch marks on my sides from when I went through a growth spurt in grade 8. All these blemishes represent moments in my life and instead of hiding them, I have chosen to embrace them as markers of memories.

Only once you have learnt to appreciate all the parts that make up who you are will you then be ready for love. In the end though, it’s not about being ready for someone else’s love but learning to love yourself.

Watch the campaign video here to see how the things that embarrass us about ourselves might actually be the things that others find endearing. 

Image by Willy Vanderperre

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MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF (AGAIN)

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We are told that in order to be happy we need to “love ourselves”, to discover the joy within and to build our self-esteem but nobody really tells us how. In this personal post, guest writer Joshua Vaughn shares his story about depression, losing his self-love while in a relationship and then the five steps he took to find that love again. 

Life as a gay guy can often be a battle, we don’t have it easy. Let’s admit it. I mean, lets really admit it. You can say that us gays have the same opportunity as our straight counterparts – and yes that is true, we do, possibly even more. But do you think many straight guys have ever had to reveal news about themselves that could potentially result in exclusion from social circles, family or their community? Have straight guys ever had to cover up who they really were in fear of punishment, abuse and rejection?

Moving beyond coming out and self-discovery, let’s look at the gay dating world. How many times has your attention been driven to the topless six pack Grindr profiles? Or how many times have you had to describe yourself as ‘masc’ in order to be accepted by another?

Yes, life for everyone is tough, but as gays, it is a little more complex.

For a large chunk of our lives we have had to cover up who we are.  Once we come out, we go on to label ourselves to fit in, to impress others and to feel loved, but really all we truly need to do is to love ourselves a little bit more.

Loving yourself is a constant habit, it takes work. I have recently come out of a relationship where by the end, I was a completely different person. Walking into the relationship I was confident, I knew who I was, I was witty, charming and an all-round social butterfly. Towards the end of the relationship, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and constantly in fear of losing my significant other. I was a hermit who lacked energy and on some afternoons I was completely bed ridden. It is safe to say I was a completely different person. People would automatically assume that it was my significant other’s influence that made me become a total different person, but it wasn’t him at all. It was me.

I accept full responsibility. Why? Because I forgot to love myself. I was so invested in the relationship, I put him before me. My needs and wants fell by the wayside. I became secondary and as a result I suffered immensely. Slowly but surely my mental illness got the best of me. I let the relationship dictate my happiness (relationships are add-on’s, not a core feature in life!) I needed to learn how to love myself again, and I needed to do it fast!

After hundreds of Google searches, kindle downloads, self-help blogs, talks with good friends and professionals, I came up with a plan to become the best version of me. I won’t go into the importance of loving yourself, there are plenty of articles on Google that cater to that, but what many articles don’t address is the actual practice of loving yourself. And that’s what it is. It is a practice that needs to be included into your daily routine so that it becomes a habit.

Now this may not apply to everyone, however I would recommend that you simply try it out for a week or so, you really have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain.

  1. Firstly, know the person you want to be. Create a wish list. Let’s be realistic here. You don’t want to totally transform yourself into someone else. I’m talking about creating a list of qualities about yourself that you want to shine more, to develop. Think back to a situation where you thought you handled it well. Or even think back to a better time. Mine was to be more positive, charming, energetic and adventurous.
  1. Come up with a motto. Like an affirmation, decide on a piece of text that you can always refer to. It can be a goal of some sort. A reminder of why you are doing this. Mine is ‘ Be the best person I can be, and everything else will fall into place’. I wrote this down along with the qualities I want to shine listed in the previous step, stuck it on my bedroom wall and referred to it daily.
  1. Strengths! Everyone has them. And write them down! Keep a strength journal. Every day I would write down my ‘wins’ for the day. They could be as little as having a good hair day, or as big as doing well in a presentation. Focusing on my positives and telling myself that I am amazing made a heap of difference.
  1. Fake it till you make it. Embody the person you want to become in step 1. Think like that person, walk like them, talk like them. I embodied the version of ‘me’ that was confident with who he is. I walked tall, spoke with certainty and charm, I oozed positivity. And after a while it worked, I slowly became that person.It takes 30 days for something to become a habit. This is going to be hard, but trust me it will pay off. Some people may disagree with this step, but hey, sometimes we get to such a dark place that taking a break from the person we are and focusing on the person we can become is the only option.
  1. Treat yourself like a child. Speak to yourself as you would a 5 year old child. Be kind to yourself. If you screw up or make a bad decision, think about what you would say to a five year old, and say it to yourself. Admit that you were wrong, but be kind and gentle so you can move forward.

At this point, I can say confidently that I am better than my old self, I am now the best version of myself. People have noticed and commented. I am excited about life again. I am excited to explore and roam. Sure I have off days when I feel like I have lost my footing. When this happens, I acknowledge that I feel this way and am mindful of my thoughts but I use the steps above to get back on that path.

Remember, only you can make yourself feel loved and happy, it’s no one else’s job.

Have you had a similar experience? Have you had to learn how to love yourself again? Comment below!

Image by Sylvain Norget

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THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE FOR ONLINE DATING

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This article was originally written by The Modern Gay for Match.com

I have been using the internet to communicate with other gay guys my age since I was fourteen-years-old. What started as a means to explore my curiosities in the privacy of my bedroom has matured into a means by which I have met romantic partners. In the early days of internet dating you were warned not to share too much detail about your life for fear of being taken advantage of but as we have become more comfortable with this digital medium we are more open to sharing our phone numbers, private pictures, personal stories and even our home addresses.

When I was eighteen I signed up for one of the few gay dating sites that existed at the time. The internet was the only access I had to the big gay world but because I was still in the closet I was reluctant to use a real profile picture for fear of being outed. Like many other questioning, young gay guys, I established a false profile, using an image that I found online. I created an alluring persona of the ideal “straight-acting”, high school jock and used this disguise to communicate with other guys. Luckily though, I quickly realized the pointlessness in pretending to be someone you are not, both digitally and in real life. Although my fake profile allowed me to comfortably chat to other gay guys (something I could not do while I was still in school) I knew that these relationships would never eventuate into anything more than an internet fling. I deleted my accounts and stopped using the internet for chatting until I was comfortable enough to establish a profile that reflected the real me, with genuine pictures included.

Since then I have met some great guys through dating websites and apps. Along the way I have also learnt some valuable lessons about online dating, the most important of which is honesty. Pretending to be someone that you are not is pointless in the long run. Sure it may allow you to escape the reality of your life in the moment but ultimately it’s a dead end and people inevitably are hurt. I also strongly believe that we should only be in relationships with people who love us for who we are and not for who we think they want us to be. The best way to attract these people into your life is to be honest from day one, and this means being honest in your online profile too. Exaggerating your height, body type or income may increase the views on your profile but what happens when you meet your love interest in person and he realizes that you are not a six-foot-two footballer with a six-figure salary? Such superficial things as body type and salary should not even matter in a loving relationship but they will become an issue if you have lied about them from the start.

While honesty is certainly the most important rule in online dating, here is a list of 7 practical ways to improve your online profile that will hopefully lead to happily ever after.

Image by Steven Kohlstock

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