Sojourner’s Truth

March 20th, 2015

build your confidenceI’m not man enough, says one trans male client. I question my masculinity, says another cis male client. Am I as much of a woman as a cis woman?, asks a trans female client. Why doesn’t my life matter?, asks an African American cis male client. Questions like these pop up with much regularity in my work. People questioning their authenticity because cultural “norms” and life experiences make them feel out of place, invalidated, and just plain crappy about themselves.

Sojourner Truth asked a similar question while addressing the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851. She asked the audience, “Ain’t I a woman?” She was standing up for herself and others; claiming her status and experience, even in a culture that wanted to diminish her womanhood – especially since she was black. While she was speaking of a very specific experience, I think that her message is relevant today in many different ways. Some trans men and women question the authenticity of their gender because they weren’t “born a male or female”. Some African Americans question their value to the greater society, especially in the wake of police brutality and attacks on voting rights. Some men feel like they are less male – less masculine – if they are sensitive, if their feelings get hurt, if they show sadness and tears.

These experiences are unfortunate and disheartening. But what can you do if you find a part of yourself thinking this way?  My first suggestion is that you approach yourself with understanding and compassion.  Hating who you are for feeling this way is usually not helpful. But having compassion and not placing self-blame can lay a good foundation for change. After that, there are many things you can do. Some folks find it helpful to speak out – claiming who they are and their experiences.  Activists find a lot of power in this…as do many folks who post on Facebook and Twitter. Others find it helpful to talk with friends, getting another perspective and opening one’s self for validation and affirmation.  If the feelings and thoughts are deep, talking with a therapist can be very helpful as well. Building and reinforcing a foundation of self-love and acceptance will also strengthen your confidence.  And once you have some confidence, you can more easily be who you are.  And with each step in expressing who you are, you become even more confident.  And you live into your true, authentic self.

If you want to build your confidence and are looking for a therapist in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, contact Mike Giordano at 202-460-6384 or

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