I had a wonderful conversation last night. For those of you that don’t know, I, along with some co-organizers, run the Madison chapter of a national group called Poly Cocktails. It is a casual, social gathering for people who are interested in or practice all forms of polyamory and non-monogamy.
One of the goals of the group is to create a safe space, where people can be open about their relationship preferences and practices without fear of judgement or shame. We’ve gotten some great feedback from people suggesting that we are accomplishing just that.
The conversation last night went beyond that. It was something special. A first time attendee found me another co-organizer. The person wanted to thank us for organizing the group and what a great experience it had been.
They told us they had been apprehensive about coming to their first gathering of Poly Cocktails. They went on to say that they live their life not being able to be honest about their choice of non-monogamy because of fear of losing their job, of judgement and shame. They said this was the first time they had been in a setting where it felt safe and welcoming to be authentic about this part of themselves.
It was incredibly heartwarming to see how emotional the person was feeling. This wasn’t just something that was “nice” or “enjoyable.” It was an incredibly moving experience – to not only have people be okay with them, but to be welcomed and accepted.
Acceptance is something we all want at some level. To be accepted for who we really are. While not everyone is going to like us, we want to know that there is a place we are welcome and there are people who want to know us because of who we really are.
Too often we are in the position of having to deny who we really are. Sometimes it is circumstances such as jobs or other organizations. Sometimes it is our own fear that causes us to hide ourselves. Too often “fitting in” means being embarrassed about who we really are. That moment you feel that who you are is okay, that you are valued, is incredibly powerful.
It would be great if every part of our life was welcoming and accepting of who we really are. But for most people that isn’t the case. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way in all areas of our lives. We can seek out people and places where we are accepted. It may be important to show one side of yourself in certain areas of your life, it is equally or even more important to have the places where you can show your other sides.
Invest in finding your safe and welcoming place. Create opportunities to challenge your fears. There is little else that feels as good as being accepted just for being you.