Homophobia affects us all but it’s particularly challenging for LGBTQ people or those of who fail to live up to what others consider “normal.” Interestingly, the pressure also exists within our minds and can be challenged with empowering affirmations.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

LGBTQ human rights and acceptance have spread throughout the world during the last century. However, there are still several nations in which same-sex acts are listed as illegal and are punishable by either imprisonment or death.

Such is the case in my country, Trinidad and Tobago, where persons who commit the “offense of buggery” can be convicted to serve up to 25 years in prison. The law is rarely enforced but along with religious beliefs, it validates homophobic behaviour.

Anyone suspected of being different is a target of homophobia in Trinidad. Thus, those of us who have been abused closely monitor ourselves. We watch the way we talk, walk, dress and express our feelings, adjusting any action that is too telling.

The work we do in our own minds is exhausting and prevents us from being completely free, even in private spaces. Yet, by observing my thoughts and repeating daily affirmations, I find peace.

Affirmations boost positivity and help us to be more aware of our thoughts. Repeat these out loud or mentally, specifically in the morning before you start your regular routine. Also, write them on paper as visible reminders to yourself whenever you slip into a negative mindset.

1. “I choose to let go of what does not serve me.” 

Connecting to the present moment involves letting go of past hurt and worries about the future. This affirmation reminds us to release anything that does not fulfill our needs or desires in the now.

Every time you remember a painful incident from your past, repeat the affirmation and let go. Moreover, if you’re anxious about what’s to come, repeat the affirmation and let go.

To truly put this statement into action, attach it to your breath. As you breath in, think of what you want to achieve. Then, as you exhale, mentally repeat the affirmation as way to release whatever is holding you back from accomplishing your goal.

2. “Every decision I make is the right one for me.” 

This empowering affirmation comes from Louise Hay and it’s useful for people figuring our how to express their sexuality or gender identity. Really, the choice of being fully open or discreet is ultimately yours.

Do not live your life on anyone else’s terms. If your friends are on the down low but you want to date publicly, that is your decision. Conversely, you may open to your family but keep your sexuality a secret at work to prevent discrimination. That is still your choice.

Also use this phrase while thinking of other people as it teaches you to release judgement. Indeed, as it helps you accept your own decisions, you will learn to respect others’ choices as well.

3. “I am amazing.”

Whenever you feel insecure, look at yourself in the mirror and repeat this affirmation. Curiously, I always smile when I say this because I feel a genuine sense of self-acceptance.

Loving yourself and celebrating who you are do not equate to arrogance. Additionally, cultivating your self-esteem and confidence will help you face trials arise during the day. Instead of being on guard in a state of fear, you will embrace challenges with a sense of joy and won’t being easily affected by others’ opinions of you.

Empowering affirmations help Lafayette of True Blood
Your Face Goes Here Entertainment: ‘True Blood’
4. “I am worthy.”

LGBTQ people raised in homophobic societies are reminded daily that they are not worthy of love or the same rights as everyone else. This has lasting psychological effects that lead to stress and self-loathing.

Use this affirmation as a mantra to let yourself know you’re deserving of success. Furthermore, this phrase will encourage you to welcome growth in your life and stop sabotaging the loving relationships you were told you would never enjoy.

5. “I am grateful.”

Gratitude helps me to stay grounded. No matter the circumstance, I always take a moment to say why I’m grateful in that moment. In fact, I start and end my days by listing the things for which I’m grateful, and actively rephrase every negative as a positive.

Write a gratitude list of ten things every night before bed. Let this be your final act of the day so that you will go to sleep with positivity at the forefront of your consciousness.

As you write in your journal, start each item on the list with “I am grateful…” Moreover, start saying it throughout your day as you identify the blessings happening in your life. Soon, gratitude will become your natural response to every situation.