This article was published on December 28th, 2020
The year is coming to an end. Truth be told, most people can’t wait to bid 2020 goodbye. It has been a hellish year. From the COVID19 pandemic to the crazy U.S. elections and everything in between, the end could not have come sooner.
As you wave 2020 goodbye and reflect on the past year, think too about the behaviors and habits that hold you back. While this has been a challenging year, carrying those negative habits to the new year will only make your life miserable. Here’s a list of the top ten things gays need to stop doing in 2021.
1. Body shaming
Most gay men are body obsessed. We have this erroneous image of the perfect body – chiseled like a Greek-god. However, that’s far from most people’s body realities.
Let’s face it; we all can’t have chiseled bodies with six-packs and bulging biceps. The sooner you accept that, the better. Stop shaming people because they don’t fit your erroneous image of the perfect body. Stop pressuring yourself too hard trying to fit a body ideal.
Look beyond the body and unto the person. You may be surprised to find that the best things don’t always come nicely wrapped.
2. HIV Stigmatization
Stop discriminating against people with HIV. They already have it difficult enough without you piling on more vitriol.
HIV-positive people are humans with an illness. Indeed, as long as they remain on medication, the chances of transmitting the virus are extremely low.
Don’t let a positive status keep you from making friends, smashing, or even dating. Treat everyone equally and with respect. Educate yourself on TasP, PrEP, PEP, and U=U.
3. Ignoring COVID-19 health guidelines
Despite the grim COVID-19 reality on the ground, gays continue ignoring pandemic guidelines. It should be the first thing you drop in 2021. You may have made it through 2020 by sheer luck, don’t stretch your luck in 2021.
Wear your mask, stick to your small group, wash hands with soap and water regularly, don’t gather in groups or go to bars, clubs and underground parties. Also, wait till you get vaccinated to start socializing around. We’re all in this together, and we’re just about there. Hang on. We can do this!
4. Pretending you don’t know people in public
You know you do this. You walk down the street, see someone you once went on a date with, chatted on Grindr, hooked up with, or talked to one time at a friends birthday, and you both completely ignore each other. Lame.
It doesn’t take much to smile and say hi. It might not mean much to you, but it might just brighten someone’s day.
Tired of constant politics that get nowhere? What about the tanking economy? Wealth and economic inequality?
Society has so many social ills today. However, most people don’t just whine about those; they also complain about personal stuff like their health, looks etc.
Going into 2021, stop whining and do something about it. Don’t like how you look? Change something. Workout, dress different, anything. Looking to fix society’s ills? Don’t just stand on the sidelines; speak up, and participate. For instance, support or march with the Black Lives Matter movement to start making progress on justice and equality.
6. Trying to please everyone
You can’t please everyone, so stop trying. Instead, live by your ideals and intentions for the new year.
7. Toxic relationships
Stop hanging onto toxic relationships. If he abuses you or demeans you in any way, walk out. Staying and thinking you can change him will only end in misery. People don’t change because you want them to; they do so because they want to.
8. Thinking you’re not good enough
Stop short-changing yourself by thinking you’re not good enough. You’re more than enough. It sounds cliche and overly motivational, but you’d be surprised what you can do if you stop doubting yourself.
Keep telling yourself, “I am good enough…” Affirm it until it starts becoming a reality. You’re good enough to make more money, look better, date someone you currently think is beyond you. You’re good enough to make an impact.
9. Fearing change
Change is a given; embrace it in 2021. To borrow an idea from eastern religions: Stop swimming against the currents and swim with them. You’ll end further ahead and with less effort if you embrace change instead of fighting it.
10. Being afraid to be different
You’re gay. Own it. Stop making excuses and dare to be different. The world is full of cookie-cutter lives driven by societal pressures to conform. However, that feels like the wrong approach. Our differences are what make us unique and exciting. So, own yours and be proud of them.
Just Be You in 2021
There are many other things gays need to stop doing in 2021. These ten are just the beginning. Look back at 2020 and gauge the habits or behaviors that held you back. Those are the ones you should start working on immediately for a happier, healthier, more fulfilled 2021.