Your environment plays an important role in developing a strong identity and sense of self. Everything from the people you spend time with, where you get your news, and the social media accounts you follow will influence your sense of belonging in a community.
In this episode, LGBTQ+ affirmative psychotherapist Justin Oberste joins host, Michael DiIorio to discuss mirroring: how we reflect back our lived experience with the world around us. Today’s episode will answer these questions:
- What is mirroring?
- How can this strengthen our sense of self?
- How does this impact our relationships?
- How can we use this to elevate the gay community as a whole?
By the end of this episode, you’ll understand how developing a more conscious approach to your environmental influences can have a positive impact on your sense of self, relationships with others, and the greater community.
For more info on today’s guest, Justin Oberste, visit his website or find him on instagram @justinoberste.
Today’s host: Michael DiIorio
Michael’s Instagram: @wellismo_coach
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Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of gay men going deeper. This is a podcast where we talk about personal development, mental health, and sexuality today. I’m your host. My name is Michael DiIorio, and I am very excited to inviteJustin Oberste on the podcast to talk about mirroring identity and sense of self I tested. I Did I say your last name,
right? I forgot to ask you. Okay. Perfect. Perfect. All right. So guys, Justin and I decided to do this episode today because we both know how important our environment is in developing our own sense of self and our own identity. And when I say environment, what we’re talking about is things like the people we spend the most amount of time with where we get our news from the social media accounts that we follow anything that influences our identity in the world around us.
And so when, when we can be very conscious and very deliberate about these influences, it has a profound, positive impact on both our individual sense of self and even the community at large. So that’s what we’re gonna be talking about today. Specifically, we’ve got a couple of questions that we want to cover. That is what is mirroring for those of you who might not understand that concept fully like me.
We’re going to talk about how this can strengthen your sense of self, how it can impact your relationships, and finally, how we could use mirroring to elevate the gay community as a whole. So, first I wanted to let Justin introduce himself. This is actually Justin’s second time on this, this podcast. So I’m really excited to welcome him back. So Justin,
go ahead and tell the audience a little bit about you. Yes, it’s so good to be back. My name again is Justin Oberstein. I am a psychotherapist in Los Angeles and I specialize in sex therapy, emotion focused therapy, attachment science. I work a lot with couples and specialize a lot in like dating app culture. And I’m an artist and I love my dog.
There’s so many things, but that’s the sum of it, but it’s really good to be back. Thanks for having me. Awesome. Yeah. I mean, based on what you guys have heard of justice, you can see why we’d have him back. Cause it’s very, very much aligned with what we talked about here on the game and going to podcast.
So let’s start off and let’s jump in with the first question for anyone out there who, who might be a little bit unsure about what we’re talking about. When we say mirroring Justin, I can actually throw it off to you first. What’s can, can you describe what this means? Just in plain English for us? Yes. Mirroring is a type of reflection,
reflecting back and experience, reflecting back someone’s subjectivity, which subjectivity can be thoughts, ideas, your individual reality, our inner being our body, our things we enjoy. So it’s encompasses a lot. And it’s a term I first heard in grad school when I was studying affirmative therapy, they use this word a lot with reflecting back to our LGBTQ plus clients,
their lived experiences. Yeah. Perfect, great summary. As I was looking it up myself, w how I summarize it as basically the effect, the influence of our, of our environment on us and vice versa, right. Once of us on the environment. So it’s that relationship between us as an individual and our environment around, is that a very basic,
vague level? Is that about right? Yes. Cause I, I would say it’s almost like two mirrors. We have what I would call it inner mirror, and then we have one where we need it from outside of us. Okay, good. Cool. Thank you. So what we want to talk about first is how this mirroring actually strengthens our sense of self and how it impacts our sense of self and maybe a positive light.
So I can start off by sharing, you know, a very, very common complaint. I hear from people in the game, men’s brotherhood from my own clients, even myself, this is very common where people say that they don’t fit in. They have a hard time fitting in. They don’t feel part of the gay community because that’s a very vague term,
but basically the, the environment of the gay world around us. And this, this is regardless of, you know, age where, where my clients live race, even like I hear this across the board, which I think is very interesting. We either way, we all feel like we don’t fit in known as a resets me. Oh my God,
I, I fit in perfectly. So when we dig deeper on this and I, I couldn’t say that I felt this way as well. And I still do it sometimes feel like this community is not for me. Like I have nothing aligned here at times, but when we dig into it with clients and I have that space to dig further into it,
what I like to do is look at their inputs. We do, we do what I call an environmental scan. We kind of scan their environment around them, people, a social media, you know, everything that we kind of talked about at the beginning, their beliefs, even potentially from their family or, or culture about homosexuality or sexuality in general.
And then what we find of course is that they’re not aligned to these things. So a lot of the things that I hear are, you know, there’s so much focus on youth. And if you’re someone who’s an older gentlemen, that’s gonna make you feel like you don’t belong. Like, oh, all these people are young and I’m not, you know,
another one is, is that hyper-sexual focus. So there’s so much focus on sex and hooking up and hookup culture and all this stuff. And if, if that’s not your jam, if that’s not something that you’re into, you’re going to absolutely feel left out. So when we dig in, you know, that is often the kinds of inputs that they have is,
is things like Grindr, right? So like, if you’re, if you’re only, if you’re only looking at grinder as your kind of subset of what gay culture is, you’re going to have a miserable understanding of gay culture. Yeah. So I think, Or even using Grindr or Scruff or something as a mirror, like we’re talking about, oh shit,
we’re doomed. Yeah. And of course, of course people are going to feel left out, right? Like I don’t fit in. They look around, they see, oh, these are the people that are on Grindr. Or these are the people that are, you know, out at this party. If you don’t align with that, of course you’re gonna feel left out.
So I think it’s, it’s very easy and I don’t blame anyone for feeling left out. However, I will say this. It is, it is incumbent on us, on you too. If that’s not your, if you’re not aligned with that, then, then there are other options for you. And I know that those other options, aren’t always visible.
We don’t do a great job in the community of uplifting them, but trust me, they are there. So I think it’s really important to realize that, that you have to take a little bit of ownership there. Right? You have to realize, okay, if this isn’t for me, surely there is something that is out there for me. So taking that responsibility to not change your environment,
but look for other environments that may be more aligned to you. Yes, yes. And yes. Like, I mean, you’re nailing it. It’s okay. So I have a lot to say, so I’ll just first say, I’ll probably say some things that will probably trigger some people or offend them, but it’s okay. Like just let it just sit with it,
process it, everyone that’s listening. But to kind of start with where you’re focusing is for all of its undeniable benefits, gay pride is now I would say preventing us to knowing ourselves. So let me go into that a little bit more where you’re mentioning, fitting in. So somewhere in our history, the culture of the gay culture started forming and we started doing things and understandably as a marginalized and exploited group,
there were certain areas where we had to hide to even like meet each other or date secretly. And there were a lot of phrases and, you know, hidden bars. I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of history of that, even older history. So we kind of couldn’t help but create what we have. And it, this I’m kind of touching a little bit into identity politics,
which I hate. But what I’m trying to say is we have, we have our pride in America. Same-sex people can get married, which is great from on the political front, but no one will fucking ask us, I’m using a form again here again, no one will fucking ask us actually how we feel about things. So I’m going to bring in the subjectivity part and this heterocentric world they’re not ready,
it’s uncomfortable. So I’ve even encountered in my personal life with certain trends and even some family members that I haven’t seen in a while, or I’m around. And this I’m my subjectivity where I will hear so much about their life and what’s going on for them. And I’ll ask questions, but no one will really ever ask about mine or who I’m dating or who I’m engaged to,
or what’s my line of work or what I’m really doing. So from an individual, well, I see it all the time. And even, I would say out there in media, even social media, you know, there’s some people who are sharing some things, but you don’t really get to see gay people. Cause that’s really the primary audience here,
what we actually think and feel and want to explore. There’s not a lot of space for it. So my first encounter with, I would say being reflected back, or if an experience was in my thirties, when I came to LA gotten to grad school first day, my first professor doctorate doctor, he was an openly gay Jewish man. And he was teaching one of my one-on-one classes in psychotherapy.
And I remember just being so profoundly impacted by that because I’d never had anything like that in my life to see someone that I want to kind of become or in the line of work, I’m really intrigued and feel called to do in that place. Teaching me who is also openly gay, I just, I grew up in the rural south. I never had that reflected that mirroring.
And I remember it just so profoundly impacted me and my line of work and still to this day, I mean, it’s called me to it. So there’s, there’s that aspect. But then there’s also within gay culture and all the various body sizes and you know, people of color, there’s not a lot of spaces yet. And I think it’s been hindered by us creating kind of this weird gay culture where everyone’s got the six pack,
abs they’re all white and you know, they are all at the pool parties. They’re all getting the pictures and their Speedos and they’re drinking and there’s a lot of drug culture associated with that. And it is really, I think, hurting us and killing us. Yeah. Justin, it’s great that you mentioned that because I’m living that right now, I’m currently in Puerto Vallarta,
which for those of you don’t know is a, is a very big gay hotspot, lots of parties, lots of fun. So what you just said is so true and you know, I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now and you know, as we’ve been chatting, it’s just, I’ve been chatting about making this podcast. It was very interesting.
How clear to me it was that there is this almost like an echo chamber of gays who, you know, spend time only with each other, only doing those things, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But I think Justin has a very good point here. Like I don’t want to condemn that, but I’m saying if that is your only experience of a culture,
you’re going to have a very skewed concept of what that means. Yes, yes. And, and the, to kind of back up into that is a way to kind of lean more into their being something different is to understand how, you know, extraordinary we are as gay people. I think we’re incredible. I think we hold the world together, but we also have created a very dualistic culture that keeps us divided.
And it, like you said in or out, and I think it’s because there’s not enough knowledge and there’s not enough healing to really kind of come in and forgive ourselves, forgive ourselves for being different, forgive ourselves for actually being gay. And that goes deep. Yeah. And I think it’s created this prototype. So, so for this question being about you’re strengthening your sense of self.
If, if the listener out there right now is listening to us and saying, yes, that’s me. I don’t feel like I fit in. That’s not my crowd. That’s not what I want. How can they use mirroring and reflecting back to strengthen their sense of self? Gosh. Yes. Well, sadly you have to work hard for it. Yeah.
So you have to try to find it. And like for example, I have, I have, I work with couples and they have this gay couple that I’m working with now. And one of them is larger bodied. And if he’s not very accepted in a lot of gay communities, he doesn’t necessarily feel welcome to those Speedo pool parties. He feels shamed.
And when he was on dating apps years prior, he was always judged for it. So he’s got a lot of insecurity, understandably. So in my line of work, I’m like, okay, this is really bothering you. This is really on your mind a lot. Let’s evaluate who and what you follow on social media. What are you looking at?
Are you following the Instagram guys that are influencing the gym body people, the fitness app? It’s what are you what’s what’s in your life? And it was, I mean, it was all consuming and you can’t really follow a lot of, I would say maybe gay male celebrities without them being taking pictures in a gym or with their shirt off. And I get it,
it can be appealing. It brings people in, but it’s so isolating and it’s very insulating. I know that sounds contradictory, but it really is both. And if anything is just pushing us further apart, Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And it does have contradictory. I realized that I’m going to sound very contradictory because part of it is finding people who align with your values on the one hand.
And the other side of it is you want to also not do that and not end up in this echo chamber. Like we talked about where you’re only seeing and hearing the exact same things, you know, it’s the exact same body types. It’s that same age, you know, and race and all, all that values, even it’s a, it really is a bounce of belt.
So I know for the listener out there, you could be like, well, these guys are contradicting themselves, but how do you just kind of find that balance between both? Yeah. It’s gosh, I could take this so many places, but I would, it’s really going to be focusing on your inner journey and creating more awareness about yourself. Now awareness is kind of like,
Mmm, that is a difficult world in this world. It’s difficult world, but in a difficult word in this community, I find. And a lot of my colleagues and people I work with find that awareness is a scary term for gay people. They don’t want to necessarily look inside. They don’t really know who they are. There’s a lot of unforgiveness within our circles.
And I think that creates this lack of ability of actually seeing who we are. And we have a very close heart in a lot of ways. So what I’m trying to do even with this podcast is trying to open you up just a little bit. Let’s look inside. That’s, that’s really scary. That inner experience is scary and it’s unfamiliar because again,
we’ve created this culture that doesn’t really go there. It’s really party, you know, outside everything outside of us centered. It’s not really looking at our subjective journey. So awareness is a big key. Yeah. Just kidding. Aware of your body being in your body and looking for what I would call that little inner mirror, which we can get to in a second.
And I would say w what you value, what your actual core values are, not what you think you need to value, or you think you need to aspire to, but really what you truly desire and truly want. I think, you know, for speaking for myself purely is I came out of the closet and I’m like, okay, cool. There’s this big,
luckily I was, I was in Toronto, which is a big game metropolis. And I was like, oh my gosh. Yeah. I finally found my people in my tribe day. There’s all these people dancing at a gay bar. I felt so happy to have found that only to realize not too shortly thereafter, that I still feel like I don’t belong in a lot of levels.
Right. So it’s, I thought, okay, well, now that I’m gay, I have to do these things. I have to go to the gym, I have to do this. I have to like this music, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Half of those things that say were fine, then I was very happy to do that.
Like I, you know, I did like that. And he’s like, I didn’t like that, that kind of culture, but some of those things I didn’t, and I felt I had to in order to fit in, I think that’s the difference between fitting in and belonging. I was trying to fit in and really what I wanted was belonging, Belonging.
Gosh, that’s a really good point. And, you know, I had a similar journey with you where I did like some of those things when I first announced in like this musicians and was interested in the gay bar scene and stuff. And I tried all of that, but at the same time, I felt so alone in it. And at the same time,
it seemed to really lack a lot of depth. And I’ve always been very attracted to kind of the deeper meanings of things just since I was young, I’ve always been very curious about that. So I couldn’t find it there. So then I thought something was actually really wrong with me because I didn’t really have a tribe or people to really talk to about this.
So it took me years to kind of find out that I that’s not necessarily for me. I like some other things and actually be okay with that without also bullying the other side. No, go to your thing. It’s just, it’s just not me. So I’m going to go over here and do this, but in order to feel confident over here and to know my worth,
I had to find actually some people that were similar, I had to find influences specific influences in my life that helped me along that journey to be confident in that. And that’s, what’s so hard to find. And you mentioned values too, which I think is a really good point because if someone were to listen to podcasts and we’d be like, Hey,
you know, write out your values, tell me what your values are, what we might see. And I worked with a lot of young 20 year old gays. They might, they might put my value is to work really hard, to have a nice house and a nice car. Great. That’s fine. And then the next one would probably be to have a hot body,
to have a beautiful man, you know, and that’s not really values. I can see why that’s appealing. But how about being like a really loving partner? How about really helping other marginalizing supported perhaps? And whenever I try to kind of incorporate that in to sessions with younger, with younger gay men, it’s just like mind blowing for them because I think they they’re just in a different place in life,
but even some of the older, older gay men are still there and it’s still hard for them to grasp. So, you know, you got to really go deep and go inward to really know what our values are. We still tend to take it surface. Yeah, I did. where were you in my twenties, Justin, you described me I about 10 years ago.
So It’s hard. Yeah. What I learned is I achieved all those things. I did all that stuff. I got the body, got the barfing off the job that the house, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Guess what? Not happy, not fulfilled it. Wasn’t what I was looking for. Wasn’t there. And so that’s what kind of started me on my own spiritual journey,
the journey inward instead of outward and sorry. In fact, that is where my, my company came from. Willie’s mill is a culmination of, I did a journey on my own kind of looking inward. And I learned so much about myself. And that’s when I actually started to enjoy the life satisfaction fulfillment. Not that I gave up all those things,
by the way I didn’t, but I just changed my interaction and relationship with them. And Willie’s Lisa was born of his first blog. It was born out of this. I looked around at the community and thought, wait a minute, no, one’s talking about this. At least not in my sermons. So I decided to step up and be, and be that it was a blog at first.
And I shared my personal development experiences on the blog. And here I am, you know, three years later and I’m, I have my own coaching practice based on that. That’s awesome. Now, was it scary to kind of go in word and Yeah, I thought that I would lose and I did, you know, some of my, some of the people,
the friends, friends I’ll say that. I thought they were my friends, but I’ve come to realize that anyone who was only with only wanted to be around me because of something extremely was not actually my friend, but yes, it was scared because I felt very alone. And that’s, this actually is a great segue for our next question. I felt so alone because no other game man that I knew was talking was,
was doing the spiritual, seeking, reading the kind of books I was reading. I felt like I was back in the closet in a way like I’m six foot during this thing, spirituality, and I’m not religious by any means, but I was really seeking for something inward. And I was getting that, but I couldn’t, I felt like I couldn’t talk about it at the club.
So that’s, that’s where this came from. Yeah. Gosh, see, you’re touching on a lot of great stuff. So I, I think it’s scary. You’re going to lose friends and it’s, there’s always that question, like write down the five people you hang around the most, those are the things that are going to influence you. And it would go with social media and what you watch on television.
And so where I want to come in to some of these younger gays and those who are listening older, younger, wherever you are in life is to kind of, let’s liberate the heart first. Let’s go in there and actually see what’s there. And yeah, it’s probably going to be dark a little bit and it might be a little, my costume anxiety.
It’s going to be uncomfortable, but we got to go there. If we’re going to see any kind of changes, that’s really going to benefit our community, but also really took to save this planet. Yeah. And the only way to really save this planet is really going to the heart. We can see that now with the conflict and you crane. I mean,
it’s on a human level. We’ve got to reevaluate and go to the human heart. Yeah. And things in the darkness, they have more power, I would say in the darkness. And they do once you bring them to light because once you bring them to the light, you can work on them. Right. And as a psychotherapist, this is very much part of what you do,
right? And the closer you get to the light, the more darkness there is literally shadow. So it’s good to have a balance with it to accept both. And that’s the big difference within Christianity is, you know, the darkness would probably be considered sin. So what they miss out on which, which I find with Hindu and Buddhist teachings, where you can incorporate it in Christianity.
And it can just be amazing is to actually explore those darker, the darker side of you. Because once you do that, you feel more whole, you know, you’re more familiar with yourself and how you operate in the world. And if anything, it creates more empathy. It helps you take more. It helps you get more in charge of your life.
You’re more authentic, you know who you are, all sides of you A hundred percent. And that feels so good. And it changes the way you show up. It’s interesting. You actually show up. Yeah. Yeah. That’s hiding. You’re not numbing. You’re not running away. And that’s something I, I tend to think when I see a lot of gay men at the clubs drinking again,
that’s fine if that’s what you want to do. But if it’s every, and even during the week nights, and I have friends that do that, I’m always just like, what are you doing? Well, I’m just like, what are you running from? Yeah. And I have a couple friends who are newly single and they live in the Los Angeles area.
So they’re back on the dating apps, Tinder, hinge, all that. And I’m hearing their experience. And they’re like, you know, I’m meeting guys who are beautiful, they’ve got rocking bodies and they have, you know, beautiful friends that look just like them. And I’ll ask them, they’ll say, I’ll ask them what they’re doing on weekends.
And they’re like, oh, I went to this pool party or went to the beach with my friends. I binge watched the show. Netflix went to some, you know, watch this drag show the other night, which is all fun and great. But what they’re seeing is there’s with, within the dating circles is there’s no time to like these guys.
Aren’t spending time with themselves to reflect, not reading a book. They’re not going out in nature in the sense of like, to be reflected back in nature, to take that experience. You know, why am I here on this earth? How can I love people more? You know, some of those really core human being questions it’s being avoided that time is being avoided.
So even seeing that mirrored from my friends, their experiences, I’m like, oh man, we got to say something. This is a problem. And it’s a, I think it’s going to hurt us. It has kind of hurt us. It has. And I think that’s, that’s why, you know, podcasts like this are important in the work you do as we’re in the work we do in the game is brotherhood is important.
I would say, I don’t know, maybe, maybe this is bias, but I think, I think we’re taking the right steps. I would say that that’s my perspective, but yeah. Yes. I think we’re moving through a little bit more aware. Yeah. An awakening of sorts. Okay. Justin, let’s shift focus a little bit into relationships now.
So, you know, how does this concept of mirroring impact our relationships? Yeah. Well, we have to really kind of know ourselves first in order to know what we even want and what the date, that’s, why there’s, there’s so many issues in the dating world and ghosting, and we’ve got these crazy different attachment styles going on. So again,
what influences you, what are you seeing on social media? Who are your friends? Who are you spending the most time with, you know, and taking the time to really decide what you want to influence you and not getting stuck in this feedback loop of the same people, the same things, the same atmospheres, like that’s, you don’t evolve that way.
Okay. Then yeah. Back to that, like five, five people that influence you. I think it’s a good way to kind of step back and evaluate. And I, I would say too, cause I, I tend to be more, more of a social person, kind of like U2 Michael, where I think we need to elevate our consciousness.
And that’s just going to be by elevating our spiritual, emotional growth. And that’s going to be probably very different friends than what the typical person might have. That’s listening to this. And I, and I think that in order to find that we do live in a very socially connected world, we can, we can look at hashtags on Instagram. We can find accounts and follow them.
And even with my larger body clients, like I mentioned earlier, I want to ask what they’re following. Always tell them, find people that look like you to follow them. There’s some great body, positive people out there and therapists and leaders and influencers that look like them. Follow that, get that beauty reflected back to remind you of, I can be who I fucking want to be.
And I look good and I want to feel good in the body I have now. Yeah. And that’s hard for people to feel good about themselves right now. And oftentimes you need that role model, right? You need to have someone who maybe is a couple of steps ahead of you even. She’s like, oh wow. Look at them. Look at them,
doing it. Look at them, rocking, you know, whatever, whatever it is they’re doing. You know, I always advocate with my clients, two things in particular on this with respect to relationships, one is on dating apps, I’ll say, change your filters, whatever your filters are, you know, between age 20 and 30 LA, this height,
this, despite this body type, throw them away and just connect with people, not with the expectation or purpose of either, you know, having sex with them or dating them, just connect with them as humans, like learn, learn the skill of connection without any expectation, but high degree of intention. So if someone, you know, if you,
if it’s something like Grindr where someone messages you and you didn’t really know, okay, I’m not really interested in this. If they had the balls to like move out of where to message you, they’re interested. Why not say hi, let’s see where the conversation goes. If it’s something like hinge and you know, you kind of think a profile says some things that are interesting,
but their pictures aren’t quite exactly what you would not like. Say like swipe. Yes. Anyway, and see where that connection goes. I think there’s so much to learn from each other that we think, okay, what I want is in this little box, but in fact, how could you possibly tell from a dating profile app, like this person could be kind generous,
sweet, all the things that you want, they cut up the same values as you, and you would never know only because perhaps they’re maybe not the exact physical replica of what you want. Right? Yeah. You know, that’s so many good things with that. I sometimes have to watch dating shows because I work with relationships with couples and their, most of them are trash and there’s one in particular,
it was a British one. I forgot the name of it, but they sat down with this one, this one female. And they asked her, what, what are, what are your, what are you looking for in a partner? And, and she, she was heterosexual in the male partner. And she gave probably 25 to 50 things about what she’s looking for,
what she wants. And it was all on appearance. Not, not once about, I need him to be kind. I need him to respect me. I need him to be committed. I need them to be reliable. Nope. He needs to have veneers. He needs to have these color eyes, these kind of pecs. And I was just like,
wow, that’s, that’s what dating apps really are. And I’m sick of so many clients that come to me that are sick and tired of getting their first question being top or bottom. Yeah. And I, and I tell my clients like that, that tells me that it’s sad. But also the probably if they’re just one of the specific things they’re probably sexually boring,
Let’s be a little bit more fluid. Let’s explore, you know, don’t commit to coming over and doing something to someone when the vibe or energy may not be there. So kind of avoiding that language. But also when you meet people on dating apps, try to meet them, get face-to-face soon, like face gas, don’t want to date like, yes.
So there’s, there’s so much to that. But again, you’ve got to kind of know yourself. You’ve gotta be able to sit with yourself and know what you’re wanting and what you’re looking for. We work with both. It seems like we both work with clients who are looking for relationships. And I know it’s very frustrating to be a gay single man in this,
in this culture where, you know, all you see is not you and thinking, how can I ever find somebody where I’m so far away from this kind of ideal, right. Which is why I think it’s important that we all do this. I would love, I would love to create a movement around. Don’t look at people. And I know on dating apps,
it’s hard. Even, even at a bar, obviously the first thing you’re going to see is what somebody looks like. It’s the same thing, but take the time, at least to open the door and get to know them. And then if they’re not definite for you, then they’re not free and that’s fine. At least you could rest assured, but for sure,
for sure, there are amazing guys out there who have everything that, you know, someone could possibly want, but they are maybe just shy or slightly socially awkward only because they feel like they don’t belong by no fault. Yeah, totally. And something too. I think it’s important to say to people on these apps and dating is just remember, it’s a human being on the other side of that.
Yeah. So when it comes to ghosting and stuff, it’s really hurtful for people and it makes them feel even more rejected. So I want us as a community, just to remember, we’re talking to other people who have experiences and feelings and let’s quit being so avoidant. And actually if you’re not interested in someone or it’s not working out, come up with an exit strategy where you actually tell them this isn’t working,
or I may not be, we may not be a good fit. Like they’re in your care. These people are in our care. Let’s be gentle and kind to one another. I wanted to add that in there too. Cause it’s just, it’s really harsh. Absolutely. Because people will just often coast cause it’s easier. And yet that’s so cruel,
especially after you’ve developed a connection with somebody, especially that, like if you’ve already gone on dates, you’ve already established relation then to just cut that in several of us, it’s terrible. Yeah. It hurts. And at least people Jayda and it hurts their mental health. We’re hurting each other. So let’s be a little bit more kind and caring. I want to take a little time also to talk about romantic relationships or even friendships,
the benefit of having people in your circle, who are different from you. I think that has helped me a lot because we grow from the contrast. So again, this is where I’m going to sound contradictory. We grow from the contrast of having people who yes. Who don’t look like us. Absolutely. But also who have different, you know, maybe not values but different opinions for sure.
You know, even with my own partner now I typically went for, he, he used to, he makes fun of me. Cause I had, I had a mold, he called it a bolt of the same kind of guy who was always hood. I was a golfer. And then here he is not fitting into the mold at all. But you know,
that was very much, I wouldn’t say a deliberate choice on my part, but it speaks to how I changed the fact that all of a sudden, I wasn’t going for that mold anymore or it was, it just, wasn’t the only thing I was looking at. And so I think there’s a lot to be said for growth, individual growth through relationships.
Can you talk a bit about, about that? Yes. We’re going to evolve as a human species, but especially as a gay community, the more we can include to various intersections, various people from different backgrounds, race, sexualities, and quit being. So clique-ish in a sense, I understand we need certain representation and we, you know, we might find that at a gay bar where it’s everyone,
that’s just like us. I understand that aspect too, but let’s specially can we please put ourselves out into the trans communities, especially right animal. And there is this little conflict I feel within the LGBTQ community, especially with gay and lesbian people with trans there’s a disconnect and I’m not sure why it’s there, but it is. And I think we really need to go to our heart and really try to find better and more creative ways to help that community because they are even more marginalized and exploited.
And as we know, within the American politics scene, there are so many bills against the trans community, especially the youth. There’s one bill towards, you know, gay. Well, everyone LGBTQ within Florida, that’s a big deal right now. So we got to pay attention to that too. Trans people are really getting attacked. Yeah. We actually had a,
one of our ads. One of our gay men’s brotherhood ads was attacked by an anti-trans group, hunting, you know the name of it. I wouldn’t even give them the time of day on here, but they were basically upset that, that we, as the gay men’s brotherhood accepted and invited the trans community into our space, even though it’s called gay men’s brotherhood,
we’ve made a very deliberate decision as a team to say, yes, we invite trans trans people. So yeah, they have been at us and they’re trying to get all our ads removed from revoked from Facebook. So yeah, you’re right. People will stop people’s hatred who really knows. Yeah, no, we have to counter that with love. I think we have to counter that with the opposite of love Yes.
And care and, and just, gosh, I have so much to say about this, but just yeah, love that’s that’s, that’s the best word, love and care. And just, and if you don’t understand, do some research, try to Find someone that can help educate you more. There are so many resources you can go and find and read books.
I’m fortunate enough to have trans people in my life that have really just taken me under their wing. And it’s, it’s been wonderful. Now, someone I like to, I can shout out a load. Are you familiar with the Loke? No. Oh, nonbinary, beautiful, beautiful human being there. They’re on Instagram alone. They’re speaking out a lot and they were just on Glenn and Doyle’s podcast.
And so just a beautiful story and just brilliant. So you can find things there’s, there’s things out there now to really help make us more empathetic. We need it. Yeah. I agree. Couldn’t agree more on the topic of community relationships and other ways that this, you know, looking at or looking for, or other, other, other things,
other people, other images, other experiences that could kind of up-level evolve our own relationships. I think another piece of that is even looking at our sex life and using porn as a way to normalize body types that you wouldn’t normally see in a traditional Maren. I think that is another huge one. If you’re, if you’re a gay man or anyone who watches porn,
that’s fine. That’s great. But notice if all of your porn is, looks the same and has the same kind of bodies, the same kind of age type. So that’s a huge piece too, because that can totally affect your body image. It will totally affect your body image. Totally. And people, sadly, we have had to get our sex education from porn because we didn’t get it under schools.
We still really don’t have it. So a lot of people look to that. And so if they don’t have like a 10 inch deck, well, hope I can talk about this on here. That’ll have a 10 inch stick and can go rail someone for, you know, two hours something’s wrong with them. And they come to people like me and they’re just like,
I can’t keep it up. Or there’s so many things about rectal dysfunction, which I reframe that and say a rectal disappointment because a lot of people don’t have enough information on what a healthy penis is. And does, you know what? Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Yeah. And it’s, it’s so complex with our nervous system. We have to feel safe in order to even get hard.
People don’t know that. So it’s yes. Go ahead, Michael. It speaks to what you said at the beginning, Justin, which is, you know, the first question I asked you is how do we do that? And you said, it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work, of course, because Instagram, whatever port and PornHub,
whatever you’re using is going to give you the same things over and over because that’s, what’s popular. That’s what you’ve liked before. So you really do have to go out of your way to say, okay, I’m actually for something a little different, you know, I’m going to, I’m going to go look up what a normal average penis looks like.
Like it’s not something that’s going to show up on the screen automatically. Yes. Yeah. What are the sizes of a normal average penis? Some people don’t know that you can Google that that’s easy and you know, sometimes they don’t have sex drive, you know? Oh, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t feel like having sex. Well,
that’s actually normal. Our sex drives are constantly up and down, up and down. It could depend on and it could depend on work, family, the relationship, there’s all these other external factors that can affect that. And that’s okay. That’s actually normal, but people freak out understandably because they don’t know it’s normal. Yeah. So that’s, so you have to kind of come in and help and educate.
I really am basically a sex educator And that’s great. That’s I think that’s what we needed. And I hope, I hope people listen to this, feel a little bit of relief saying, oh, okay, well that’s good. Right? Like I don’t need to be, But it’s hard. It’s hard. Yeah. They don’t get it right away because we’ve had,
you know, if it’s someone in their forties, they’ve had 40 years of a very different narrative. So when I come in and I’m like, oh, this is normal. That’s not an issue. Try this. They’re like what? And I find myself for months, I kind of have to go back and repeat it again because I’m their only source of a new narrative.
So I have to try to repeat, you know, be patient, give them other materials, other books that help reinforce this narratives to slowly let it integrate in. So people are probably going to hear this and be like, what? I didn’t know this. Well, listen to the podcast again. Like you gotta let it integrate in. It takes time.
Especially if you have these narratives built in there, like basically like entrenched in your belief system. It’s not going to just take one, listen, or one thing you, you really do have to make a commitment to wanting to learn a different way. Yeah. And research the professionals in this arena. Well, find those who have done the work Worried about Justin’s notes in the bottom here.
So if you are interested in connecting with Justin Hill, he’ll give you his contact info after the end here. Okay. I think I also wanted to talk about the greater community. You know, I think there’s a lot to be said about the marginalized people. We talked about that a lot, you know, mirroring as we’ve seen, already can affect. So we can,
you can use this in so many different ways, body image, sex, life, relationships, your own sense of self and identity. Let’s talk about how we can use this to elevate our entire community. We’ve talked about how there is a lot of work to be done. We need to have a lot of work to do. How can we use this to elevate the community?
Yeah. First, you know, we need to find mirrors, which we’ve kind of talked about a little bit, but it’s basically to kind of sum it up. You have to look for it. Look at Instagram, look at Facebook, find groups that things that you might find interesting for myself. I didn’t really have mirrors. I actually, a mirror for me for awhile was nature.
I found it in the mountains and with waterfalls and people might be like, what does that mean? No, I actually found a part of me reflected back in nature that helps me quiet down and go and work more. So it can be so many things. So look for it, be aware of it. Gosh, you know what? I just lost focus.
What’d you ask How we can, how could you use this mirroring to help elevate the community as a, here we go. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. And so sorry. So that find the mirroring and then also come to the realization of, you know, as a culture against spiritual person, we’ve replaced God or the divine with what are having a hot body,
having material wealth or things. So having an awareness of what the influences are outside of us. So knowing what it is, and then finding ways to get what you want to need that can help deepen your sense of self. And then I, that just naturally will trickle out into who you surround yourself with what you want to get involved in. And you’ll have something to offer.
Like, I don’t think you can do anything meaningful in this world until you take this inner journey because you don’t even know yourself once you know yourself and do the hard work, feel the feelings, feel the pain, forgive yourself for things. Then you can actually expand and make an impact in this world so that it’s going to naturally come forth. It’s going to naturally come into the community and you’re going to be a different person and people are going to listen.
Okay. I think one of those things that would happen as a natural by-product would be looking around your doing that inventory. We talked about looking around at the people who are closest to you or where you’re getting your, your, your, you know, beliefs about gay culture, whatever that might be, and then asking yourself, am I, is my friend group diverse enough?
You know, am I getting the real personal life experiences of people who are not, who don’t look like me, who are not my age, who don’t have the same body as me, and really understanding who they are and what their challenges are. I think two things that are going to happen. One, you’re going to be blown away by the fact that some people have challenges that you haven’t even considered exists.
And the second thing is, it’ll be amazing how, in fact, similar, you are on some levels. Yeah. Which again is going to take you and we’re going to make you think, and you’re not process, and it can change you if you allow it to it’s, it’s kind of leaning into that uncomfortable in those uncomfortable spaces. And people think when they’re uncomfortable,
they, that something’s wrong. You know, like we talk about it in therapy, psychoanalytic stuff, like the window of tolerance. When you’re up against the edge, you’re going to feel anxious. You’re going to feel uncomfortable. If anything, that’s actually a good sign. Yeah. So re reach out to people that are unfamiliar, that are different from you looks wise because you might actually find they’re fairly similar to you in your experience.
That’s kind of the beauty, but it’s also going to expand you as a person, in order for us to expand as human beings, we have to do things that make us anxious and nervous or uncomfortable. It’s the only way to get out of this. This loop Of growth happens To it. I even offer that to clients within their sexual experiences. Like find people on mine.
If you’re in chat rooms and stuff that look different than you Masturbate with people online that look different than you and have a different body than you like, it can be so sexually liberating. And I love Try it. Yeah. Try it. You’ll be amazed at how it can explain to you. And it also, if you’re, if you’re someone out there who’s looking for love or anything,
I mean, you’re just looking for sex and it completely opens the door to so much more fun. Like it’s, it’s actually fun. Like you’ll, you’ll enjoy experiences. You never even knew existed before with people that you would’ve never even given the time of day too, but it just makes it so much more fun and so much more open, whatever it is you’re looking for either way.
Yeah, totally. It’s I can really benefit you in ways. You’d not even, you don’t even know yet. Another thing that I would say to someone out there who may be, you know, has the means to do so, or has the desire to do so is what I had talked about with my blog, which was, you know, I was on this journey on myself.
I had to learn so much about me and I had developed so much more confidence and sense of self-worth through my own reading of books and watching YouTube videos and all my spiritual teachers and all these things, but I kept it all to myself. And then I was just like, no, I can’t do this anymore. I need to share this. I need to tell the world there’s another way.
And so I started my blog, you know, as this and I call it will at least smell the other side of good culture. And, you know, that represents things like inner strength, connection, authenticity, courage, all these things. Cause we think a culture is, you know, superficial reality sex, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah. But I think I’m not that special. Anyone out there at any let’s start there could do the same thing. Take something that, you know, you think could help the community be that space. In my case, I saw, at least in my world, there was no one out there who was talking about this, who was gay, who was looking at it from a very unapologetically gay lens.
It was a lot of women and a lot of, you know, older people not gay at all. So I was like, okay, no, I’m going to apply these concepts to the gay, the gay people out there. And you know, I created this space, but anyone else out there can do that if, if they feel so called to do that.
And I think it’s important that we do that. It’s important that we stop hiding and we say, Hey, listen, there’s another way either you’re into it or not. But Hey, there is another way here. Yeah. I mean, you are a beautiful example of what we’re talking about. You took the time to look at your inner mirror, go deeper and you’re in it for it forced its way out.
I’ve got to do something. I’ve got to change something. I’ve got to have a voice in this because I can’t find it anywhere else. And then other people are going to are drawn to you. I mean, you’re their coach, you know? So other people are seeing it within themselves. Like, wait, there is something here I actually feel seen.
Now I can actually come out of the closet or I can come out of the shadow and say something. And the more we can do this as human beings as a human race, but especially the gay community, the better that’s when the healing can really begin. Yeah. And I think it’s important that, that, you know, to your point earlier that trans folks and people of color right.
Are also step up and make that place. Yeah. I have a friend of mine he’s probably listening right now. He’s he’s always says, I’m so tired of hearing these gay movies and stories and narratives about the white, the white guy, but there’s no like there’s no like Asian lead. And I was like, honey, create it like, yes,
you’re right. Like there absolutely. There does need to be that story, that story, it needs to be told. People need to hear that story. It’s a valid story, but if it’s not being done, you know, we, we have to make space for it. But also someone has to step up and do it as well. Yeah.
The representation really does matter. And I even have some straight heterosexual, female friends who are just now seeing other female leads and movies, like even in black widow is a recent Marvel movie where they’re seeing their body type reflected on the big screen has been instrumental in their growth. Yeah. So imagine what that would be doing for people of color. And it’s not really happening yet.
You know, I, I do. I get a little sick of seeing that the typical cisgender, you know, white gay male movies or Netflix shows where they’re coming out and coming out as difficult and grueling, I get it, but we need other things reflected back to us. What if that could have been a person of color that was larger bodied.
Wow. What that would have done or even at let’s do one about someone who is trans Yeah. Or even older, the, the emphasis on youth is So much ages on. We need it. We need more of it. I think there’ll be a time where we can get it. But again, we have to really, I’m going to keep pointing to my chest.
We’ve got to go in word. Yeah. There’s definitely, I know that there’s a person, probably many people listening to this right now. We’re thinking, yes, someone out there needs to do that. All I want to say is that person is you, like, there’s nothing stopping you from doing that. Some get uncomfortable, get your hands dirty A hundred percent.
And that’s also what we did with the gay men’s brotherhood. Like we, we wanted a community where we could talk, we could connect with other gay men where it was not only about, you know, what are you into, how big is your tech? And can I see some photos view it? You know, it’s more about what are the challenges you’ve experienced?
How do you experience shame? What has your personal development journey been like? Spirituality, all of these things that this entire podcast is about, and we want to create a community where people can connect on that level As well, because it’s so, so sex focused, I think, in the mainstream media. And there’s so much more to us than that.
We are so much more than just, Yeah, that’s somehow wrapped into just our little again, identity politics. And there’s so much more to us, you know, that’s where our subjectivity comes in and it matters. And it’s not really heard. So to keep leaning into that and again, to your point about actually going out there and doing it, like if you want to,
if you want others to be more loving, choose to love first, you know, if you want to reconcile, you know, if you need the outer world reconciled, reconcile your own inner world, if you notice people’s irritability, let go of your own. If you wish to find some other stillness, find it within yourself. So we got to start here.
We’ve got to start in that inner world first. That’s the reflection reflection, right? Exactly. All right, Justin, do you have any last words on this before we wrap up today’s episode? Gosh, I hope listeners will go back and listen to this again. Yeah. And really have it reflect back over and over to really let some of these things sink in.
If you are listening to this and something made you uncomfortable or anxious pay attention to it, it’s okay. Soften into it. See what your heart, the divine, your spiritual, what it might be trying to tell you. Take your time with this. If you need help call Michael. If you need a therapist, find me. I have a website.
Now it’s just an oversea.com. You can reach out to me there. I’m on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all that stuff. We are out there. We are reachable. We are accessible. Let us all learn and grow together and help change the world. Beautiful. Beautiful. Thank you. And yes, everyone. I will be putting Justin’s information in the show notes on the podcast episode on YouTube,
wherever you’re, wherever you’re watching or listening to us, it’ll all be there. So please do reach out to Justin reached out to me. I’ll put mine in there as well. Yeah, Justin said it so well. We are out there and we want to make a difference and we’re here. Okay guys. So that’s what we’ve got for you today on this episode about mirroring identity and personal growth.
So if you have, we hope we’ve inspired you today. If you have any questions, please contact us. Like I said, I’ll put our info in the show notes. If you’re watching this on YouTube, please go ahead and leave us a comment there. We will be looking at the comments. We will be replying to the comments. We also read out feedback at the beginning of our episodes.
So if you want to say something lovely, we’ll share that with you guys. On the next episode, if you are listening to us on a podcast, we would deeply appreciate a five star rating and a wonderful review as well. Every little review and rating helps us get our message out there. Finally, if you guys are not already in the game,
men’s brotherhood, Facebook group, please join us. It’s completely free. And it’s private group for that. We’ve got over 5,000 guys in there now where we talk about personal development, mental health, sexuality, it’s a wonderful place to be. If you want to create some connections in the community that are not necessarily just about sex, finally, the podcast and YouTube channel,
our viewer and listener supported. So if you enjoy what we’re creating here, you can support us by heading over to our Patrion page in the show notes and help us support the show. It helps us to continue making amazing content and supporting the community. And guys, one more thing, sorry. The gay men going deeper membership is open. So the gay men going deeper membership is for people who wants to take their personal development to the next level,
Matt Callen and I are creating amazing content courses, videos for you every single month. So please join us there. The link is in the show notes and I can’t wait to see you guys. So thank you so much, Justin, for sharing your wisdom today and thank you listener viewer for joining us. Have a great day. Bye bye. Yes.