A Kaleidoscope Challenge:  Expressing Gratitude!  

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it’s the perfect opportunity to focus on gratitude!

As members of the LGBTQ+ community (or perhaps as an ally,) it’s all too easy to be aware of the anti-gay and anti-transgender biases that LGBTQ+ folks face in our daily lives.  We experience them in community settings like school or work, through online bullying, by discriminating laws enacted by the government, and often maybe even in our own homes.  It’s good to be aware of it, because perhaps that will inspire us to work toward creating positive change, set healthy boundaries for ourselves, or join with others in safe spaces.  While we deal with it, though, it can be exhausting.  If you’re like me, it might make you sad just to think about it.

Let’s shift our attention for a moment away from those messages and focus on the affirming ones, instead.  Who in your life has demonstrated unconditional positive regard for you?  Do you have a friend who you can tell anything to without fear of judgment?  Does a teacher encourage you to be who you are in a safe space?  Do you get a friendly smile from your neighbor?   Do you have a dog who gets happy every time you come home?

Wayne Dyer said, “We expand what we focus on.”  What exactly does that mean?  It means that if we consciously choose to notice something, then we’ll notice it more often.  By doing so, the amount that we experience that thing will grow.

With that in mind, Kaleidoscope presents a challenge to you:  Make the conscious choice to notice three new things that you’re grateful for every day for a whole week.  It can be something major in your life, like your mom or a best friend, or it can be something minor, like the smell of fresh bread or feeling the grass between your toes.  Be on the lookout for what to be grateful for on any given day, then write those three things down in a Gratitude Journal or create a list on your phone.  If you do this, you will feel better by the end of the week than you did at the beginning.  Don’t believe me?  Try it!

If you really want to feel good, take a moment to express your gratitude to those around you that provide you with loving and affirming support.  Who knows – you might help make them feel better, too!

Kaleidoscope is offering a great opportunity for you to express your gratitude toward a person who has shown you affirming support in your LGBTQ+ identity.  In honor of Thanksgiving, we invite you to make a token of appreciation for a loved one who has been an ally to you in your LGBTQ+ identity.  This person can be anyone in your life – a family member, friend, teacher, therapist, or perhaps a coach.  Get creative and have fun while expressing your gratitude for their support.  You could make them a bracelet out of string, write them a poem, bake them a cupcake – whatever sounds fun and meaningful.  If you have trouble thinking of someone who has been an ally to you, please reach out to us.  We are happy to be your ally and we look forward to inviting you to our free social event groups where new friends will gladly celebrate who you are.

In fact, we are grateful for you!

Are you someone who’s interested in becoming an ally for an LGBTQ+ loved one?  Would you like to build upon the skills and knowledge that you already have as an ally?  On Nov. 15, 2019 in Sherman Oaks, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Kaleidoscope is hosting a workshop training on LGBTQ+ themes – including considerations for those who are neurodivergent, such as being on the autism spectrum.  It’s an opportunity to learn new tools to be a more supportive and affirming ally.  Ask questions, receive information, resources, and support from licensed professionals and peers.  It’s never too late to become an ally or to improve upon your level of support.  We’re also here to support the supporters!  We’re grateful for you, too.

About the author

Bryan Scheihing is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who provides individual, group, and family therapy support with the Kaleidoscope program as well as working in the community to promote positive institutional support of LGBTQ+ individuals.  He has dedicated his professional life to helping provide affirmative support to members of the LGBTQ+ community by promoting awareness, acceptance, empowerment, and equality while also helping individuals realize their potential and achieve their goals.  Interested in receiving Kaleidoscope services?  Contact Bryan at bscheihing@thehelpgroup.org.