Written By: Dr. Jaime G Raygoza
On a recent Finding the Unicorn in You podcast, James Bow shared his journey of self-discovery after an upbringing steeped in fundamentalist Christianity. From hiding his sexuality to breaking free of black-and-white thinking, Bow’s story illustrates the challenges of becoming your authentic self. His hard-won insights provide inspiration for others seeking to embrace their inner unicorns.
Escaping the Binary
James describes growing up in a strict religious environment that demonized homosexuality. Attending Christian schools compounded these destructive messages. As an adult, James realized he could no longer compartmentalize being gay and his faith. Questioning biblical teachings allowed him to reject their narrow judgment. But dismantling binary modes of thinking remained an ongoing process over decades.
People-Pleasing vs. Self-Validating
Like many LGBTQ+ kids, James learned to hide himself to avoid social rejection. After coming out, he found that people-pleasing tendencies still controlled him. Pleasing others, not honoring himself, directed his choices. Through therapy and self-work, James practiced standing in his worth. He learned to distinguish people-pleasing from genuine connection. The authentic self springs from within, not others' validation.
Owning the Whole Self
James encourages examining how old coping strategies may limit you today. Perfectionism, pretending to be fine, overachieving at the expense of joy—these tactics once fostered safety but now constrain. Daring to acknowledge where you fall short unlocks greater self-awareness. Our weaknesses, just like our strengths, are vital parts of our wholeness.
James' journey inspires us to break free from confining expectations, think beyond binaries, and bring our full selves into the light. Only by embracing the entirety of who we are can each of us become the unicorn we were born to be.
What parts of yourself have you been afraid to own? How can James' hard-won wisdom help you live more authentically?
Share your thoughts below!
Find the full episode of the Finding the Unicorn in You Podcast on Spotify, YouTube, and all major podcast platforms
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