June is quickly becoming synonymous with rainbows, parades, waving flags, energetic celebrations, and other symbols of LGBTGEQIAP+ pride. It’s exciting to see the progress society is making in celebrating our community and publicly supporting us, but pride month doesn’t necessarily translate to individual pride. If you feel an extra burst of pride this month and get an extra pep in your step, you go right on with your big bad self and live your best life. However, if you find yourself struggling this month to feel the pride you are seeing all around you on the streets and in social media, know you’re not alone. Those feelings are valid. To help you through this month, here are five ideas to remember:

1. Be Patient with Yourself

It’s okay to feel exactly as you are feeling in this moment. Your story, including your timeline, is yours and yours alone. Maybe you are exactly where you need to be in this moment. It can be tempting to compare ourselves to others and think, “I wish I were where they are in coming out,” “I wish I could be as comfortable with myself as that person,” “I wish I were further in my transition like they are,” or “I wish I had the kind of relationship they have.” Take a breath in, let a longer breath out, and remind yourself that every person’s story is unique with different obstacles, barriers, advantages, and disadvantages. You are where you are and deserve to be able to take things at your pace and feel your own feelings rather than forcing yourself into someone else’s timeline.

2. You are a Success in this Moment Simply because You Exist

You’re already doing the thing. Simply by existing as YOU, you are doing the thing that makes you a success. Your existence as an LGBTGEQIAP+ person is inherently courageous. At my lowest, I didn’t feel like I deserved to celebrate myself and certainly wouldn’t have labeled myself as a success. My current self can look back at my low self, though, and say, “You’re doing the thing! You’re fighting the fight. You got this and deserve to be celebrated at your lowest as much as at your highest.” I say the same to you. You are enough exactly as you are in this moment.

3. Focus on the Intrinsic over the Extrinsic

Intrinsic value comes from within, while extrinsic value is placed upon us and decided by external forces. Pride can be a breeding ground (I know) for insecurities if we let our mind focus on extrinsic values, including image, status, money, power, etc. Let’s make the mental switch and instead focus on our personal growth, what we have overcome, strengths we’ve discovered, what we continue to learn about ourselves and others, the love and connection we have created and have the potential to create, and the impact we can have on the world around us and future generations. Focusing on extrinsic values frequently leaves us feeling like we are never enough, while focusing on the intrinsic helps us find gratitude in our own unique strength and potential.

4. Start Small

The idea of suddenly feeling proud to be someone many of us have been told our whole lives not to be can feel overwhelming and even far-fetched. Instead, start small and find one seemingly small thing about yourself for which you feel proud. By starting small in this way, we begin to write our narrative of worthiness and dignity one sentence at a time.

5. You Belong

One of the greatest myths instilled in us as LGBTGEQIAP+ children is that in order to belong, we must fit in or achieve sameness. Being inherently different in terms of our gender and/or sexual orientation, we can question our own sense of worthiness and dignity by not being able to achieve this sameness to those in our family and/or community. This belief that in order to belong and have worth we must be the same has been reinforced and well-practiced through much of our lives. We can challenge this idea by noting that objects with moving parts (a car for example) has many different parts that each serve a unique and important function. (A car with 20 steering wheels would not be much good.) Being our true selves and finding empowerment through authenticity in a world that has conditioned us to believe otherwise is an enormous act of courage. Let’s encourage one another to belong without fitting in. There is no right or wrong way to be LGBTGEQIAP+.