IN AN EXCLUSIVE, CANDID INTERVIEW, J.ALLAN LONGSHADOW SPOKE TO GAY AUTHOR LEO WHYTE ABOUT THE INCREDIBLE STORY BEHIND HIS BOOKS HIS TWO BOOKS, “RELIVING THE PAST TO RELEASE THE PRESENT – TRAUMATIC MEMORIES AND LETTERS TO MY YOUNGER SELF” AND “LIFE SATISFACTION – A SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO ACHIEVING HEALTH, HAPPINESS AND HARMONY”. HERE IS THE SECOND PART.
J.Allan Longshadow: Reading the book myself, it comes across very strongly with a tone of both acceptance – of what was and what is – and how that is part of who you are today, and also forgiveness. I found the book to be very forgiving – to both yourself and the other people who have come into your life. Is that something that you feel is important in moving forward?
Leo Whyte: Yes and no. It’s important, but its certainly not easy and I think that it’s sometimes easier to write forgiveness than it is to feel it. So there are absolutely things that I am still working on. There is forgiveness in writing that that starts the process. And I do re-read those letters occasionally and it just reminds me to look at the other perspective, because it’s very easy to get back into that head cycle of being angry. Forgiveness is a great way of getting past that, but it’s not easy, it really isn’t. Its a process, it’s not a one-time thing. You don’t just suddenly wake up and think “Oh, I think I’ll forgive them today”. It certainly does take time, and it’s backwards and forwards. The most important thing, I think, is to forgive yourself, not just for things you’ve done but sometimes your reaction to things, because you can’t move on from anything until you’ve accepted it and forgiven yourself.
J.A.L: You describe the book as a light in the tunnel for those in darkness. And it very much is that isn’t it – this is your story, you can’t speak for other people, but it offers something people can reach out for to just get some support in those dark moments doesn’t it?
L.W: I hope so. That certainly was the intention when I wrote it, to provide that support for others, even if it was just that sense of being with others that understand. And I hope as well that it is a resource for those learning how to hello others with mental health issues and deal with trauma. I think many people that I have worked with, many therapists and counsellor s over the years, can sometimes come new into the profession a little bit naive as to the type of things that they may be dealing with. And the multiple traumas that I’ve suffered, I think may be a more extreme case, but being able to read real examples helps people to learn how to respond to things. So I do hope it offers a light in the darkness, not just for those in darkness, but for those trying to lead others out of it as well.
J.A.L: As a life coach myself, I’ve read the book both from a personal perspective and from a life coaching perspective, and it really has opened my eyes to things that I could never possibly have really imagined or understood with my background. I feel it’s a really valuable handbook, a really powerful resource not just for individuals but also for professionals. How would you feel about a professional using your book to develop themselves?
L.W: I’d be very proud to know that I’ve helped one person, let alone a group of people. But as a professional myself, I hope that other professionals read it and think about how people they’re working with may be reacting to things and how they may not always know or understand why they react in certain ways to certain things. Therapy for me was a process, I learnt a lot about myself as a professional and why I reacted in certain ways. I didn’t always strive to be good, I strove to be the best and for me, that was very much a control system, a protection mechanism. I’d never really thought about it or understood it until I analysed it in therapy. So I think, in a professional setting, if people can maybe just be a little bit more compassionate, and if it sparks a little bit of professional compassion and helps them to understand that people are perhaps working through things that they themselves don’t understand, and be a bit more compassionate about those kinds of situations in a professional setting, then the more the better.
Listen to the interview here:
Both titles are available in paperback and electronic format from Wednesday 1st of June.
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