“You Need To…” NO, I DON’T!

“You need to…” Those were the words my partner spoke at the beginning of a sentence a few weeks ago one morning when we were in a heavy discussion about my life in general. Before I knew it, I was in a total tailspin reacting to those words, oblivious to the fact that the anger I was dispelling at that point wasn’t about him at all, even though I was directing it at him. Once I became more level-headed though, I realized the anger was actually with my mother, someone I desperately tried to make happy for as long as she lived, by constantly changing parts of my authentic self, or said in simpler words, trying to people-please her. And people-pleasing would become a toxic pattern that carried on well into my adulthood.

The fact is, I don’t “NEED” to do anything to gain the favor of another. I am me and I am working quite diligently to love my authentic self now. But for many decades I didn’t live in my authentic self. So, when anyone said to me “You need to…” and finished that sentence with something I should change about myself, I’d do it. I’d become a chameleon of sorts, changing my stripes to fit in, all because I was so desperate for the approval of others, all stemming back to where it began, wanting my mother to just love me for me. But, my mother struggled to love me for me because she didn’t love herself. She tried to change that inappropriately by constantly looking outside of herself and using many “You need to’s’” in life with myself and my sister. After a childhood of listening to her countless “You need to’s”, I allowed the pattern to continue into each of my friendships and relationships. I stopped being anything close to authentic because of it. The list became endless on how many things I changed about myself, all stemming from someone saying, “You need to”. Heck, my best friend in my senior year once said to me, “Andy, you need to change your name because Andy doesn’t sound cool” so I changed it to please him, by allowing myself to be called by the name he came up with, that being “A.D.” I became ashamed of my name so much so because of it that I didn’t go by my biological name for over 15 years. Today I go by “Andrew”, because it is a part of my authentic self, something I appreciate now more than I ever used to.

I believe everyone in this world has a truly authentic self, with authentic likes and interests, that make them who they are. Changing any of them because of someone saying “You need to…” is not only people-pleasing, it’s codependent. When my partner spoke those words a few weeks ago, what followed after it was him suggesting that I’d have more friends in life by knowing my audience and not sharing as openly about my life or being as deep as I am with others.

But you know what? That’s me. I’m a deep question kind of guy who loves to share openly about my life. But, I stopped being that in my early childhood because I so desperately wanted the love and approval of my mother that I thought I’d get it by obeying all her “You need to’s.” So, I spent my life trying to be everything I wasn’t and that always seem to come at my own expense, sacrificing my authentic self in the process. And you know what happens when you sacrifice your authentic self in the process? You get depressed, you develop anxiety, and you start living in a codependent relationship where your authentic self isn’t appreciated, where your flaws and shortcomings are pointed out more than the love another has of your authentic self. And unfortunately, one will remain in that type of relationship for as long as they continue listening to those “You need to’s.”

I have very few friends in my life today not by choice, but because I refuse to listen to those “You need to’s” anymore, as I don’t want to compromise my authentic self. Sadly though, it seems that living in my authentic self makes many people I meet uncomfortable. Some say I can be intimidating by how personal I am about my own life and how direct I am with others. Could I be less personal? Could I be less deep? Could I be less of who I am now? Sure, but I don’t want to be “less” anymore, because what I really want to be is “more” of me. The true me. The me that I was as a little boy who just wanted to explore life on his own terms. The authentic me.

Today, I don’t need to be what anyone wants me to be. I choose to be what I want to be and will only give that authority over to my Higher Self, to God, to figure out what that is. I don’t believe a person will ever be truly happy so long as they keep listening and obeying statements from others that start with “You need to…” Because in all reality, the only thing any of us ever need to do is to stop listening to those who think they know better for us what we need to do in life when only God and the Spirit within us ultimately knows what that is…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

How many surgeries have you had in your life where anesthesia had to be administered prior to it?

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, a series in my blog dedicated to finding and focusing on the gratitude in life, which for today is for my partner Chris’s recent successful back surgery and for the one who performed it, Dr. Healey.

About a year ago, Chris began complaining about pain going down both of his legs. I thought it was just sciatica brought on by stress and tension. Over the months that would follow though, his pain grew stronger, causing him to walk with a waddle of sorts. Initially I joked about it, which I regret now, calling him a penguin. Little did I know there was a serious compression growing worse by the day upon a bundle of nerves in his low back. By late summer and well into the fall, his ability to walk any distance became seriously compromised. We often had to stop and sit on benches, which I know so very well from suffering from Fibromyalgia-related complications. When Chris finally caved in and went to see a back specialist, they attempted at first, as they always do, to see if medications might help. They didn’t of course, so they tried the second course of action for back pain, which is cortisone shots directly into the area where the pain was emanating from. Chris did that several times to no avail, which eventually led to back surgery being scheduled. Unfortunately, that surgery was delayed from January into late February due to both of us getting COVID.

When the day of his surgery finally arrived, I was holding onto a lot of irrational fears because my hypochondria often gets the best of me, even when it comes to other’s health, especially those I love deeply. Fears that included me thinking my partner would undergo the knife and never come out of it, that he might get paralyzed, or that there would be no benefit at all and he’d be put on permanently disability. Thankfully, none of those worries came to fruition.

Dr. Healey opened the area in Chris’s back with such precision and smoothed down the bone area that was pressing into his nerves so well, that Chris’s recovery was immediate from the time he opened his eyes after the surgery. The only pain Chris felt post-surgery was in the actual area where the surgery had taken place. But, all that pain that had been plaguing him going down his legs, all that numbness, and inability to walk normally was totally gone!

It’s now been well over a month since his surgery and I have seen such an incredible healing in Chris. The scar on his back is minimal now and the effects of the surgery have been only positive, which I’m so thankful to Dr. Healey and to God of course for helping my partner through something that I know initially caused him some fears as well.

I’ve known of many who’ve had back surgery over the years, and multiple ones at that, some of which regret having them because of now having permanent pain and damage from it. Thankfully, my partner isn’t one of them and is well on the road to living a great sense of normalcy again. I truly am grateful to Dr. Healey for being such an expert surgeon and grateful to God for guiding his hands so successfully and am dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday for them both having ultimately restored my partner’s back to a level he’s now able to function and live his life again.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson