A People-Pleasing Side Of Me I Wasn’t Aware Of…

Are you a people-pleaser? Do you often do things hoping it makes other people happy, only to become miserable in the process? While I’ve worked hard to remove much of that side of me, I discovered the other day I still have some work to do surrounding it. How I discovered this, was unfortunately only after the fact, after I had begun an act of people-pleasing I wasn’t even aware I was doing.

This act of people-pleasing was with a good friend of mine who I usually enjoy a coffee with on Sundays before our home group in recovery. When they indicated several Sundays ago that they didn’t know whether they’d be available for coffee or not the following Sunday and would let me know on the day itself, at first, I was totally ok with that. But as the week wore on, I began to feel totally overwhelmed with my health issues and with keeping to the other obligations I already had for that day. Frankly, I was just tired and didn’t want one of those days where I was running from one thing to the next. My gut told me to just let my friend know I needed to cancel and aim for the following week instead. But, I didn’t do that, solely because I was so afraid of letting them down. So, when the night before our coffee get-together came upon me, I saw they were online and sent a message asking if they knew whether they were going to be able to meet with me the next day or not. Truthfully, I silently hoped they weren’t, as that way I’d be off the hook from my fear of letting them down if I had to be the one to cancel.

Regrettably, my inability to be fully honest with them and my attempt at people-pleasing completely backfired, causing more annoyance for them than any good. They had inferred through my words that I’d rather cancel, even though I hadn’t directly said that, and wished I had just been more forthcoming about it. And to be honest, looking back, so do I.

While I’ve grown quite a bit from being the people-pleaser I once was that originally stemmed from an unhealthy relationship with my mother growing up, there’s obviously a part of me that continues to do it with those I feel the closest to in life. That’s mostly because I’m afraid to lose any more friendships, given I have so very few of them. Unfortunately, though, this unwanted behavior doesn’t actually help to prevent that. In fact, it tends to have quite the opposite effect, frequently causing more stress and strain on the connection than anything. Thankfully though, my friend helped me to see how people-pleasing is more of a self-centered act and told me how the only cure for it is to just be honest and up front from the start. And I totally agree!

While I do consider myself an extremely honest person, sometimes too much so, I can see how on some level, I’m still being dishonest through any act of people-pleasing. The fact is, I’m sure if I had just told this friend that I wanted to cancel, once I had started to feel so overwhelmed during the middle of the week, they would have been 100% ok with it. Instead, my act of people-pleasing only caused them greater frustration and grievance.

This is precisely why any sort of people-pleasing isn’t healthy, because most acts of it don’t stem from the soul and aren’t spirit-led. Rather, they tend to arise from the ego and it’s attempt to control and please the masses, which I for one, know nothing good ever seems to come from trying to do that.

So, I’m just going to have to work a little harder on being honest the next time something like this comes up, where I begin to feel the need to people-please rather than be true to myself. Because I’m quite sure any good friend would rather have a fully present me who wants to actually be there spending time with them, than a barely present me, who’s only there out of people-pleasing, fear, and trying to check a box…

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

Where Is The Forgiveness?

James Gunn was the director of both blockbuster films Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG) 1 and 2. He was slated to be the director for the next installment as well, that was until some controversial and sensitive subject matter-based tweets of his from 10 years ago were resurfaced and circulated around by internet personality Mike Cernovich. Because of it, Disney promptly fired James Gunn, which left me asking, where is the forgiveness?

Honestly, I’m pretty upset right now about Disney’s action. While Gunn’s tweets were indeed insensitive and done in very poor taste back then, we’re talking about something from 10 years ago. 10 YEARS! Those he’s worked with have even stated that those old tweets don’t even match his personality these days. Rather, he’s described as a loving, caring, and good-natured individual who’s gentle and kind and thoughtful of all people and even animals. And as Dave Bautista (who plays Drax in GOTG) put it succinctly, “He’s made mistakes. We all have…” Yet, Disney is still holding Gunn accountable for something he more than apologized for many times over.

The fact is, I’m not ok with Disney’s action at all because frankly, if everyone was held accountable in this world, like Disney has done with Gunn, for every mistake they’ve ever made throughout their lives, regardless of any positive changes or amends the person has made, very few would probably remain employed. The same principle holds true with anything really. Imagine if someone you were dating held you accountable for something you did well before you ever entered into that relationship and promptly left you as soon as they discovered it? Is that fair? Not really.

But life is often not fair, especially nowadays where people seem more hell bent on carrying judgments, anger, and resentments towards those who’ve made mistakes, rather than offer any forgiveness.

What I find most sad about this lack of forgiveness is how a majority of those not offering it also consider themselves to be a Christian. It was made pretty clear to me in my Biblical studies from long ago that Christ said to always forgive, no matter what. So why are people not doing much of that these days? And why can’t James Gunn be forgiven for something he did 10 years ago that he openly admits was an immature mistake, especially in light of the fact that he’s definitely not that immature person anymore.

In my humble opinion, I believe this lack of forgiveness by so many is related to the notion that it’s far easier to point the finger at others instead of at oneself. It’s far easier to look at someone else’s mistakes than one’s own, which reminds me of what Christ once preached so eloquently when he said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Sadly, I’m sure this is precisely why Disney quickly cut ties with Gunn, so as to avoid any potential backlash from all those who might point the finger at their company and put them in any type of bad light.

Personally, I’ve encountered a number of individuals in recent years who’ve misunderstood me and pointed the finger at me in the process, labeling me as this and that, and judging and resenting me, rather than looking at themselves in the mirror, at their own behaviors. Behaviors such as  adultery, promiscuity, addiction, and plenty of other toxic behaviors that I only became a projection for. And even when I never judged them for any of those things, they continued to judge me and couldn’t seem to find forgiveness in their heart. I believe that ‘s because forgiveness is something that must come from the heart and from looking within, but if the focus remains on pointing the finger, then that’s looking on the outside, instead of on the inside.

The fact is, forgiveness is so difficult for many because it means overcoming the ego, which would rather hold on to all that anger, judgment, and resentment to keep the focus off of having to look within. Believe me, it took a lot of work to go within and find forgiveness for my mother and father after their selfish actions led to their tragic deaths. The same was true for me finding forgiveness with the adult male who molested me when I was a 12 year old kid. But I did find forgiveness with both my parents and the molester as well, and became a lot freer and more at peace because of it. Most don’t realize that offering forgiveness leads to far more freedom and peace within, as compared to how very little of that will ever come from continuing to harbor anger, judgments, and resentments.

Nevertheless, I truly believe that James Gunn deserves forgiveness and his job back as director for the 3rd GOTG film. It’s pretty clear he’s not the immature person he once was and has done his very best to erase his past through his positive current nature. Haven’t all of us made our own immature statements from time to time in our lives that we ended up regretting at some point and hoped we’d receive forgiveness for?

I’m sure most of us could answer that with a yes, so, hopefully Disney will offer exactly that to Gunn and hopefully the rest of the world will also follow suit one day when they start discovering that practicing forgiveness is going to lead to a much more peaceful existence, both within themselves, and with the rest of society as well.

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

My Struggles To Find Acceptance Here In The Midwest…

Four years ago, in early August of 2014, I wrote an article about how much I loved the area I had just moved to here in the Midwest. It didn’t take long after that though for my opinion to change, as these days, I struggle to find acceptance here, mostly because of the constant rejections, criticisms, and judgments I continue to face.

While I have lived in many places throughout my life and made many friends and acquaintances in each of those areas quite easily, life has been overwhelmingly difficult in that department for me here in the Midwest.

For whatever the reason, I have been a magnet for people to dump their projections on me. I’ve been told I don’t try hard enough to make friends and yet I’ve also been told just as much that I try too hard to make friends. I’ve been told I’m too intense and yet I’ve also been told I’m a little too boring. I’ve been told I act better than everyone else and yet I’ve also been I don’t act confident enough. I’ve been told I’m too personal and yet I’ve also been told I’m not personal enough. I’ve been told I can’t be trusted and also been told I’m too trustworthy. The list goes on and thus, I’m sure you can see the dilemma I’ve faced.

So many people have had such strong opinions of me in this area, all differing from each other. That’s uniquely different though from how easily I was able to make friends and blend in all my former places of living. I was reminded of that when I visited my best friend in Massachusetts recently. There, people I hadn’t seen in a long time made sure to take the time to come out and see me, while others I met for the first time on that trip, wished I would return to their community so they could draw closer to me. All in all, I generally felt more embraced and connected during my seven days there, as compared to the last four years here.

For whatever the reason, I’m just not well liked here and that’s become overly apparent not just to me, but also my partner. He has seen me try over and over and over again to make friends and witnessed me work diligently on trying to become an unconditionally loving, non-judgmental, and fully accepting person. But, in the process, still seen far too many people viciously attack me, talk behind my back, avoid me like the plague, and treat me like I was one of the worst people that could have ever come to live in this area.

The number of rejections, criticisms, and judgments I’ve received here from his family, from the recovery community, and from other social circles I’ve tried to be a part, have been staggering. Yet, I never faced anything quite like this when I lived in Massachusetts, in the Washington D.C. area, in the Eastern Shore of Virginia, or in New York, each being the places I formerly called home.

So, what’s different?

Besides the fact that all those other places were on the East Coast, the only other things that have changed dramatically are how focused I am on my recovery now, how dedicated I am on growing my relationship with God, and how much I seek to rid myself of all low vibrational behaviors. Yet, if any of those things were truly placing me in a position to be rejected, criticized, or judged, wouldn’t it have followed me back to Massachusetts when I visited there a few weeks ago? They say you are wherever you go. Yet, for the week I spent back in Massachusetts, I was overly loved, embraced, and accepted, three things I miss incredibly here in the Midwest.

In all honesty, I haven’t felt like I can be myself here, as being myself has only led to alienation with far too many people. I don’t know what it is about me that creates such polarization here, but I’ve come to the acceptance that my personality and make-up just doesn’t work that well in the Midwest. Regardless, I know I’ve done my best and am inclined to believe that maybe I’m just meant to spend more time alone here than with others.

Maybe that’s why God brought me here to the Midwest, to an area where I was always meant to spend more time in solitude, reflecting on my life, connecting more with Him, and learning to be ok with me just as I am, even when much of the rest of the world here has seemingly not been totally loving accepting of me.

While it has hurt immensely to be rejected, criticized, and judged as much as I have here, to have been unfriended and blocked on social media as many times as I have here too, and to have been left off of a number of party invitations and get-togethers here as well, I believe there is one who has never treated me like this whatsoever and that’s God. That’s because I believe God loves me just as I am and sees how hard I’ve tried to become a healthier individual, a more loving person, and a more caring being of Light.

So, in the end really, while I’ve struggled to find acceptance here in the Midwest, and faced as much opposition as I have for whatever the reasons, when it comes down to it, I think the only acceptance I truly need is from God. And when push comes to shove, maybe that’s all that truly matters anyway…

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