Is It Ok To Tell Someone You Find Them Attractive?

I used to think it was ok to tell people that they are attractive, especially whenever I’d hear someone putting themselves down with negative comments about how they look. But, with a relatively recent incident where the result of me doing just that ended adversely and followed in the line of a few others that ended in similar ways here in the Toledo vicinity in previous years, I have questioned whether it’s ok to keep doing this.

First though, let me explain something. In a world where image is unfortunately everything nowadays, it doesn’t take long to come across someone who has been shunned in society for not looking the way society thinks they should look. I have witnessed many outright judge those who they think are too heavy or too skinny or too nerdy or “too something” that doesn’t quite fit in to some stereotypical societal norm. It’s almost as if the world keeps painting this perfect image of what someone needs to look like and if they don’t look that way, they tend to get overlooked. That’s why I have frequently let people know throughout my entire adult life that I find them attractive whenever I hear they’ve been put down or I hear them putting themselves down, because I truly believe everyone is beautiful. Sadly though, here in the Midwest, the results of me doing that haven’t been all that positive like they were when I lived on the East coast.

You see, here in the Midwest, people seem to be far more reserved, or at least the majority of those I’ve come across thus far. Conservative may be a better word. Regardless, along comes me, an openly gay, passionate and intensely spiritual individual, to an area that on some level often has felt the opposite of my personality. And what I’ve seen because of that has led to results that are on the exact other side of the spectrum from what I’ve been used to for years.

Case in point, I was out to dinner several months ago with a heterosexual individual from my addiction recovery circles who I had only recently been getting to know. During our meal, he was talking about his girlfriend and how amazing she was, how beautiful she looked, and how he didn’t even know what she saw in him. He proceeded to jokingly put himself down a little, calling himself a few of those labels I’m sure others have unfairly judged of him sometime in his past, and I stepped in. I told him I thought he was attractive and that he looked a lot like my own partner. Regrettably, I didn’t hear from him much after that and eventually got unfriended and blocked by him on Facebook. When I finally caught up with him to have a conversation about it, he told me I had made him seriously uncomfortable with my compliment and that he thought I had been hitting on him. Ironically, I hadn’t been, and when I told him that I love my partner and have been monogamous for almost seven years, he still remained uncomfortable and our conversation ended.

Up until five years ago, I was living in much more liberal areas, where complimenting someone like this would have been regularly received with a thank you, even from heterosexual individuals, both male and female. But here in the Midwest, my intentions continue to be misjudged. Yet, looking in the mirror I have to be honest with myself and know that I do still carry some addiction energy within me, where in the past I might have complimented someone in a self-seeking way, to gain something from them. These days though, that’s not the case, as my primary intention really is to uplift someone, but someone may still be feeling that energy within me. Nevertheless, I don’t want people to think I’m hitting on them nor make anyone feel uncomfortable just by saying I think they are attractive. Maybe it’s best I don’t do this behavior anymore? I’m saddened at the thought, as this world has far too many people who feel ugly by societal standards. But in God’s eyes, I truly believe we are all attractive and should be told so regularly, especially in light of how many times people get shunned over the way they look these days.

I wonder if Jesus were alive today, what He’d say to someone who was putting themselves down over the way they look? Would He let them they were attractive? Would He tell them they looked beautiful just the way they are? And would He be judged if He did? I wish I had the answers to those questions.

I’m left wondering if people judge my intentions here because I’m not conservative, because I’m gay, and because I’m so open on every aspect of my life? I’m left wondering if I should keep doing a behavior I never thought was wrong, or stop it altogether. For now, I think the best thing I can do is leave it up to God to provide me greater discernment and I pray I receive that the next time I’m with someone who finds themselves unattractive…

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

Would You Still Have Your Faith In God After Suffering For A Long Time?

I have to admit I find it extremely frustrating when a religious person tells me how great their faith in God is when everything is going so well for them in their life. Is that really true faith? In my opinion, I believe one’s true faith in God is forged when everything seems to be falling apart in life and has been for a long period of time.

Throughout my spiritual journey, I’ve met a lot of people from many different religious backgrounds who seem to have plenty of faith in their Higher Power when life is going their way. Sometimes it even feels as if they like to congratulate themselves on their level of faith by believing they must be doing everything right with God because their life is going so smoothly. A good relationship, a good job, a good pay, a good family life, a good health, and a good set of material things MUST equal how GREAT God is and GREAT their faith in God is right? Yet, what happens to their faith when those good things suddenly begin to disappear from their life and they start suffering? And what happens when that suffering goes on and on and on for a long time? Sadly, many tend to lose their faith in God in times like that. They become negative, bitter and usually struggle to understand why God would let such bad things happen to them, especially when others seem to have it so much better.

You see, that’s my story. I was once someone who proclaimed how great God was and how great my faith in God was. It always came though during those periods of my life when things were going my way, when no one I loved was dying, when I was getting a great income, when I was taking nice vacations, when I was is in an awesome relationship, when I was affording nice things, and when I wasn’t ever thinking about my health at all because I was so active in life. My faith in God began to show its weakness though when my father committed suicide in 1996 and when my mother took her drunken fall down the stairs to her death in 2005. After making it through both of those difficult periods with a sliver of faith, it wasn’t until 2010 when I saw the true fragility of my faith.

It was in 2010 when I lost my business, then my financial fortune, then my health, then my ability to remain physically active in life, and then my capacity to work and earn any sort of income for myself. As each of these things disappeared and didn’t return, more and more of my “awesome faith” in God disappeared as well. As days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and months into years, I began to wonder why I still believed and sought God, when I had lost so much of those good things.

When my spiritual teacher left my active life in the spring of 2016 and told me I had to walk the next leg of my journey alone, I lost the last thing I had left in my life that was helping me to desperately cling to what little faith I still had left in God. And let me tell you, those first few months after that would test my faith beyond anything I’d ever experience before in life.

But here I am in February of 2019 still moving forward, still believing in God, and still keeping my faith, even when a sane person would probably have done otherwise by this point under the same suffering and conditions I’ve continued to endure. I honestly can’t say why I’ve been able to hold onto my faith in God, but I have, and I’m thankful I have, as it’s probably the only thing keeping me going these days. There are days though where I really question whether God exists and why I still believe in Him given the hell I’ve gone through and keep going through. Yet, if you want to know what my gut tells me about why I still have any sort of faith in God, it’s this.

Because I believe that true faith isn’t forged in life when you have everything going well for you. Rather, I think true faith is built during times of long suffering, as what eventually arises out of that is an understanding that life isn’t about having any of those good things whatsoever. Instead, what I’ve found in all this long suffering is that life is more about getting in touch with an unlimited well of unconditional love for myself and others, learning how to appreciate everyone and everything no matter what the circumstances, and being able to forgive, even when it hurts, all of which were things I never could quite grasp in any period of my life prior, where I thought I had such a great faith in God…when I actually didn’t…

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

Why Don’t You Want To Be My “Friend”?

Just last week, I discovered I had been abruptly blocked on Facebook by someone for no specific reason, whom I thought considered me a friend. It initially set me down a dark path of negativity and frustration until I realized the issue wasn’t with this person at all, it was with me and that little kid I once was in grammar school who so desperately wanted to make friends, but never got any.

Honestly, sometimes I wish the word “friend” wasn’t used at all for any of those connected to me on Facebook, because I’ve noticed every single time someone unfriends or blocks me, I get really upset. Yes, I know I place way more stock into someone tied to my online social media circles than should be, which is precisely why I finally realized this issue is a much deeper one, one that goes all the way back to my childhood.

You see, I was once a kid who got constantly picked up and just never quite fit in. A kid who spent the majority of his time by himself, head deep in books, and constantly looking over my shoulder to see when the next bully might approach. A kid who typically got looked over during any group activities, especially gym class. And a kid who simply remained invisible to the masses, who was consistently picked last in any game and usually sat alone during lunch in the cafeteria.

I so desperately wanted friends back then and it wasn’t until I chameleonized myself at the age of 17 did I ever start to get any. It took me until 2012 to finally let that chameleon part of me go, but now I find myself mostly alone once again these days. I know that’s the very reason why I place so much stock in things like those tied to me on social media.

Overall, this issue often causes me to be a little too clingy and intense with those I consider to be a friend. It’s definitely a character defect and one of the main things that tend to drive people from my life. But, thanks to a gentle nudge and suggestion from someone I know in recovery, I’m starting to see that maybe the way to changing this is learning to like myself a lot more than I really do right now.

In fact, sadly, I’ve definitely struggled to like myself much as of late. While I may love myself and love the person I’m constantly working on becoming, I may love the things I do to help others, and I may even totally love my constant quest and thirst for God, I honestly don’t like the life I am living right now, with all my health issues, with getting older and looking older, with not being able to hold a job, and well you get the point.

So, this is where my work is right now. Maybe that’s why my Higher Power has me in the place I’m in, where I’m forced to spend more time with myself, because I need to learn how to like myself far more than I do lately. It’s hard though, especially when my body hurts as bad as it does on most days, where the best I can do is take small walks for short periods of time.

Nevertheless, I’m inclined to believe that there is a way to like myself on every level, even in my current state, I’m just struggling to access that within me. I know the solution to this isn’t going to be based on the number of friends I have on social media, or how crowded my social calendar gets, or how much money I earn, or how healthy I am, or how fit I can look, etc. And neither is the solution in trying to figure out why someone doesn’t want to be my friend anymore. Rather, it’s the person I get to see in the mirror every day that I need to like a whole heck of a lot more. I pray that God will help me figure out how to do that, because darn it, I’m worth it…

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