Shouting And Yelling Isn’t Going To Help You!!!

I had to return something the other day to a grocery store. When I approached its customer service desk, there was a man in front of me wearing a hat and dark sunglasses pacing back and forth. He was shouting verbal obscenities to someone on the phone about needing some type of prescription to go through that wasn’t. At the same time, he was also yelling at the women standing behind the counter as if it was their fault for whatever the actual problem was that he was facing. Sometimes I wonder if people like him truly think they are going to get their point across by shouting and yelling their way through it?

Unfortunately, it seems as if there are a lot of people in this world right now who are just plain angry and because of that, its like the slightest thing will piss them off, as in the case of this man who sounded like he desperately needed this prescription to survive. Whether he did or didn’t, I felt bad for whomever it was on the phone he was talking to as well as the women behind that customer service desk. When he walked away, the woman who helped me apologized because it was taking her several minutes to collect her thoughts and take care of my return. I told her I understood why she was feeling the way she was and offered my compassion for the situation. After I left the store, that man’s temper left me pondering my own life’s experiences for when I’ve either acted that way or when I’ve been on the receiving end of it.

To put it bluntly, I don’t like shouting or yelling at anyone anymore. I can see now how it’s a very negative and unspiritual thing to do. Have I done it? Of course I have. I have lost my temper many times in my life, but more so in years past before I started working on living a more spiritual based life. In most every case when I did loose my cool, it really was never about that situation that was happening before me that was causing it. In reality, it was all the things that I had done prior to it that led up to my explosion. My ex partner, who owned and ran a bed and breakfast with me for several years, was an example of someone I once got into extremely loud anger bouts with quite often. Looking back, my anger was never about whatever it was that triggered each of those arguments. Instead, it was all the decisions and actions I had made with that bed and breakfast, prior to those arguments, that I felt powerless over. The truth was that I had gone into a business that I never really wanted to go into, and I had turned over most of the control of that business’s operations to that ex-partner. So when things hit the fan as they did all too often in that bed and breakfast, I screamed and shouted at my ex-partner and said some deeply terrible things to him. More than not, he would scream and shout back at me and say his own share of deeply terrible things. Neither of us ever felt better afterwards and no positive changes ever came out of that shouting and yelling. And each time it happened, it left another gash in our relationship until one day, we parted ways for good because there was nothing left to gash.

There are plenty of other examples that I could cite out of when I’ve lost my cool and shouted and yelled my way through something that was making me angry. But I don’t feel it’s necessary to give you anymore of them because there’s a simple truth I’ve learned that can summarize them all. My life choices and the toxic things I constantly did to my life are what constantly led up to each of those moments where that ticking time bomb within me went off. Sadly, I became a lot like my mother for a period of my life as she shouted and yelled her way through things as well. Being on the receiving end of that for much of my life with her and so many other people that I got close is most likely what helped me to eventually see how shouting and yelling was completely unhealthy for anyone. I’ve experienced a few moments in my current relationship where my partner has raised his voice at me to try to get his point across. The only thing it has achieved is me shutting down and him feeling worse. Rarely have I raised my voice back at him because I know that nothing good will come out of it. Not for him, not for me, and not for us.

I can’t speak for everyone else, so maybe there are still some out there who feel that raising their voice angrily does work for them to get what they want. But if you are someone like me who is trying to live a life of peace and serenity and follow God’s will as well, then I’d encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and hold back from doing any of that shouting and yelling the next time you feel like you’re not getting your point across to someone. The reality is that all of your increased noise is going to do nothing more than hurt your own spirit and anyone else’s that it’s being directed at. And also remember the fact that there’s probably a lot of things of your own doing that led up to this happening in the first place…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

People Pleasing

Up until just a few years ago, I spent much of my life being a people pleaser. As that, I took heed to most, if not all, comments, suggestions, and pieces of advice that came from someone else. I did this so much back then, that it got to the point where I constantly changed parts of myself regardless of how I felt inside. Because of this, I lost slight of who I was, as well as my own value and self-worth.

Putting my entire life out on this blog for the world to see has been a major step in my healing and spiritual growth with God. But at the same time, it’s also left me in quite the vulnerable position to be critiqued on a daily basis. Thankfully, the majority of any online or offline comments about my blog have been totally positive and supportive to continue doing exactly as I’m doing. Inevitably though, it was bound to happen that I’d receive a few that weren’t so favorable and instead suggested I possibly take a different direction in my writing. For as much work as I’ve done on removing that people pleasing side of my brain, those comments have challenged me to hold strong to what I’m doing and not change a single thing. A few years ago, and dating all the way back to my childhood, that wasn’t the case though.

As a kid, I people pleased my ass off, to put it bluntly. At home, I was afraid of my mother, her temper, and her alcoholism too. I did everything I could to meet her expectations because of my fear of her and even went on to a career later in life that was motivated much in part because of her pushing me into it. In my grammar schools, I wanted people to like me so I often did what people suggested of me, just to fit in. I changed the way I looked, what I wore, how I talked, what I did socially, and even of all things, the name I went by, for that reason. And frankly, as time went on, it made me sick, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I lost total sight of Andrew Arthur Dawson and instead became carbon copies of other people’s personas.

After I left home for good and graduated from college, I went on to establish a life filled with more people pleasing. Whether it was a friend or an intimate partner, I changed many parts of myself to make them happy with me. In turn, I became more and more unhappy because I kept losing sight of who I was inside. While some of that feedback I received by others may have been valuable at times and even guided me in healthier directions, it’s the fact that I went into auto-pilot as soon as I received it that became the problem. So when I heeded any words of advice that were suggested of me to change a part of myself, I’d do it without thinking just to make that person like me. And eventually, I stopped liking myself altogether and became an angry and miserable person. That all began to change about a year and a half ago when I finally put a Higher Power first in my life.

That Higher Power has led me in these past 18 months to various tasks that have helped me to figure out who I am and what I like and don’t like, because as you can see, I spent almost 39 years of my life not doing so. Writing in this blog since this past January 12th, has been just one of those tasks that has helped me out in that quest. Initially this actually started out as a homework assignment by my spiritual teacher as well as a therapist I once saw. They each suggested I journal so I took it as an opportunity to do more than the standard cookie cutter “Dear Diary…” type of thing. Instead, I began to utilize a writing skill that God has blessed me with and began placing my life experiences, my feelings, and my spiritual growth out there for everyone to see and read about. I honestly never thought anyone was going to read about my journeys in life and have been completely surprised to see how wrong I was. I’m extremely grateful for all those who have been reading these entries, especially those who may be growing spiritual themselves because of it.

As I mentioned earlier though, I was recently given a suggestion to not be so serious in my writing. But the truth is that I’m a serious writer and it’s not something I really see myself changing. Even when I speak in public for either the motivational talks I give, at recovery meetings, or in the meditations that I teach, I’m just as serious. It’s just who I am, and you know what, that’s ok for me today. And it’s ok for me to be serious. Ironically though, if you were to ask any of my friends about how I am socially, they would tell you that I can be quite witty and have often made them laugh. But in regards to my writing and speaking, each represents a much more serious side of me that haven’t yet incorporated my sense of humor into them. I’m sure one day both will, but it will happen when it’s meant to and not because of trying to people please.

I truly respect all people’s comments, suggestions, and advice, but today I know I don’t have to follow any of it if I don’t want to. To be totally honest, I’m actually grateful I received the comment from the anonymous person who suggested I not be so serious. It helped me to see how far I’ve come when I didn’t immediately jump into trying to write something that would have made them potentially happy. Instead, I wrote another serious entry about the fact that I’m not a people pleaser anymore, nor do I ever want to become one again. As my license plate currently says, BURSLF, or to spell it out, BE YOURSELF, as that’s the only person I would ever want to be today.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Positive And Negative Symbiotic Relationships

In nature, there is a type of relationship called symbiosis where two organisms come together from different species to form a bond that is sometimes, but not always beneficial to both parties. This same principle can also hold true with human beings where two people come together and form a relationship for mutual benefit. Unfortunately, as in nature, there are many instances where those symbiotic relationships aren’t mutually beneficial.

One of the best occurrences of a positive nature based symbiotic connection is probably with a bee and a flower. In that connection, a bee will take its pollen from a flower to make honey, and at the same time, it will naturally spread some of that pollen back to that flower, which in turn helps that flower to reproduce. But then there’s that example of a negative nature based symbiotic connection such as when a tapeworm attaches itself to a host and feeds of it. This in turn deprives that host of some of its food and critical nourishment and can even eventually kill the host.

In the case of human beings, there are many great examples of positive symbiotic relationships. The one I like to refer to most is rather close to home for me as it deals with recovery from addictions. Case in point, take the relationship between a sponsor and a sponsee. In many cases, it is very healthy for a sponsor to focus in on helping a sponsee to walk through the 12 Steps. Not only does this help the sponsor to stay clean from their addiction by getting them out of self, it also helps the newcomer build a solid foundation for their own sobriety and recovery. Essentially it’s all about the positive relationship that can happen between a teacher and their student. But as in nature, there are examples of people who become part of a negative symbiotic relationship where it’s unhealthy for one or both of the parties involved. And sadly, I became involved in quite a few of them for much of my life.

The best example I can provide for one of the many negative symbiotic relationships I fell into is with someone I met back in the fall of 2007. For the sake of anonymity, I’ll refer to this person as John. When we first met, I was new to the Boston area in Massachusetts, I was a dry drunk not working much on my AA recovery, and I was still acting out in various substitute addictions. I befriended John at a random meeting that I had gone to, solely for the purpose of an initial physical attraction I thought I had to him. A week later, we met up for the first time at a restaurant where I learned that John was extremely lonely, that he dealt with a lot of depression, and that he had no real friends. By the end of that meal, while I didn’t feel attracted to him anymore on a physical level, I decided I would “take him on as a friend” in the attempt to try to fix him. At that point in my life, I often tried to fix everyone else because I didn’t want to do the work that was necessary to fix myself. As time moved forward, John allowed me to try to “fix” him and in the process developed a love for me that was both real and obsessive based to him. And the more I tried to fix him, the more he ended up developing that love obsession for me. At the same time, I avoided fixing me and grew more and more toxic because of it. And the more I grew toxic, the more I acted out in other addictions. And the more I acted out in other addictions, the more my life got out of control. And the more my life got out of control, the more I lost my friends and my health. Eventually the only thing that remained in my life was John and my dependency on him. So John fed off of me as he got to be around his love obsession, and I fed off of John as he became the only one who wanted to be around me and who would deal with my daily drama. But neither of us rarely got what we thought we wanted from each other and fights ensued because of it. People used to say we acted like an old married couple (this is a warning sign of a negative symbiotic relationship by the way) as we bickered, fought, argued, and went into anger and rage with each other all the time. After four years of this, and doing many toxic things with him to sustain that connection, I got strong enough in my relationship with God and walked away from it for good. The bottom line is that John and I fed off of each other symbiotically and negatively for way too long. It prevented the both of us from truly working on ourselves individually and growing spiritually. Thankfully, because of my closer relationship with God today, I am free from all of these negative symbiotic relationships. There are many others, especially in recovery, who aren’t though. Often, they stay in them out of some type of mutual gain or from fear of hurting the other person. Sometimes one is receiving “free things” like meals and gifts, while the other who’s giving them is getting the attention they want and avoiding the loneliness they don’t want. All of it really boils down to codependency, which in the long run, will doom any relationship based upon it.

So if you ever find yourself in one of these negative symbiotic relationships, I’d encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and start working on a better relationship with your Higher Power instead. It was my Higher Power that led me away from all of those toxic relationships and my life has become so much more healthier because of it. Know that yours too can follow a similar path as you focus less on feeding off of someone else symbiotically and alternatively start feeding more on what your Higher Power has to offer you…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson