TODAY IS MY DAD’S BIRTHDAY.
So rarely do I take a moment to really appreciate his efforts and the time that went into raising my brothers and I.
My dad and I have had a rocky relationship. We were very close when I was young — I was definitely “daddy’s girl”, but at some point in grade school I started looking for reasons to resent him, his intentions and his actions.
As I am diving into parenthood and surrounded by young parents, mums and babies, I see how much work being a family is. I see how challenging it is as a parent to always try to do your best.
Everyone has baggage.
Everyone has positive and negative triggers by their parents.
Many people even try to be “better” than their parents by doing the opposite.
Hahaha… the joke is on you, if you’re child doesn’t recognize the efforts.
Because here’s the thing. You can’t assume your child with think, feel or interpret what you do for them the same way that you feel or want them to.
You are 2 completely different people.
The best you can do is explain why you are making the choices you are.
Deciding for your kids based on what you didn’t like for yourself is NOT the answer.
Because, guess what? That’s probably what your parents did for you.
So how can I blame my parents for anything that I felt they didn’t do well?
They literally were doing the best they could with the situation and information they had.
I hold onto my emotions, especially negative ones out of fear. Fear of getting hurt, feeling abandoned, feeling weak and vulnerable.
Whether good or bad, I tend to have a tight grip. I like being in control. I like getting my way. I use love as a way to reward or punish others — as if when I give or hold back love it will change how they treat me, or if they love me back.
Perception is tricky.
The problem with perception is that each person has their own, and each person thinks theirs is the right one.
Two different people can look at the same situation and think the exact opposite thoughts.
Even the same event can be seen differently by the same person.
For example, if I got pregnant when I was 18 years old I would have felt the exact opposite way to if I got pregnant now.
Same event (getting pregnant) = different experience.
And most of our perspective comes from our past experiences. What we’ve seen and felt creates an imprint on our memory.
And many times our memories are incorrect, but we still hold onto those feelings.
So that the next time a similar situation comes up, we are triggered to react in a way that might not be appropriate or necessary. Especially when we talk about negative events.
If you had a negative experience with a person, anytime something similar happens with that person you will be more sensitive to it. You might even be looking for that trigger to prove to yourself that that person has done you wrong.
I’ve dealt with this struggle with my dad for a long time.
It’s exhausting being angry.
It’s exhausting being sad.
And it’s a waste of energy to hold on to the memories of your past.
Holding on to negative experiences only hurt yourself.
It doesn’t teach the other person a better lesson, nor does it make you more right.
Resentment only chips away at your true self, as you feed your soul with more and more negativity.
Releasing the pain is actually easy… but getting yourself to believe that it is what is best for you is hard.
Choosing in every moment to let go of your anger, sadness, frustration, disappointments or jealousy takes practice and a priority over any righteousness that you think you deserve.
Every moment is a choice to start again.
On the day of my dad’s birthday, somehow I have a bit more patience for him. I think of the bigger picture that today is a special day for him and that our past deserves respect. He raise me to be a wonderful person (or at least I hope so) and he has done the best he could given his particular situation.
And even if he didn’t make the best choices, he is my father.
If I can have this type of patience and respect for him in any circumstance I will be able to slowly shed the pain that I hold on to.
Struggle is not a bad thing.
I also believe that many of the struggles that people experience help define the best qualities of a person’s character. They grow from pressure. Get more resilient from attacks. And stronger with stress.
Hardship can often define a person’s choice to be a greater person.
So thank you dad. Thank you for not making life a joyride without struggle or reward. Thank you for challenging me to think for myself. Thank you for doing the best you could.
And thank you for your patience when I didn’t always deserve it.
We may not always see eye-to-eye, but I will always love you and be there for you.
As you have been there for me.