If you don’t have the time to stick around and read this article, I get it, I’m busy too. For you, I have created an audio version of it. I will caution you before you listen. It is widely known that my voice can tame a tiger so if you feel the need to purr, don’t blame me. To hear it, just click on the little play button below.
As a child, I spent many waking hours observing the other children around me. I watched how they played, laughed, smiled and imagined. Most of all, I watched how they interacted with their father’s. From a very young age, I housed a lot of resentment for them. Resentment ran through my blood and coursed through my veins because I wanted what they had and I couldn’t have it.
I convinced myself that it wasn’t fair and that I had the right to be happy, even if it meant their sadness.
When I was very young my father left my brother and I. To this day, I don’t remember him very well. It took 30 years for me to find out what happened to him. Over the years, one or two men came into my life with the expectation that they would become the father that I sorely needed. With history on my side, as each one tried, I invariably knew that each would also fail.
In their own way, each of them was a good man. Some were funny, some serious, and some a downright pleasure to be around but none of them lived up to my expectation of a father.
As time does what time always does, and passes, this resentment I had for a few fathers manifested into full on resentment of all fathers. There was a period of my life where I looked upon every man in disgust. I had ingrained the notion that no man was good enough to be a father, let alone my father.
Right or wrong, this was my life.
Resentment made me angry, weak, jealous, fearful, and well, resentful. I remember watching Star Wars as a child and hanging on every word that Yoda uttered. In those moments he warned me about everything that I was thinking. He warned me about the path I was choosing to go down. If the Light and Dark Side of the Force existed, I was on a clear-cut path to the Dark Side. Darth Vader would have been proud to take me on as his apprentice.
For 18 years I looked at fathers with hatred in my heart and vengeance in my eyes. This way of thinking affected every aspect of my life. From the friendships I harvested to the relationships I was working at, nothing was safe from my hatred.
Around my 18th birthday, these two things began to change my perspective:
- A man took me under his guidance to me the definition of what a father is
- I gained independence and clarity as to who I wanted to become
My armor, the armor that I so cautiously wore, had been punctured.
For 15 more years, I sustained more punctures and even though the armor was being stripped away, it still prevented potentially good relationships from evolving.
Not my fault
When much younger, I tried to only enter into long-term relationships with the girls I dated. Before I met my now wife, I dated a girl for 6.5 years and in that entire time, I never got along with her father. I told myself that it wasn’t my fault that we didn’t get along. Everything, every problem that he and I had with each other was a by-product of his doing. I convinced myself that everybody else liked me, so why couldn’t he?
- If he would only…then it would be different.
- If she (my girlfriend) would make a stance, then he would have to accept me.
- He doesn’t have to act this way
In hindsight, it’s obvious that he picked up on my resentment towards fathers. He was doing what a father should do and was looking out for his daughter. I would do the same. Because I was blinded by my hatred, I couldn’t see it. I spent too much time focusing on his change when it was my change that needed to happen.
After years of searching, wondering, and questioning, my resentment towards fathers subsided the moment my son was born. In that instant, I had no room for it in my life. Suddenly, I understood my father and in that moment, I forgave him.
Understand that you cannot remove it completely. Resentment, while a frustrating trait has its purposes. Know that if used correctly, it can propel you to wherever or whatever you desire to be. Mine fuels me to be the best father I can be. Every day I wake up with the expectation that I will be the father that I didn’t have.
Understand that instead of crippling your future, your resentment can fuel it. Accept that it has crippled your life and it has taken away your power to live a better life. Accept that it has not only hurt you but it has hurt those around you.
Ask yourself why you cling onto this feeling. Does it serve your life purpose? Has it kept you from harm? Did it happen as a consequence of something? Was it something that someone did to you? Do you need it now? Is it worth it?
With these questions answered, begin to replace your resentment with forgiveness. The road is hard and difficult but worth every grueling minute.
“The moment you accept responsibility for the way your life is, is the moment that your life will change forever.”
Cheers to your success,