I have had a lot of time to think about my relationships in 2020. One that I have always struggled with is my relationship with my dad. I actually broke off all contact with him almost a decade ago. My thinking was that being around him made me angry, and it was not a positive relationship for me so why continue being in it?
As I started thinking about this post, I initially wanted to write about all the ways he hurt me, my mom, and my children. But then I asked what that would accomplish? Would I feel better thinking about those memories that caused me so much pain… a big nope.
Then I read something that really resonated with me about finding the lesson underneath the pain –
When you don’t forgive, you stay stuck in pain and suffering. But when you see that this person was “working for you”, you can grab the lesson, forgive, and rise to higher levels of personal growth.
My dad showed me what I did not want in a partner and father. I wanted a truly equal partner, someone who respects me as an individual, values my thoughts and feelings, and pushes me gently to make changes when I need to. I also wanted someone who would love and respect our children unconditionally. Someone who wanted to help buy Christmas gifts (or at least know what the gifts were) and shows up even when it is hard. I have that, and I demanded that of my partner because of my dad. He taught me how to be an advocate for myself, and my life is better because of my experiences with him. So as we get closer to the end of 2020, I am choosing to forgive my dad and let go of my anger towards him.
Whew, that felt good. Forgive and let go is pretty powerful stuff.