The relationship that many of us have with our dads often seems very complicated. There are subjects on which we agree, areas where we compete, still others where we seek acknowledgement or, in lots of cases, simply to please. Just listing these facets is exhausting. Living with this melting-pot of emotions invariably leads to conflict, periods of estrangement. “I just cannot be bloody bothered” – often followed by breathtaking periods of acceptance and forgiveness. Other relationships in our lives will just never be like this one. This relationship is meant to be difficult. The reason it takes work is because it is the most important relationship. A man has to come to terms with this one before he can grow beyond Peter Pan. If your father is no longer with you then you can still benefit greatly from looking at this relationship.
Spending time with the old man is always going to help. In order to accept him you are going to have to try to understand the way he thinks. To understand this you are going to have to work out his value systems. When you have worked out these and are able to compare with your own you will begin to find the few key areas where you are simply never going to agree. Banish them – never, ever try to confront them. Look at yourself for a second and imagine somebody trying to change your mind about something you fundamentally and passionately believe in. Feel the prickly heat rising in your face, the pumping of your heart. This is man to man – there is simply no leeway here. Leave it. Now onto the good part: isolate the areas on which you agree and those you respect one another’s views on, and revel in them. You have so much to learn from one another. This is what it was like when you found a new best friend when you were a teenager.
It is possible to benefit from thinking through the key differences that we banished from confronting, in the relationship. It’s interesting to try to think through the kind of things that he went through in his life in comparison to your own that have shaped those views. Then, let them go.
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