founder of naked leader
How to make peace with your father – If your father is alive
(If your father has passed away – Read here)
Take ownership of the relationship – many men complain about their father not spending time with them, with being too strict, not expressing their love or pride.
By taking ownership you reverse this – so that you take responsibility for what happens in the relationship now.
This alone is both powerful and challenging – and through both of these comes a feeling of peace.
Choose your moment – this has to be face to face and not made a ‘big thing’ of – in the course of a conversation about normal, day-to-day stuff, when you are together with no-one else present, and when there is a pause, say the following:
“Dad, while we are together, I want to thank you.”
He will reply with something like “What for?” or similar – let him say whatever he says, as this will now involve him in the ‘discussion’.
You then say “For (then in your own words say something general about his role in your upbringing, followed by something specific that he did to illustrate) and then stop.
Remember, you only need one specific example – never forget your aim, to make peace
Your father will give one of three reactions – he will be surprised or embarrassed or receptive or a mixture of all three. His most likely reaction will be to deny that he played such a big role, and he may express regret at things he could have done better
Whatever his response, go to him, look him in the eyes and say “I just wanted to say thank you, and to say (either) I am very proud of you/I love you.”
Whatever his response, and it will most likely be positive, throw out unconditional love to him in your mind. Then, if you feel it is appropriate, hold each other – either hug or hold hands.
And let feelings of peace, of love and of calm flow through you as you enjoy the reconnection with the man who played a big part in bringing you into this world, or in the case of a step-father who played a big role.
Be in the moment, be totally present.
And then offer to make him a cup of tea, or something else that changes the situation.
My personal experience
For years I had complained that he had managed my expectations when I was younger, and had rarely if ever told me that he loved me, and never said he was “proud” of me.
When I mentioned this to Rosalind, she asked me how often I had told my dad that I loved him.
OK – I had to do something about this:
So, we met up in The Lake District for a walking weekend. My plan was to wait until the Sunday, and on a long walk, to ask him if he was proud of me.
We met on the Friday evening and went straight into dinner. The restaurant was very full, and we chatted about family and walking and all sorts of things. My dad and I have never been wine connoisseurs, so we asked the waitress which wine she would recommend. She suggested a something or other, and added that it was “number 42” on the wine list.
And my dad then spoke, to her, and said words that brought me instant peace.
He said “Ah, number 42. That will mean a lot to my son David – he finished his first book, The Naked Leader, at chapter 42. It is brilliant. I am so proud of him.”
To which the waitress smiled politely, and walked away
To which tears welled up in my eyes, and I looked at my dad, and told him that I loved him, too.
And then we said no more about it – he didn’t want to, and I didn’t need to.
My father passed away a year ago.
With my love and best wishes
Please share your experiences below