Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Father’s Day is fast approaching and for those of you who have a positive attachment with your Dad. I sincerely hope you have a nice day.
I mainly however wanted to highlight and acknowledge that for many people, this day might be particularly painful if you don't have someone to celebrate Father’s Day with for whatever reason.
Maybe your father has passed away, maybe he is terminally unwell, maybe he left when you were you were a child or maybe he’s still living but throughout your life could never be there either emotionally, mentally, physically or financially.
Maybe you chose to break contact from him given his lack of emotional intelligence, mood instability, toxic traits and lack of protection.
Or maybe the thought of Father’s Day has triggered off painful thoughts and feelings around the way you have been as a father yourself, and this will be a very difficult and challenging day for you.
I would also like to take into account those who are struggling on a fertility journey, going through an adoption process, dealing with the loss of a child and still longing to be a father.
Many of us leading up to Father’s Day including myself have felt sadness, frustration, hurt and disappointment that there’s no one we could have wrote a card to, gave a warm hug to or showed off to the world on social media.
If only our experience could have been different and we had/still had an emotionally available, kind, caring, honourable and protective father that we truly deserve on this day.
But regardless of the above, my objective of this blog post was to mindfully put together 4 self care tips to help support you around Father’s Day.
1) Give Yourself Permission to Feel
Stop what your doing, pause and breathe for just a moment and actually acknowledge whatever feelings might be present for you around Father’s Day. It’s important to recognize and connect to our authentic feelings to validate our own inner experience especially when the message of this day says something different to how you are actually feeling.
2) Big Permission NOT To Enjoy This Day.
You have permission NOT to enjoy this day. You have permission to feel exactly how you feel about Father’s Day and to celebrate or not celebrate this day. You also have permission to do whatever you need and want to do on this day, whatever actually supports you and your feelings is all that matters.
3) Acknowledge Yourself On Father’s Day.
I encourage you to acknowledge how far you’ve actually come despite the absence and loss of your father. It takes a lot of resilience, courage, and strength to move forward and build a new life and support network for yourself without the supportive presence of your father. You’ve made it this far and that’s commendable.
4)Healing from Poor Fathering Experiences.
Life is not a fairy story, we can never turn back time, wave a magic wand, cast a magic spell (or make our father any different from what he actually was/is), I passionately believe that it’s never too late to seek out and let in healing experiences of re-parenting.
I think healing a healing process can take place by seeking out and/or acknowledging examples of role models that are already present in our lives who provide us with an idea of healthy fathering. For example: a qualified therapist who demonstrates empathy, validation and setting clear boundaries, finding a male friend who has similar traits to how he was/how you would have liked him to be, perhaps a new stepfather or the father of your present partner who makes you feel loved and accepted each time you visit or from any other male role model.
All of these models can provide small parts of fathering that you can acknowledge and if possible, let in to help meet some of your early and unmet needs, that you so badly craved, wanted and deserved. It’s also very important not to become too dependable or project our unmet needs onto others so you can still learn to re-parent yourself.
Time to Reflect
We’ve covered a lot of ground today and explored quite a few ideas from my tool box that you might have find supportive in helping you deal with the passing of Father’s Day. Now I would like you to take time to reflect on the below:
What ways have you coped, since not receiving the fathering you needed or wanted?
Can you take some time to actually write down and feel proud of what you’ve done despite this absence or loss?
Who do you know in your daily life who provides a sense of fathering for you?
Do others inspire you with the way they father their own children?
I hope that all of us can find comfort around this painful subject