This past December marked the 8th anniversary of my dad’s death. My dad is an integral part of my journey through life; however, my relationship with my dad was never the well-loved Daddy’s girl.
I have been on a personal growth journey over the past few year; however, 2016 was more intense and focused than ever before. I have been seeking to learn some new skills and to become a better person in the process. One of the lessons that I have learned is that forgiveness is a major key to growth. We have all had experiences in life that have affected us in some negative way or another. Those experiences can sometimes leave deep scars and cause us to build walls within ourselves for protection. During my journey this year, I was confronted with the fact that in order to really grow, I need to let go of what has happened in the past. The key for me, was my relationship with my dad.
From an early age, I remember being afraid of my dad. Not because he hurt my physically, but because I never felt that he accepted me and loved me. I remember being afraid he would come home from work and that he would yell at me or my siblings for no apparent reason. His mood was always a huge question. Later on in my teen years, I remember feeling totally rejected and often lied to by my dad. Even later in my 20’s I remember trying to forge a new relationship with him and trying to move past my childhood, yet ended up still feeling rejected and unloved.
I think these feelings have led me to protect myself in a shell. I was afraid of people in general and even more specifically, I was unable to build a lasting relationship and connection with men.
I was raised in a very conservative, religious household and I have gone through exercises of forgiveness many times. However, this year I came to realize, that I was still holding onto unforgiveness and that was keeping my walls and protection firmly in place. And even though I have been through many exercises where I said I forgave my dad; I don’t believe I ever quite got there. I think that forgiveness is not some magical thing that just happens by a word or a prayer. I think that it is a journey and requires you to be in the right place and right frame of mind. For me, it was the realization that I had to become “unstuck” and open myself up to people. I had to let people in. In order to do that, I had to forgive those that hurt me.
In remembrance of my dad’s passing, I am sharing with you the words that helped me. It may require something different for you, but be kind to yourself. It is a journey and I truly believe true forgiveness will happen when you are ready.
Dad, I forgive you and I release you. You owe me nothing. You did the best you could and I honor you for that.
Sherry Parks is a Rediscovery Coach who helps women rediscover themselves and reconnect to the core of who they are.
To contact Sherry for more information about coaching join her women only Facebook group Lives in Balance.
Originally published at medium.com