Last week, I drove from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Wichita, Kansas to exchange my car with my dad.
During my drive, I became increasingly frustrated that I had to exchange cars. My little Mazda that my dad had purchased for me was not the car I wanted. When he bought me the car, I found every little thing wrong and let him know that I hated it all. I mean, how could he do this to me and not buy the car that I specifically asked for?
I have had a negative attitude towards anything my father does for me if it is not exactly what I wanted him to do. I looked at his acts of thoughtfulness as him being selfish and only doing what he wanted to do, never having my interest in mind. The poor guy can’t win. Sure, he didn’t get me the car that I wanted, but he bought me a nice car. He went out of his way to look for a good car for me, and bought me the nicest car he could within his budget. It wasn’t something that I would have picked for myself, but he tried to make sure I was provided for.
I look back on my relationship with my father, and while at times it has not always been picture perfect, I knew that if I needed something, my father would always try to provide for me. When my father lost his job and couldn’t find work for almost two years, he still found ways to support me when I needed it most. I have taken that for granted over the years, never giving him the credit he deserved because I resented him.
I was talking to a friend of mine about letting go of the past and moving forward with our lives. He holds a lot of resentment towards his parents for the love they never showed and constant lies they told him. I, like him, used to deal with the same anger and bitterness towards my father for various reasons. I expected him to someone he wasn’t, and because of these expectations he constantly let me down.
There comes a point when one just needs to let go and allow things to be as they are. After many failed attempts of trying to change my dad, I have decided to give up. I ceased any control I thought I had over him and realized that what my dad chose to do was not in my power.
Through this spiritual journey of mine I have learned that dealing with things and not letting past emotions affect my future happiness is a major key to personal fulfillment. It takes a lot of work to not let things get to me like they used to. Lately, I have been able to brush off certain comments by my dad or people in general and disregard their actions. I have learned to not take things so personally, and that not everything everyone does to me is a personal attack.
Sometimes, people are just reacting out of their own hurt and pain, and they just don't know how to deal with it. We all have pain, had our hearts stomped on, had someone say or do something that made us feel like nothing, but why let the actions of the others affect our happiness? Why allow the state of our well-being rest in the hands of others? The process of letting go is a daunting task for many, especially for those that feel that owed something due to the pain they endured.
I felt my father owed me something for things he did that caused me pain. Reparations is a word that comes to mind. Repayment. This attitude of feeling entitled to something leaves many to seek revenge. And during this journey of vengeance, they fail because the people they seek this repayment from don't feel any sorrier than they did before towards that person.
No one can repay anyone else for the pain they may have caused them; they can only help ease it. No one can repair broken hearts, only makes amends if the wounded allow. I did not allow my father to make amends with me, and I did not recognize changes he made when he tried to better himself. When I exchanged cars with him he said, “Anya, I know I don’t always do the right thing for you, but everything I do is in your best interest, even if it’s not the right thing.”
Now, how could I argue with that?
In the end, our personal emotional health is our responsibility. I can't blame others anymore for how I feel. I can't expect others to make me happy. However, I do need to take time to recognize when someone is doing the best they can to try and bring me happiness. Letting go of that resentment towards my father is the first step I must take to do that.
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