I remember I have once mentioned to my friend, “The last sweet memory I had of my dad was 33 years ago, when I was about 4.” He used to take me and my brother to the HK Park to play, where Mom was taking care of her florist. I remember how my brother was still walking wobbly, he often sat down to play with pebbles on the ground… I remember I loved being around Dad a lot back then… it was such a wonderful memory.
The older I got, the further I grew apart from my father. I kept a lot of secrets from him, to save myself from all the unnecessary nagging. I remember day dreaming about having a perfect dad, like the ones I saw in movies… Unfortunately, every time I went home, I came back to the reality: I was often scolded for doing things wrong, being too slow, too stupid… Nothing was right according to my father.
Without being aware, my resentment towards my Dad grew over time. I often wondered why I ended up with this father? According to the Buddhist texts, it was the child who chooses the parents, not the other way around. “Why did I choose him as my Dad? Why would I torture myself like this?” I asked.
For many years, I would end up feeling strong resentment and anger towards my Dad after meeting him. I just couldn’t stand how he complained about this, and judging that. There has been moments where I wanted to stand up and yell back at him, telling him how fed up I was, and I wouldn’t care how others in the restaurant would think of me; I was just having enough of his negativity. Despite the strong urge to stand up and rebel, I never had the nerve to actually do it, so I ended up swallowing all my anger and resentment.
Throughout the years, I have been trying different methods to clear my resentment towards him but no matter how long I sat on my cushion, no matter what other practice I did, this strong emotion doesn’t seem to go away. I felt miserable and shameful every time I thought about my Dad, not to mention seeing him in person.
Many teachers I have met on the spiritual reminded us about the importance of making peace with our parents. According to psychology, if a daughter has issues with her father, this emotional blockage would affect her relationship with her husband. To be honest with you, I am fortunate enough to have such a lovely husband, and from years of personal observation, I can find the similar habitual pattern in how I relate to my husband! My husband means a lot to me, and the more I value our marriage, the more I realize I need to amend my relationship with my Dad. Having said that, I have no idea how…
My logical mind tells me that Dad loves me much, but my heart couldn’t feel it. For many years, I have tried many different methods to love him and understand him, yes, I resent his less, but am I able to forgive him completely? I don’t think so, nor do I really want to.
Recently I have been practicing to offer my gratitude to everything that happens in my life. One of the topics was to offer my gratitude to 3 most important people in my life, for 5 things that they had done to me. My husband and my mom were the first two who came to my mind, and then Dad’s face popped up when I was trying to think of the third person.
I don’t have many photos of my father, so I opened his Facebook profile, looked at his photo, tried to think about five things that I am most thankful for towards him. To my surprise, I realized he has done a lot for me, and they have changed my life in such a powerful and positive way!
Thanks to his selfless act, risking his marriage (he stayed in HK while my mom stayed in Canada to take care of us) to send us to Canada to study and obtain our Canadian citizenship. If he had not made this bold decision, I would not have been able to become who I am now. He came all the way to Vancouver to stay with me when I most needed emotional support… He bought me a Mini Cooper when I had no money but needed a car (he could have bought me an old, broken car)… and most importantly, I thought he never supported my yoga career because of all the nagging (saying how I should have given birth to a baby instead of flying around), but I realized regardless of all the nagging he never actually stopped me from doing what I wanted to do!
I realized, Dad has always loved me! There was so much love in him! I was simply blinded, numbed, and I kept complaining about him, resenting him! Dad has always loved me, just that he didn’t love me the way I liked it, but his love to me was undeniable. This realization made me feel so embarrassed, but moved at the same time… I am so thankful to have him as my father.
I messaged my Dad and told thanked him for all these wonderful things he has done for me. I wasn’t looking for his approval or his praise; I simply wanted to let him know how much I love him and how much he means to me before it’s too late.
Please don’t wait until it’s too late to love your parents.
I don’t think there is any parent who doesn’t love his or her child. They may not know how express their love in a way that we can receive, but that doesn’t discount their love towards us. Our practice is to decode the message and feel the love behind their action.
Love is all around you, don’t wait until tomorrow. Put down your judgement, let your heart show you the truth. Sometimes what you see may not be what you get.