I have so many thoughts, didn’t know where to start. But I sought inspiration, and allowed myself to be guided by our good Lord. Thus, I continue writing the second of my three words: Acceptance. My first word was Contrast. And later: Worthiness.
Do you have a relationship where you resent the other person’s opinions, attitude, behavior or way of life? Are you annoyed by how some of your loved ones speak, what words come out of their mouth? Do you sometimes wish that they change so that they become more … more like you?
I’d like to share a few stories and beliefs that have helped heal some of the challenging relationships with my loved ones.
A few months ago, I had a conversation with my father that expresses some of my deepest feelings about my relationship with him. It encapsulates how I have become a more loving son to my father.
Before that, let me tell you about my father and my relationship with him.
My father, Antonio D. Soriano, M.D. – protector or prisoner?
My father is a good man, 71 years young. As much as he knew best, he has provided well for his wife and children. He is a good doctor (an ophthalmologist; Eyes, Ears, Nose, Throat specialist) who has healed many people. He is a good brother, son, nephew, friend. My father continues to grow, learning new talents (learned to play the piano at age 60! continues to learn how to use the computer), reading books and applying the lessons, widening his point of view.
Despite these, I describe my father as being very careful. Veeeerrrry careful. Just to be straight-forward, I perceive my father as fearful. He has a tendency to keep inside his comfort zone, his safety zone.
For instance, one time we travelled to Bicol with family. My mom and I are very adventurous eaters. We wanted to try out the Pinangat and Bicol Express at a local resto. But my father vehemently wanted to eat within his comfort zone. He decided to eat at Jollibee because he trusted Jollibee’s cleanliness, and didn’t trust any other resto in the area.
My eye doctor dad has yet to see the beauty of the sunset
In another incident, I was driving home with my dad in Baguio when I saw how beautiful the sunset was. I searched for a good place to park in the cool Baguio air under the trees and away from the noise just to breathe in the wonderful colors of the sunset. When we parked, I showed dad how beautiful the sunset is. My dad just nodded. As I was appreciating the sunset, I realized my dad wasn’t looking. He just gave a courteous glance, but wasn’t watching the colors of the horizon as they turned blue, yellow, orange, fiery red and grey.
I asked him why he wasn’t watching the sunset. He said watching the sunset could damage his eyes. :-(
Back then, I felt sad, pity and some resentment for my father. His comfort zone has become his prison.
Experiences that keep people in the comfort zone
There are events and circumstances in my father’s life that have led him to be very careful. For one, he is a doctor. He is witness to thousands of cases of damaged eyes or ears, is familiar with how diseases can be passed on through un-sanitary daily interactions. More specifically, in my father’s childhood, my father was witness to his older brother’s fatal accident. My father and his brother were walking home after school when a bus backed up and run over my father’s brother. I believe this experience, more than any other single reason, is what has formed my father into a careful and (over)-protective person.
I completely understand that he wants to protect his life and the life of his loved ones. I just feel that growth has become limited by being over protective. After all, growth is right outside the comfort zone.
My father’s comfort zone has become his prison.
Then my protector, Now my friend
In my youth, I used to be at odds with my father. I resented how he lived his life of being careful, to the extent of me feeling too constrained, as if my neck was being chained by my father’s rules.
I could hear all my father’s words of paranoia: “it’s not safe”, “not sanitary”, “you could get hurt”, “you might meet an accident”, “you might fall”, “nakakahiya (embarassing)”, “don’t do this”, “don’t do that”.
But through the years, my father and I have learned to have a mutual respect for how we live our lives. He is careful and I respect that even if I don’t agree with him at times. I am more of a risk-taker and my father respects that even if he doesn’t agree with me at times.
This brings me to my conversation with dad a few months ago.
He asked me to join him in their room because he had something to ask me.
He had held back on asking me for more than a year.
He asked me why I resigned from Smart considering that I had said I was doing something I was passionate about in Smart.
I was surprised that Dad had kept his question to himself of so long.
I realized it was dad being respectful of me, not wanting to impose anything on me, not wanting to offend me.
After answering Dad’s question, I told him a message that I feel was extremely important to my Dad.
I told my father:
“Dad, you can tell me anything.
There is nothing you can say or do that will destroy my relationship with you.”
I explained that I won’t necessarily agree or have the same opinion as his.
But Dad can be totally honest and open with me. I will not take offense at all.
Whatever it is.
In retrospect, what I told dad was my declaration of my unconditional acceptance.
I accept Dad regardless. ;-)
I respect Dad and all his feelings, opinions, thoughts.
They are his and he has total ownership and right of his feelings.
An Accepting Attitude
I believe that whatever we say or do at any moment in our lives, it is the best we know to do at that time in our lives.
By understanding this principle, I have become more forgiving and accepting of myself and of other people.
I also believe that our good Lord has His perfect plan all laid out.
If my prayers are not answered the way I want it answered and at the time I want it answered,
I’m okay with it, I accept it.
I know our good Lord has something masterfully planned for me.
I push on forward with my prayers, my dreams, my goals and keep vigilant for the guidance of my good God ;-) .
Have a day full of blessings!
At a later time, I will write about the third of my three words: Worthiness.