How to Find Healing on Father’s Day
BY Taryn Jerez
Whatever the circumstances are, know you are not alone if Father’s Day is a difficult holiday to endure. While the third Sunday in June is often spent honoring fatherhood, this day may bring about a slew of complicated emotions and memories for many.
Father’s Day may be stirring up big feelings surrounding grieving the loss of your own father, reliving the hardship of an absent, abusive, or incarcerated father, suffering the loss of a child or even the longing to see you or your partner become a father. It’s important to remember that whatever feelings you may be facing are valid and you deserve to find your own moments of healing this Father’s Day.
Identify Your Triggers
When you are struggling with some of the things mentioned above, they are typically beneath the surface most days, but on a holiday where the focus is on fatherhood, it can become nearly impossible to ignore them. Taking time to really identify your triggers for falling too deeply into your emotions or being forced to concentrate on the things you aren’t ready to go through can be incredibly helpful. If you know that by going out to eat you’ll be bombarded with families that day, perhaps eat a nice home cooked meal instead or order in. If you know that sitting at church on Father’s Day Sunday is going to make you uncomfortable and overly emotional, maybe you tune in online instead or skip service that weekend.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
Sometimes those big bottled up feelings need to come out, and it’s completely fine to give yourself permission to do just that. While it’s important to know what triggers you want to avoid, it’s just as important to allow yourself to be in spaces that you feel safe to sit with your emotions and mental load even if it’s heavy. Find people in your life that you trust to talk openly with about the things you are processing, whether it’s a loved one or a counselor. The worst thing you can do is feel guilty or selfish for needing to share your experiences around fatherhood and the unique perspective and grief you may be housing inside of you. Remember that it’s ok to be sad or even angry.
Highlight the Positive Relationships in Your Life
No one person will ever replace the father you are missing but leaning into the positive relationships that you are surrounded by can have a very healing effect. Remind yourself that you are not alone and take a few intentional moments to practice gratitude for the healthy male and female relationships you have. Think about the ones who you can count on beyond measure and the ones who have possibly even been there during the loss or heavy burdens you’ve experienced when it comes to your feelings around Father’s Day.
Let Go of Expectations
Some years may hit harder than others. In fact, your own emotional threshold may surprise you where one Father’s Day you are stronger than you thought, while others feel like an unexpected punch to the gut. Don’t put expectations on yourself this Father’s Day and instead tell yourself that however you feel throughout the day is acceptable and what you need to express. Lean into whatever coping tools help you most, take your mind off things that you can, and do something just for you that day if you can, such as going for a walk at the park, eating a favorite meal, watching a movie that has great memories around it, etc.