This was a challenging blog post to write.
I used to be an angry, frustrated, short-tempered, aggressive & overly-ambitious individual. I would snap easily, I would express more annoyance with others than anyone deserved and if anyone got in the way of what I wanted, anything felt like fair game.
And I definitely didn’t manage others’ emotions in a fruitful way. Especially negative ones. But one day, that all started to change. I attended a personal development seminar and changed a core belief from “You live and you die, so what’s the point?” to “Life’s short. Make the most of it.”
You see, there’s a presupposition in that new belief which says that I was not yet making the most of life.
And in the months that followed I realised what was missing: My ability to manage my own emotions.
This realisation catapulted me on a personal development journey that shocked my family, friends, colleagues and even clients. I wasn’t just “not angry” anymore. I was genuinely happy.
My two and a half year old daughter has never seen her father angry or dismissive.
She’s never been hit or threatened with her safety.
She’s very rarely felt unseen, unsafe or misunderstood.
Without having learnt emotional self-regulation, then I fear that I would have let my daughter down in each of the ways mentioned above.
One of the most unsettling things for me to hear is a compliment about being an emotionally supportive dad. Women at a playground will see a man calmly and lovingly support their young child regulate their emotions and to anyone who sees, it’s as if society expects men to stick to their gender norms and be incapable of providing empathy and wholesome love.
As I’ve been asked to reflect on what fatherhood means and can be, it’s not about providing food on the table, money in the bank account, being the handy one in the house or paying for a trip to Disneyland.
To me, it’s about being physically & emotionally present with our children, spending more than just a few hours a week with them, putting our spouses before them, and showing (as distinctly opposed to telling) them the way to live.
My toddler might get bored after 1 minute of meditation and she doesn’t always remember to take deep breaths when someone rips a toy from her hands, but she does know she is always loved.
And she sees an example in her father, not a warning.
Daddy & Husband
Results Coach & Financial Adviser @ Purpose Advisory
Host, Interviewer & Interrogator @ Success with Purpose