Living In Your Father’s Shadow

For men, living in your father’s shadow can be one of the most soul destructive positions to be in. It will strip your will and the joy out of your life. It places you in a no-win situation. Imagine being Donald Trump Junior; how can you ever outdo Donald Trump? Are you going to be able to make more money? Be more famous? Or be more controversial? For some sons the choice is to go the opposite direction. They become alcoholics and drug abusers to get out from under the shadow.
Men live under a double-edged sword, one of love and competition. On one side we have our deep need to be loved by our father and on the other side we have our internal competition to outdo our father; to have more and/or be more than our father. The problem is no matter which side of the sword we choose we eventually get cut by the other side.
One of the things we fail to realize is that every generation has the same problem, the same issue. So the question is what to do and how to survive. The first step is to honor our fathers. They gave us life. They gave us a direction. The second step is to figure out if the direction that they gave us is the one we wish to proceed on.
It is my belief that the best way to get out from our fathers shadow is to step away from it, so that we can create our own shadow in the bright sunlight of life. Men have a bone deep need to create something on our own; to achieve something. We judge each other by our actions, and it doesn’t matter if we decide to step away from our father’s shadow, but remain in the same business, we need to create something of our own. If we fail to do that, we end up turning our anger and frustration inward. The more that we turn our emotions inward, the more we have a tendency to lash out at the world around us.
To do this we have to let go of the need to compete on our father’s level. Not because we can’t do it, but because no matter what we do or achieve, we cannot win. We are connected biologically and spiritually to our father, and the more that we try to get away from that fact the more that we end up running around in circles. Remember there is a huge difference between honoring or respecting your father for being a father and actually liking your father as a person. Your father loved you the best that he could. He may not have been able to show it in a way that was healthy or even sane. It was only the best that your father, an imperfect man, could show you his love; even if that meant walking out on you, or abusing you.
So appreciate the path your father took. Appreciate the size and scope of his shadow. Then step away from it. Find a place in your life that is yours truly and completely; a place of your creation, of your vision, where you can take action to build what you choose, and more importantly how you choose to build it.
You have to find your own life in order to make your own shadow.