A relationship a daughter has with her father (or lack there of) is one of the most influential interpersonal connections that shapes her experience within the world in which she lives and specifically towards how she realizes her self-worth and value.
My father is my world as I am his. Due to our introspective natures, we communicate through gestures, thoughts, and eye contact when we are together. But with 4,500 miles between us from New York to Italy, our words serve us well through phone calls. Over the summer he came to visit me and we spent beautiful moments in the piazza, at the sea, and at various gelaterias (Italian ice cream shops). However, there was always a central discussion that continuously yet naturally arose: The human experience of crafting and maintaining meaningful relationships.
At 32 years old, it’s still my father’s perspective and advice that gives me support, comfort, and freedom to come to my own conclusions — as his voice gently guides me regarding love, life, and everything else in between…
1. Give people a chance, maybe two or three.
Many times others try to put their best foot forward, but may stumble, stub their toe, or trip over their own two feet. “Even the most self-assured person has their insecurities and doubts,” my father has taught me from a young age. By remembering that we’re all in the same metaphorical boat, we realize that at our core we’re all human. We’re prone to error, off-days, and missteps. Be kind and have empathy for others because when we find ourselves falling over, there will be even more appreciation for those who catch us…and allow us the opportunity to pick ourselves up to reveal our strengths.
2. Before running, make sure there is actually a valid reason as opposed to an impulsive one.
Everyone is scared and confused at some point or another. Barring mistreatment, abuse, and blatant red flags, sometimes our natural judgments and opinions we form of another can be pre-mature. It takes time to learn about the layers of someone’s positive traits as well as their flaws. “We’re all a little broken,” my father says from time to time when looking past the shortcomings of others. Before perhaps running away from a quality person based upon something they said and did or due to self-imposed fears, take a moment to stand still, breathe, and reflect. It’s in the calm that a clearer decision can be made rather than the chaos.
3. Stop over-analyzing with the mind and think with the heart.
“Sometimes you have to scramble some eggs to make an omelet,” is one of my father’s favorite expressions when he’s about to make a decision. The idea of opening up to show weakness, vulnerability, and true desires of the heart can be quite daunting. But once we get passed our egos that hold us back, we can selectively choose when to reveal ourselves to those who value and respect us. Depending on how we’re treated, received, and if in fact sentiments are reciprocated by another, it could possibly be one of the best risks we can take…only to find that someone in fact is a genuine protector of what we share.
4. Things take time…so make the time to see things through.
Keeping up with the daily rigor of everyday life and the responsibilities that come with it often deter us from forming meaningful connections and bonds. We may not make them a priority, may take the presence of others in our lives for granted, or perhaps even suffer from a fear of intimacy. But if we don’t make the choice to invest in our inter-personal relationships, especially those that are romantically based, how can we ever know if they are worth our time if we don’t give them a chance to grow? “It’s not instant pudding,” my father often says regarding the process of life itself. Slow down and enjoy the moment shared with someone that may be new encounter or someone who has been a constant. There is always something to discover for both parties involved—and those very discoveries may actually change the course of each person’s life path.
5. People reveal themselves through their efforts…not their words.
Although there is great value in taking someone on their word and carefully listening to what they say, many times their actions reveal otherwise. Someone may declare their love for another without following it up through gestures and acts of kindness. Whereas someone may declare their fear of commitment yet they are very present, attentive, and just need some (reasonable) space to figure things out without the pressure of ultimatums and constructed time frames. “Sometimes the car gets driven off the cliff when a shortcut is intended—then from there it’s all up in flames,” my father says with laughter. Before jumping to conclusions and making something out of nothing, let things unfold naturally…they are either going to come together or not. Therefore, there’s no need to worry any further as one continues to live in a forward motion. If someone is meant to be, it’s that simple.