A couple years ago the man who will most likely be the final father figure in my life died. (I lost my biological father long ago.) Shortly thereafter, I stumbled across the following paragraph in a book by Henri Nouwen. I’ve shared Nouwen’s words with several people since that time who have found resonance and comfort in them.
To many of you, these words will not apply. That’s fine as well. Either way, happy Father’s Day.
Stop Being A Pleaser
You have to let your father and father figures go. You must stop seeing yourself through their eyes and trying to make them proud of you. For as long as you can remember, you have been a pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity. You need not look at that only in a negative way. You wanted to give your heart to others, and you did so quickly and easily. But now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you. You must stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self.
— Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love