One of my guilty pleasures in life is watching The Biggest Loser. Yes, I admit it fully. For whatever weird reason, I get a kick out of people turning their lives around and start new. Imagine that. Outside the normal “I’m overweight because of a sports injury” or the “I’m a mom that has given everything to everyone else”, there is the occasional story that makes you stop and think.
This season, Emily, brought to the table some stuff that hits close to home. She was an Olympic athlete (not unheard of), she walked away from the sport (not unheard of), and has since never felt the approval of her father *record scratch*
Yeah, her story might have talked about how she used to be an athlete, but when you watched her in the episode where she went back home, it was all about her trying to gain her dad’s approval. He was her coach, you see, so he had expectations for her. As she tried to make sense of her emotions, she said, “I just want my dad to be proud of me.”. She’s 29 years old. She’s still not confident in her own skin because her dad never told her she could be.
Doesn’t that bug you a bit, boys? Your daughter, whether she’s 3 or 30, should know that her dad has her back. Does she? Stop yourself before you answer too quickly. Is it only when she achieves that you give her praise? Is it when she scores the goal or she hustles? Is it when she has 100% on the exam or when she does her chores without being asked to?
Look, it’s tough as a dad. We’re wired as hunters and brought up to achieve. We climb invisible ladders in our day jobs, trying to bust through glass ceilings, and pay for that mansion that just keeps up with the Joneses. We leap like kangaroos when our team drains the 3 the buzzer and hang our heads if our team was just shattered. But our daughter doesn’t have to feel that conditional love from you.
Are you un-conditional with your love? Does she know that? If you’re looking for the words to explain it, simply try this:
You: Honey, do you know why I love you?
You: Because I’m your dad. Am I always going to be your dad?
You: And that’s why I’ll always love you.
Then just back it up by truly loving her when she walks, not runs, down the court. When her test comes back with a 62% on it. When her hair is knotted and her room is a mess. Show her that unconditional love. Love her when she doesn’t think you do. She, just like everyone else in this world, is looking for that unconditional approval. If she doesn’t find it from you, she’ll find it somewhere else. If THAT doesn’t wake you up, check your pulse.
You have the opportunity to raise a strong, confident woman. All it takes is your dedication and love. Don’t raise a grown woman looking for her father’s approval. Raise one that knows just how unconditionally loving her father is.
Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….