Today is Father’s Day in the U.S. and I have a fun challenge for you to go along with it. Our own biological dads may not be available to us for a variety of reasons, but the father archetype is expressed in many ways throughout our culture. Let’s check out Caroline Myss’s definition of the father archetype, excerpted from her book, Sacred Contracts: “This archetype combines a talent for creating or initiating with the ability to oversee others…primary characteristics of courage…and protectiveness. A true father guides and shields those under his care, sacrificing his own desires when that’s appropriate.” We all know someone like this, though we often call them by another name, “hero.”
Who are the heroes in your everyday life? Take a moment to look around your life and find those with this type of protective, courageous energy. Though those who embody the father archetype are often male, they don’t have to be. Since this is father’s day, award yourself bonus points if you do choose men for these categories. See if you can name at least one person for each category who you consider your hero:
- Your family
- Your work
- Your friends
- Your spiritual or volunteer community
- Your neighborhood
- Your city
- Your country
- Your online community
My challenge for you this week is to take the time and effort to honor them for who they are and how they contribute to your life. It might take you more than a week to honor all of these folks, and that’s great.
The more time you spend in gratitude, the better off you are. In fact, according to UC Berkley’s Greater Good project, expressing gratitude has a whole laundry list of fantastic benefits for you: increased happiness, reduced stress, strengthened immune system, lower blood pressure, better sleep, more resilience, stronger relationships, and an increased likeliness to forgive.
Some ideas for how to do this – write a gratitude letter, bring your coworker coffee and a thank you note, call your friend to talk, bring a thank you letter to the police station and ask that it be posted in the lunchroom, adopt a soldier, write a gratitude review on Amazon for a book you love. These are just some ideas. Gratitude researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky recommend the following steps for written letters:
- “Do not worry about perfect grammar and spelling.
- Describe in specific terms why you are grateful to this individual and how the individual’s behavior affected your life.
- Describe what you are doing now and how you often remember their efforts.”
The same can be said for speaking – don’t worry about your words or sounding perfect. It’s the essence of the message that matters; no one who you are thanking is going to complain that you’re doing it poorly.
Leave a comment and let us know how it goes!