Steven Shewach has gotten over himself and become his father. And it is awesome.
My dad was a consummate schmoozer. He could talk to anyone, anytime, about anything. He could work any room or a back alley. He was affable, knowledgeable, and most importantly, genuinely interested in people—what was going on with them, what motivated them, what they loved. He was a CPA for most of his life, becoming a named partner in a local firm that was eventually bought out by an international firm. There, he was named the managing partner of their second largest office in the U.S. He was a dealmaker and a peacemaker.
His interests ran far and wide including focusing on entrepreneurial pursuits for the last dozen years of his life: a decades-long love of all things wine-related: volunteering: cigars; travel; industrial manufacturing; and his family. For him, it all came down to people and the deep and meaningful relationships he had with them. He was well known, well respected, and had a massive business and personal network. He was an optimist by default. In fact, he lived by many tenets of Buddhism; although he likely never knew the first thing about it. He exuded care, love, and empathy. He often told me I was either too high or too low and that I’d be better off learning how to be more even keeled. How Buddhist is that?
The Snotty Son
As for me, I was an angry, narcissistic megalomaniac asshole for most of adult life. If you don’t already know my story; that was it in a nutshell—and now I’m a Recovering Negative Thinker. If you want more of my story, as in the whole bowl of nuts, read this post.
My relationship with my dad was strained for most of my life starting in childhood right up until he died at 66 years old in 2007. The strain was solely propagated by me. It primarily had to do with a chronic feeling of not feeling special enough because my father was a workaholic. He probably wouldn’t have classified himself as such, but work — or more specifically his drive to be successful and provide for himself and his family — was a big part of his life. You see, his father had a history of gambling and just wasn’t a ‘go getter’ and ultimately my grandfather lived out his retirement not only on a limited income, but with little fanfare.
Whatever My Father Does – I’ll Do The Opposite
So, as generations of people before me, including my own father, I saw something in my father that I didn’t like and vowed to not be like him. To reject his values and do the opposite; which in my case was to not ever work as hard as my father – who was himself overcompensating for his father’s lackluster motivation. Pretty sure that’s why I have a Masters degree in Recreation or as I often say “how to play in the woods and get paid”.
As a child of divorce, which occurred while I was in high school, I embarked on a decades long quest to test and retest my father’s love for me by invoking my anger and resentment for what he ‘did to me’ which was ‘never being able to understand me’ and for ‘treating me like one his clients’ by ‘never having enough time for me’. This manifested by keeping my distance emotionally and leveraging the guilt I think my father felt for getting divorced so I could get what I wanted.
I Felt Left Out – Cue The Adult Temper Tantrum
One of the most particularly hurtful ways I enacted this, which stemmed out of me genuinely feeling hurt, was by rebuffing my father’s second wife and her children. This is how I justified it in my mind: my father’s career apexed while I was away at college and his wife and her children, who were younger than me (and my older sister), got to benefit from his years of hard work culminating with all kinds of cool stuff like a large custom home, cars, and club memberships. Worse, and more hurtful to me, was with his new stature; it seemed to me that he had more free time that he spent amply with them. I perceived him as being more active and engaged in his step-children’s lives than mine. Then again, I was in college 2,000 miles away during this time (and continued to live far away thereafter). This, compared to my childhood memories in which my father’s time and access felt endlessly limited and when I did get it, it was interrupted constantly with phone calls (and this was before cell phones).
It was, is, and will always be about Choice and Perception.
It’s simply that I didn’t understand that at the time.
My Inner Void
For so many years I only gave out unless there was something in it for me. And even when I gave, it wasn’t real; it was a facade. Let me be clear, I wasn’t acting with malicious intent. I was in pain. I was scared. I was externalizing the events of the world around me and blaming others for my own lack of clarity and lack of self-concept. I had no personal accountability and responsibility. And I was protecting, quite ferociously, what I perceived to be a finite set of resources or opportunities (i.e. love, money, success) that were preweighed and packaged for my entire life with no chance of ever getting more.
And so I created a persona where I was distant, disengaged, and chronically miserable and frustrated. I unknowingly accepted, and then embodied, the victim mindset which authorized me to do whatever it took to even the playing field of life – which was forever and always out to screw me. Complete and utter self-induced delusion.
My life was like Pig-Pen from The Peanuts; a swirling cloud of drama-dust followed me wherever I went, which unbeknownst to me, was because I was actively generating it from within my thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions.
The Reformed Son
Cut to now. Today. Post-brain rewiring training (now referred to as my Mind Taming Training program that’s debuting soon), my life abounds with incredible relationships new and old. My default response now, both internally and externally, is to a positivity mindset. A clarity of life purpose has emerged, bringing my experience of personal transformation over the last 2.5 years and my passion for men’s work, into exacting focus which is to help men untangle the male stereotypes that have likely turned their lives into a misery-laden existence.
And I’m hustling. I’m networking. I’m leveraging (and learning) social media. I’m going to meet-n-greet events. I’m building my platform. I’m meeting men for man dates every week in person and and online. I’m mentoring men. I’m interacting with people anywhere and everywhere. I love it. It fuels me. It makes me a better, more understanding, and loving husband. I’m genuinely helping men. I’m inspiring men. It’s validating to me. All of which I would’ve never done as Old Me. I’m turning into my father.
I now know what it feels like to be energized by other people. To want to foster relationships. To have a cause. To want to talk about it with those who want to listen; to learn. To want to help. To give and receive love. To smile. To feel empowered. To feel valued. To provide value.
I have turned into my father. His soul is here with me. He knows what I’ve accomplished and what I’m doing. His wisdom and his unwavering, unyielding love is felt everyday. It’s not even that he’s proud of me, it’s that he knows I’ve finally found, after so many years of him watching me emotionally flailing (and being an ass to him), my inner freedom. I am now able to truly be of service. I’ve gotten over myself—mostly.
And so… I’ve become my father. And it is awesome.
Thank you Dad.
Steven, The Mantor (and ex-asshole)
Originally appeared at LoveMoreHurtLess.com