Working with adults who had tough childhoods (and from my own experience), I understand that this time of year can be difficult. We are confronted with images of warm, loving families, when the truth is many didn’t experience this as children or don’t now. Or we experienced some of our most painful and traumatic times during holidays. These memories seep up this time of year, if only as background feelings. Sometimes we feel down and don’t know why.
It’s important to make room for these feelings. Sometimes it is helpful to normalize them by reminding yourself that you’re not alone in having a difficult time or in spending holidays alone if that is the case. The pictures of intimate, around-the-hearth times are often more the exception than the rule, more wishful thinking than reality.
If you find yourself depressed, feel into what you can do that will be comforting (and not hurt you). Often there is a child inside who needs to be held.
Speaking with a client yesterday reminded me how often we interpret being alone as meaning something about us (we’re flawed, not loveable ….). Get out your Truth Sword and look closely at that. Alone doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.
Although it is true that being alone is often painful (we’re missing something we deeply desire), there is another alone that is not about being empty-handed but actively enjoying our own company and nourishing ourselves. Perhaps solitude is a better word for this.
I’ve spent holidays alone and holidays with a great variety of others, and I wouldn’t necessarily rate one above the other. It’s more a matter of how jammed up with undigested pain I am and how open to the goodness that is also in the season.
For those struggling right now, I wish for you to know that you are held somewhere. Your tears and heartache are not forgotten.