The media sets us up for disappointment during the holidays. If we don’t find ourselves in the midst of today’s version of Norman Rockwell images of a happy family and friends enjoying the festivities, we have somehow failed in our pursuit of successful living. Yet often there just isn’t enough family to go around. When our children have children of their own and in-laws and extended families, our expectations for a full house on Christmas day fall short.
I have been the champion of creating new traditions after divorce, developing new memories and the resilience that came along with it. And here I was feeling like the Grinch had really stolen Christmas. Why in the world couldn’t we get together just one day out of the year to share our love and just be together as a family? I felt really sad until I began to think about some of that family I really didn’t want to be with.
The holidays are definitely not the same for everyone and making up this story of how happy we’re supposed to be only increases possible situational depression. So after I allowed myself to be sad for awhile, I turned my thoughts to doing good for others. I took a gift to a neighbor who I hadn’t seen for awhile. I wrote Christmas cards, sent gifts and thanked everyone who had been generous with me this year. I shared my love from afar and made plans of my own.
The holiday season is so poignant with memories that if we experience a loss during this time of year, it seems to mark every holiday season for years to come. A friend of mine called and told me about all of the issues in her family: one had cancer, another had lost his wife, and it made me see my own life more clearly. Then we started talking about all of the people we didn’t want to see and the funny things going on in our families and out of our laughter I realized that no one has that ideal family. The season is about sharing love with one another, and no matter who you have to share yours with, share it with yourself. Be kind to you; give yourself the gift of time and balance and do things that you really love doing throughout the holidays and the new year.