WHY ARE HOLIDAYS SO DIFFICULT FOR SO MANY PEOPLE?

The two main reasons are:

1) Past holidays were unpleasant (especially while we were growing up) so each one reminds us of past ones. This is often based on Hollywood glamorizing family life making us think we are missing that perfect happy family who hugs, kisses, talks gayly and caringly with each other and gives thoughtful, beautifully wrapped gifts to each other. Oh yes, and in these movies, they always give to the poor, take in the stranger and, in general, feel self-satisfied helping the needy, less-fortunate.

2) Past holidays were wonderful but the loved-ones we shared them with are no longer with us due to death, divorce, relocation or estrangement of some sort. Now we feel that WE are those “needy, less fortunate” mentioned above. We wish someone would make the pain of loss go away and create that cheerful, loving scene again but we don’t believe it is possible.

It would be good if we could allow ourselves to let go of the negative anticipation of the holidays. And it can be done! We can make it a little easier for ourselves by thinking small. That is, take a few deep, slow, relaxing breaths and consider abandoning the belief that the holiday season must be a huge, ecstatic time.

Think small. Think of a little thing that can contribute to holiday time being better for you this year such as the following:

1) Be with anyone with whom you feel good. It can be just one other person and yourself on a holiday. It doesn’t have to be a large gathering.

2) Do something pleasant (not necessarily a gala happening), just something pleasant such as watching a DVD together or going to a movie or having a pleasing home-cooked meatloaf or a meal together at a relaxing neighborhood restaurant.

3) Or go to those disappointing gatherings to which you’ve been invited but go with a different attitude. You can tell yourself that you don’t have to be made to feel all warm and cozy. You can tell yourself that it is good to share time with people in a small way, not a big one and that this year you’ll take the initiative to start a conversation with subjects that interest you and see what happens.

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