The joy and bliss that many experience during this time of year is not always the reality for those who are dealing with grief, loss and family difficulties. We want the holidays to meet our expectations of happy gatherings that have always included the same family members and traditions, but this is not always possible. Situations out of our control can change relationships and routines. Instead of having happy moments sharing dinners and gifts with those we have always been with, we could be in a strange place surrounded by strangers.
The holidays might not meet our emotional needs and instead might highlight negative emotions that leave us feeling not good enough. Although these feelings are very powerful, they can be changed to give you the relief and joy you experienced when things were more normal.
Understanding that what you’re going through is temporary can be a huge relief. With a little time and help, it is possible to experience the joy and love that is around you. A different perspective can help you realize that the feelings making your life seem lacking might not be based in fact. With time, you will be able to see the opportunities around you to give and to experience love again. The holidays can be a time when you evaluate your life and current relationships in a deeper way, which can be beneficial.
If you notice you are seeing things negatively, it may be an indication that you could use a change in perspective. It can be difficult to accept change, but it is possible. We can all learn to accept difficulties as a part of life, accept problems as a part of relationships and accept that we all make mistakes and deserve forgiveness. This is part of the beauty the holiday season can offer.
By Rebeca Bright, PsyD.