For some people holidays can be difficult. It can be a reminder that things are not perfect in our lives, especially when it may seem like everyone else is having such a wonderful time this time of year. Some people go to the extreme of putting up lights everywhere and it seems like neighbors compete on who can display the most magnificent scene. Everyone is out of touch with how much we are hurting and things like lights become so trivial when we are lonely and estranged from our family.
When we are hurting it is easy to isolate ourselves and stay away from others, but that is not a healthy way to handle the situation. It is important to focus on giving and volunteering wherever we can. You are not the only one that is hurting and we can always look around and see someone who has less than we do. The Rescue Mission in town served over 500 people for Thanksgiving dinner this year. They chose to be with other people and it looked like everyone was blessed by the meals and all the volunteers that helped to make it a great event. It didn’t matter if you were on the receiving or giving part of the dinner, everyone was encouraged.
Life is good sometimes and sometimes it is bad, but the secret to remember is hard times will pass if we keep on keeping on when it is tough. Tough times build character and endurance and emotional maturity that we can not achieve any other way. It makes us tough, but tender and humble.
I remember 39 years ago when my first husband left me six months pregnant for another woman. I hurt so bad I did not know how I was going to make it through another day, but I did. My son was born 15 days before Christmas and he was such a precious gift. I didn’t feel much like celebrating Christmas that year, but it got easier and easier as time went by. That experience helped me mature and grow in a way that nothing else could have accomplished. It made me tough, but also humbled me to know that I did not have control of the events in my life, but I did control how I handled them. They can make us bitter or better.
If you are hurting this time of year, reach out and touch someone else’s life. It will get your mind off of your own pain and encourage someone who may be hurting also. It can help you heal, even if it is ringing the bell for the Salvation Army outside of Walmart.
For more information read “Depression During the Holidays“, by Elaine Aron, Ph.D.
Vickie Parker, LMFT