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“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” ~ Tom Bodet
There’s a part of me that doesn’t really like this holiday season, and that is the empath in me!
I struggle in social situations as all this mingling around, engaging with people, and being around so many of them drains me out.
My go-to response for any social event (especially around the holidays) would be a no.
It has taken me years to find a balance between engaging with people sometimes and keeping to myself.
It sometimes makes me feel isolated and misunderstood. Over time, I have realized that just like me, holidays may not be easy for a lot of us and for various reasons.
In the last two years (would you believe that even 2021 is about to end?), each one of us has grappled with some emotion that has felt like a monster within us.
We’ve gone through anxiety, fear, grief, and we’ve also faced loneliness and isolation.
A lot of us have languished as well—felt meaningless and have struggled to find meaning in things as well.
While holidays are supposed to make us feel excited, happy, and give us a chance to connect with our friends and family, reflect on the year gone by, and look forward to the one coming up, all of this has changed in the last two years.
The majority of us are still trying to come to terms with the loss of our loved ones, and the holidays, the cheer, only reminds us more about the ones we’ve lost.
We are still anxious about what’s to come because we are on the edge of another outbreak and that has dampened the spirits for so many of us.
And no matter how much we say that it’s a collective reality for us, our pain will always be our own—deeply held and felt by every cell of our body, on our own.
We can’t share our pain. We can’t put it aside or look away. And the more we do, the stronger it becomes.
So yes, holidays can be an isolating and lonely experience for a lot of us where we are only trying to hold on to what we have, without really having anything to look forward to.
While we all somehow managed to recover from a backbreaking past, we are still looking into a blurry future.
“He said, ‘There are two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live.'” ~ Dalai Lama
People lost their loved ones, their support system.
Relationships broke down and some are still trying to piece themselves together.
With so much inner turmoil, people are struggling to make meaningful connections, and sometimes, even when everything seems to be going well, there’s still a lack of meaning in everything.
There is sadness and dejection for those who were finally starting to look forward to reconnecting with their loved ones.
While the struggle is still on, maybe we can still do some things to support ourselves during these times. We don’t need to pretend to be happy and joyous or force ourselves to get into the holiday spirit if we don’t feel like it.
But maybe we can:
Honor the memories of the ones we lost by remembering the good they stood for and the precious moments we created with them.
Honor ourselves by acknowledging our need to be with ourselves or with just the ones who are closest to us.
Do a good deed by helping someone in need to bring back a sense of connection and purpose.
Be kind to ourselves when we are gripped by our frustration, helplessness, guilt, or remorse.
Use this time to rebuild, reconnect, and rediscover our vision for the year ahead.
We can’t carry on the way we used to or the way we would’ve liked. Yet, we can start over.
After all, all we can do is try…right?
“All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope.” ~ Alexandre Dumas