Acknowledging the Darkness
This letter is an invitation to honor all the not so pleasant feelings that tend to come up at this time of year. Here are a few possibilities - any of these resonate with you?
Grief/Loss - the noticeable absence of those who have been with us in years past. Sometimes this is a sharp pain accompanied by tears. Other times it is an ache in the middle of our chest, a longing to be with those we’ve lost.
Loneliness - the desperate desire for loving companions. Sometimes accompanied by wondering, “why me?” or “will this ever end?”. Other times it feels like a chasm, impossible to cross.
Perfectionism - pressure for the tree, the meal, the gifts to be perfect, for everyone to have a good time and get along. Forcing everything to be a certain way can prevent us from experiencing the fullness of the season.
Conflict - When tensions run high, it can be easy to lash out at each other in anger. When we have family members who don’t accept us or can’t see from our perspective, family gatherings can be stressful.
Trying to Conceive/Fertility Struggles - If you have been hoping and trying for that big fat positive pregnancy test, the holidays can be really depressing. Especially if you’ll be around kids or pregnant people.
These are just a few sources of difficult emotions that come up during the holidays. My advice is to be gentle with yourself. Give yourself some time - 10 minutes, 2 hours - to be with these feelings. Acknowledge your pain, let tears flow if they need to. You don’t have to power through these couple of weeks with positivity. Maybe peace and joy are on the other side of that pain - the way forward is through.