Many of us who suffered through emotional abuse feel our sorrow more intensely during the holiday season. As we see families come together in love and support, we’re reminded of the happiness we lost.
But did we really lose it? Or did we simply lose the image of what we’d hoped for, that was never to be? Often, holidays with emotional predators were as painful, and perhaps more so, than any other day. But we experience grief, none-the-less. Our anguish can be more about the fantasy we’d envisioned, that will never be fulfilled, and we need to let it go.
By focusing on the reality that we were simply being played in a game of smoke and mirrors, we can free ourselves to experience new found pleasure in the friendships that endured, and create new traditions of joy that we can weave into the fabric of our lives.
For many of you who read my book, you can understand why being exposed to Christmas music, particularly songs that were popularized by Elvis or any other country singer, used to trigger very painful thoughts for me. It took me several years, and writing my book, to disassociate with that connection. Today, I welcome the sounds that once spiraled me into depression, as a reminder of my reclaiming my life.
It’s truly wonderful to have family and friends around us that are supportive, but some of us are simply not that lucky, and experience a pervasive loneliness this time of year. If you find yourself in this position, reach out today… find a woman’s shelter, a senior center, a soup kitchen or other supportive volunteer organization and roll up your sleeves. The magic of giving to others is often the best tonic to transform our own spirit.
Sir Winston Churchill coined a phrase that was made even more popular by tennis great, Arthur Ashe. I’m paraphrasing, but it goes something like this….
“What you get provides you with a living, what you give provides you with a life.”
Don’t sit alone, lamenting your losses. There’s a world out there that needs you.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, or any other spiritual or non-spiritual holiday, I wish you a new tradition of joy, for now and every other day of the coming year!