For some, Christmas is an anniversary of emotional pain, isolation and sufferance. It is not a time of year worthy of celebration or cheer. What would it take to support them through this dark time?
We all seem to know someone who doesn’t enjoy Christmas. You may have even muttered the word “grinch” in their presence from time to time. Lately I have been reflecting on how we tend to label these people as “killjoy”. And yet, people rarely seem to consider the constant pressure that is placed on these people to participate in a time that evokes painful memories or undue pressure to provide what they can’t afford. Let’s not also forget that not everyone is culturally or religiously aligned with celebrating Christmas.
Expecting others to front up and wear a festive smile in spite of their pain is not in the Christmas spirit. When we do this it comes from a selfish space. Another person does not have the power to “bring you down” unless there is something within you that allows it. It may be that you are masking your own personal torment with partying, and the presence of a person honest in their emotional suffering is triggering feelings you are not comfortable with.
They are highlighting to you something you can work on within yourself to improve your quality of life. You don’t need to wallow in sorrow or shower them with pity. Be thankful for the awareness they are showing you. Mentally schedule in a time for you to work through that stuff.
In essence, this is the “grinch’s” gift to you. And trust me, it is a far richer, bountiful gift than any of the material trinkets anyone else bestows upon you this Christmas!
It’s All About The Love
“I worry about my friend being so sad. I don’t want them to feel that way.”
We ache for our loved ones who are going through times of deep sadness. We want to reach down and lift them out of it, to give them that moment to take a breathe.
There is often a temptation to jump on in and make it better. Then when our actions don’t meet our expectations it leads to greater turmoil for us and the person in pain.
For someone going through depression, sometimes the greatest gift is a friend who is just there holding space for them.
Earlier in the year I wrote a magazine article for Lustre Magazine about a dear friend of mine who went through deep depression. She told me that during her darkest moments, the friends who sat with her without expectation helped her. Whilst she was not able to pull herself out of the dark pit in that moment, she still felt loved.
What If We Were To Focus On Blessings
Religious significance aside, Christmas is a celebration of focussing on the blessings within our lives. Even during the most difficult of times there are always moments to be thankful for. Even if it is the breeze against your skin, the sounds of the birds, the clouds in the sky, or the smile and kindness of a bypassing stranger.
On a broader scale, we can remember all of the synchronous miracles that happen within our lives. The chance meetings at the right moment, the warnings, and the opportunities.
How do you feel when you remember these moments? I often feeling like shouting from the rooftops, “how lucky am I?”
Joy and gratitude go hand in hand. Both are extremely contagious! There is joy in selfless giving, and it doesn’t need to be in a material form.
In my book Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind, I wrote about the potency of random acts of kindness.
“If you do something nice for someone, you will experience and appreciate a lot of kindness in your life. This will not necessarily come from those who you direct these actions to. The same can be said for expressing gratitude. The more blessings you are thankful for, the more blessings you become aware of in your life.”Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind
Gifting Random Acts Of Kindness
There is something so exquisitely delicious about random acts of kindness. They are the vehicles by which we are able to show unconditional love and compassion to those around us. They facilitate connection, something we all crave.
These acts can be as simple as a smile, money left in a parking meter for the next person, or a genuine compliment.
Christmas cheer is not something that needs to be force-fed or trussed up in tinsel and consumerism. It can be communicated simply and shared with conscious consideration, love and kindness. It does not need to have religious connotation and really, it should not be restricted to the month of December. When offered with joy and respect how can anyone take umbrage?
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay