It's very easy to fall into a "poor me, nobody loves me, I'm going to go eat worms" state of mind when you don't have any invitations for the holidays. Alternatively, you could choose to enjoy your holidays anyway. It's all in how you see it and who you hold accountable for the situation. Here are some strategies that might help you sort your situation out and maybe, just maybe, have your best holiday season yet.
- Avoid the blame game: It is so easy and automatic for most people to look at being alone for the holidays as wrong, unacceptable, and a prescription for unhappiness, but it doesn't need to be that way. Being alone -- whether because of a family feud, no one thinking to invite you, or the death of a loved one with whom you would have shared the holiday -- can be a blessing in disguise. So, be open to the possibility that this could be a good thing and nobody's "fault." Blaming yourself or others for being alone only makes matters worse and wastes a lot of your precious energy in negative thoughts and feelings. So save the energy you would otherwise have expended on blaming and judging yourself and others and put it to better use. This may be an entirely new experience for you, but that doesn't mean it has to be unpleasant.
- Accept the situation as it is: You don't have to like the idea of being alone, but accepting it frees you to take action that can lead to a happy holiday. Acceptance might not come easily, but make it a goal to move past any hurt feelings or sadness you have about being alone with the intention of accepting what is so. (For more information and understanding about the power of acceptance, see my post "Acceptance: The First Law of Spirit.")
- If you are grieving a profound loss, be patient and tender with yourself: If you are grieving over the holidays, it may be that taking advantage of the time and emotional space to be with your grief without a pep squad of well-intentioned people trying to make you feel better could be just what you need. My first four Christmases after my mother's death, I was at very loose ends. My Christmases were full of traditions and expressions of caring that we shared. I always extravagantly decorated the house and tree, baked too many cookies, and overdid it with presents and fabulous wrappings. Without her, all those activities seemed meaningless to me. The fifth year, I was finally ready to turn to myself rather than to others to define what kind of Christmas would make me happy. I invited friends to help decorate my tree, bought and wrapped presents for myself, had my favorite Christmas morning breakfast, giggled as I opened my presents, and cooked myself an entire turkey dinner. I had so much fun I'm going to do most of that again this year.
- Decide to create a happy holiday for yourself: Granted, "happy" is a relative term. For some it might simply mean not feeling like an outsider at someone else's version of the holidays, while others will want to reach out and find new people who would like to share the festivities. Think of it as "my holiday, my way." If what you have done in the past is not an option, then do some soul-searching and consider what would be most meaningful to you. For some, giving to others serves as a reminder of our interconnectivity and the importance of looking beyond our own situation. Offering acts of service to others who are less fortunate always benefits the giver as well as the recipient.
- Count your blessings: Here is a starter list of some of the good news about spending a holiday alone. Please feel free to share your additional ideas in the comment section at the end of this article to inspire others with new ideas.
- A free day or weekend that you weren't expecting to have. You can sleep late, be lazy if you wish, clean out a closet, go to the movies, read a great book, or just follow the path of serendipity.
- Spending less money on gifts and special outfits for the occasion
- Having more control over how much you eat and drink
- The opportunity to create your very own holiday feast with your favorites, not someone else's -- and you get to keep all the leftovers
- The opportunity to create your own holiday gathering, to take a trip, or to get to know yourself a little better
Regardless of what activities you engage in over the holidays, be sure to take the time to
connect in your heart to the spirit of the holidays. For example, on Thanksgiving, whether with a crowd or by yourself, dive into the wellspring of gratitude for all you do have in your life and allow yourself to sense the oneness with others who will be acknowledging their blessings as well. My wish for you is that you treasure yourself and take the very best care of yourself possible... and have some fun!
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