Lots of people feel left out at this time of year, for lots of reasonable reasons.

  • Harsh memories of the past can be haunting.            shattered
  • Disappointments about the present can feel insurmountable.
  • The idea of a New Time approaching, full of hope and possibility, can seem quite Pollyanna-ish and naively unrealistic.
  • Maybe it just doesn’t feel like your own beliefs fit in with the dominant culture around you.

The pressure to focus in on Family often seems overwhelming this time of year. And if your own family is very different than you expected, or if you feel disconnected from the people who were or are ‘supposed to be’ your family, the messages from everything and everyone around you to can add up to a looming sense of being The Odd Person Out.

Does it help, even just a little, to know that not only are you not alone with these feelings, but that there are millions of people who feel very similarly, right now?

A few tips on helping yourself get through this time of year:

Comfort Yourself

Make a project of finding out what makes you feel comfy, inside and out. Take a few ideas from others — you know, the usuals like comfort foods and restful activities — and experiment to see which ones actually work for you. If any of them don’t add up to providing you with a sense of calm well-being (even if just a little bit,) don’t waste time, energy, or money on it any longer. Find some new comfort-bringing things. If you have any pleasant memories, those can often provide you with ideas.

Find Your Tribe

Knowing that there are millions of others who don’t feel connected with “the holidays,” think about ways you might reach out and meet them, if not now, at some point later. Could it be that there are people a whole lot like you right around the corner? And if it’s a matter of your living in a locale that seems hostile to your beliefs and ideas, the internet and social media can be a revealing, informative source for finding others with whom you click. Considering how vulnerable and even unsafe it can seem to let others know how you really feel this time of year, think about the strong possibility that someone out there could say, “Right? Me, too!”

Re-author Your Story

While our culture has built up around the concept of “new beginnings” that start at a certain point on any given calendar, the truth is that we’ve never stopped — and we’re barely even aware that we ever started — writing our own narrative of living. Think of your existence as a story, and you could be on your way to editing it in ways that you never considered before, for upcoming episodes or chapters that you prefer. And even if you hate actual writing, you can find other ways to tell your story — to a friend, into a recording device, or to a mental health practitioner. Sometimes, the re-telling of our narratives can help us re-author the continuing story in ways we never imagined before…

So, instead of wishing you “happy holidays” — let’s change it up to

“May you have peace and contentment,

every day and every night.”