This time of year can be tough for a lot of people…
Single dad or mom? Maybe you feel like you’re not doing enough or providing enough. Social media can sure make it seem that way if you allow it. Comparison is a toxic game we can easily fall prey to this time of year.
Maybe you’re older, recently divorced, your kids are grown, and the holiday family traditions and times you thought would never end are suddenly gone forever. You may not miss your ex at all, but you will grieve the loss of the marriage.
Married with kids and unemployed or underemployed? Maybe you’re just trying to keep the lights on, rent paid, and food on the table while trying to figure out which payments you can defer or let lapse this month as you listen to your kids talk about all the places their friends are going or what their friends are getting for Christmas.
Maybe you’re single and have several friends who are married, getting married, or in a relationship. Society screams at us to couple this time of year with the implication that we are somehow “less than” if we aren’t partnered up. Cuffing season is a thing, and during that time many of us start to feel as though we will never find the deep, authentic connection we desire.
Maybe you or someone very close to you has recently been diagnosed with cancer. The future now seems uncertain. Suddenly, Christmas carols and holiday decor don’t spark the joy and sentiments they once did, and the unspoken and heavy question on your mind is, “Will this be my / their last Christmas?”
Maybe it’s your first Christmas since you’ve lost a parent or sibling, a spouse, or even a child. The pain and emptiness of such a loss can be crippling, especially this time of year. You feel lost. Your family and friends either don’t know what to say to you, so they avoid you, or they say the wrong things.
Maybe it’s something else, or it’s a combination of several of these or other circumstances that weigh on your heart and mind like a stone making this a very tough time.
So, what do most of us do when faced with these or other difficult circumstances this time of year? We smile through the pain and tell people we are “doing good” even though it feels like we are about to break. We remain silent about our fears and uncertainties and our feelings of not being enough, not doing enough, not providing enough, and post our best pics. We keep going, even though at times it feels like we can’t.
So, be kind. You never know what someone is walking through right now. And don’t just do it over the holidays; make it a habit. Life’s challenges hit us all, and those challenges don’t care what time of year it is.
Be patient. Our digital world moves at the speed of light, but human beings don’t. We all have different capabilities and tolerances, and we are ALL a work in progress.
Be thankful. If you are in a good place right now, be thankful for this moment. Appreciate what you have and bless others when and where you can. The one certainty in life is change, and there may come a time when we need someone to bless us.
Be there. Sometimes all we need is someone to listen, to hold space for us and let us grieve, or cry it out, or just talk. Sometimes the best gift we can give someone during the holidays is simply our time, love, and encouragement.