Home > abandonment, Outer Child > What Is It About Holidays That Tug at Our Abandonment Strings?

What Is It About Holidays That Tug at Our Abandonment Strings?

Maybe it’s the smells. A few whiffs of cinnamon, butter cooking, turkeys roasting, chocolate melting, and pine needles and we are brought right back to earlier times — times when we were nestled into our families and their traditions. The holidays are just around the corner and soon we will be inundated by those familiar tastes, smells, sounds and sights that tug at our heartstrings. This helps to enhance the spirit for the folks who are happily tucked in with their mates and families. But for those of us who are alone, the holidays can arouse a sense of longing for deep connection. This can inspire creative change or trigger a kind of seasonal depression.

There are so many people out there who face the holiday season without a special someone to share it with. We may have a family to visit, but may feel emotionally alone. Maybe we are going though a breakup, grieving the death of a loved one, having trouble finding someone to love, or involved in a relationship where we feel a loss of love. We may show up at family gatherings attempting to put the best face on it, but somewhere inside we may feel some isolation, apathy, or disconnection, all the while surrounded by reminders of earlier times when we felt connected to people we loved and belonged to.

People ask me how to cope. Drawing from an old list, I’d like to pose a challenge: Allow your holiday emotions to inspire creative change. Choose Change over Depression. Here’s how:
1) Don’t underestimate these feelings. Embrace them as part of being human and be extra gentle with yourself. Don’t try to push them away. Ignoring them just drives them underground where they drain your energy and mood from within. Instead be prepared for nostalgic feelings. Validate your vulnerability and give yourself extra care. In short, be your own physician: Tend to your own wound caringly.
2) Share your feelings whenever you can with people you trust. In some cases, this may have to be a professional counselor. Sharing helps to soothe the primal abandonment feelings that underlie the depression and also helps you feel less alone.
3) Create new hope in your life. Take initiatives designed to reap some benefits later on. At the very least buy a lottery ticket, but also initiate new undertakings that will help you reach your goals, such as joining a dating service, sending out an application to get a degree, signing up for an exercise program, or rewriting your resume so that later you can take advantage of new job opportunities. You have to really get creative here. And you have to follow through.
4) Create events that you can look forward to in the future such as planning a trip to visit a friend.
5) Reach out to people. Create a connection with new people and reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with. Spend time with someone you love who makes you smile. Talk to people who have been through abandonment and have come out the other side – positively. These connections often times involve taking positive risks. Now is the time to take them!
6) Approach people with the spirit of giving – not with gifts (necessarily) but with your interest and caring for them. Being generous means being in the moment with them, being fully present. Demonstrate an earnest desire to listen to them. Be in empathy with their lives. Make them feel their special importance in your life.
7) Do some community outreach to help others. Now that you’re feeling lonely, you can appreciate how difficult it is for folks who are isolated within hospitals, prisons, shelters, nursing homes, or on the streets. Help them feel a little less lonely by letting them know someone cares. Come bearing gifts or just your company. Lend a helping hand.
8) Nurture yourself. Put a lot of thought in what little things might feel pampering and luxurious to you. Probe yourself by asking, “What do I want?” Watch inspiring movies – go to net flicks or spiritual cinema.com. Visit a new place (that you have not been to before), one that has special holiday spirit or a transporting ambience. Give yourself as many indulgences as you can afford, and remember, self-indulgence is not the same as self-nurturance. We don’t want a credit card debt to have to repay later.
9) Don’t depend solely upon being invited to other people’s parties, plan your own gatherings. Be ready to laugh and enjoy. This is another positive risk that is worth taking!
10) This one is the most important: Recognize the temporary nature of all things. As for your loneliness, remind yourself, “This is only a feeling and this too shall pass.”

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