Is holiday happiness a myth?

I just got off the phone with a friend who was singing a familiar tune. She’s fighting the holiday blues and trying desperately to keep her energy up.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that people tend to have a hard time with the holidays for a number of reasons:

–They must spend time with family that they don’t get along with.
–They compare their lives to the lives of others or the life they imagined and feel themselves falling short.
–With the emphasis on family and children, relationship woes are magnified. For singles, this time can be particularly lonely.
–They’ve lost a loved one and the holidays are simply no longer as happy as they once were.

At one time or another, I’ve experienced each one of these scenarios. One thing that always helped me to feel better is the recognition that I was not alone in my feelings. When you focus on the manufactured image that the holidays are bustling with perfect and happy families, or you receive that annual family update from the friend who is bragging about the great year she’s had, you feel somehow like something is wrong with you and your sadness is just another thing you haven’t gotten right.

Take heart, many people are struggling through this season, and if you’re honest with friends about how you’re feeling, you may open up a conversation in which a loved one tells you they’re feeling the same exact way — or something similar. Once I started talking about these feelings, I found that I was in the majority, so now I can call a friend and laugh about the holiday blues and we’ll go out and conjure up some fun together.

That’s what I’m doing today. I’ve learned that life isn’t about avoiding, denying, fighting or struggling through tough situations. It’s about acknowledging them, sharing them and conjuring up some fun in the meantime.

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