20 Nov Good Grief! The Christmas Blues.
Christmas is a time of joy! New Years is a moment of celebration. Then why is it I feel this way? Or better still, what is it that I am feeling? Excitement is in the air, lights are illuminating the streets, yet I sit with dread wondering how I will make it through the days ahead.
Does this sound familiar? For some the thought of Christmas and New Years brings reminders of those they have lost, the empty chair at the dining room table or the absent warm hug when greeted at the door.
Perhaps there has been an immense change in the family, such as a separation or loss of a job. Whatever you are dealing with, sometimes during the holidays, emotions surface and your continual effort to ignore or suppress them, seems futile or impossible.
Attempts to help anyone through this challenging time when sadness seems to take over any hope of happiness, the word that comes to mind is compassion!
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
The beginning of such an intention, is self-compassion. Too often when we are in pain or struggling with life’s challenges, we become hard on ourselves. When we suffer, fail or feel inadequate, instead of giving ourselves kindness, we engage in self-criticism, self-isolation, and self-absorption.
Research psychologist, Kristin Neff defines self-compassion as having elements of self-kindness, balanced, mindful awareness and a sense of common humanity to know you are not alone.
The empathic human response to pain and its accompanying positive emotion, compassion, comforts the wounded spirit, and offers a feeling of well-being and love to all our suffering and feelings of despair.
When we learn to cultivate and increase our capacity for self-compassion, to embrace and comfort our sorrows and hold them with love and kindness, we increase our ability to comfort and be with another’s pain in such a way as, they too, feel comforted by your very presence.
Begin by honoring and respecting your feelings in a non-judgemental way. This requires a certain encouraging and positive attitude. Often this will reduce the intensity of the pain and help release guilt and self-criticism and start you on the path to healing.
Light a candle for each and every one of your losses, fill the room with the brilliance of your compassion, and notice the magic of the light!
“A wound not fully felt, consumes from the inside. We must run very hard to stay one step ahead of this pain.”