As we approach the holiday season, the familiar tastes, smells, sounds and sights hearken back to earlier times -- times when we were tucked into the traditions of our families, feeling a deep sense of belonging. But many people must face the season alone, bereft of that special someone.
The feelings evoked during this time draw us closer to the people in our lives, but returning to our families of origin for a holiday visit as a singleton can lead to feelings of uncertainty, longing or loneliness. These feelings are especially pronounced for people going though a breakup, grieving the death of a loved one, or having trouble finding someone to love. Most folks who are alone-not-by-choice respond to holiday festivitieswith a sense of abandonment, isolation or apathy. They are surrounded by reminders of times when they felt connected to someone. They feel an extra pang on New Year's Eve when all of the couples kiss at the stroke of midnight and they are alone.
What to do:
1. Don't underestimate these feelings. Embrace them as part of being human and be extra gentle with yourself. You can't push them away. Ignoring them just drives them underground where they drain your energy and mood from within. Instead, be prepared for the 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 with trusted friends and counselors. Sharing helps to redress the primal abandonment feelings that underlie the discomfort. Abandonment support groups are especially helpful at this time. 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. 4. Create events that you can look forward to in the future, such as 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. 6. Approach people with the spirit of giving. This doesn't necessarily mean with gifts, but with your interest and caring for others. Be in the moment with them, fully present, demonstrating 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 alone-not-by-choice, 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. Pamper yourself. Put a lot of thought into what little things might feel luxurious to you. Probe yourself by asking, "What do I want?" Give yourself as many indulgences as you can afford. 9. Don't depend solely upon being invited to other people's parties. Plan your own gatherings. Be ready to laugh and enjoy. 10. Recognize the temporary nature of all things. When it comes to your loneliness, remind yourself, "This too shall pass." Susan Anderson is a psychotherapist and the author of Journey From Heartbreak to Connection, Journey From Abandonment to Healing and Black Swan: Twelve Lessons of Abandonment Recovery. Through her books and www.abandonment.net, she reaches out to abandonment survivors and clients from all over the world.
Source: Relationships & Love