Sometimes the Holidays Hurt

A few years ago I was leisurely wandering in a store with the most unique things. I saw a daily meditation book near the front counter with a monarch butterfly on the cover.  Monarchs inspire me and I reached for the book instinctively.  It was Christmas eve day.  I opened the book to Dec 24th and read the daily entry.

How could it be? It felt as though the author of the book was writing specifically to me. The passage described that sometimes the holidays hurt, that they don’t carry joy for everyone.  These words described how I had felt for many, many years.  It was though she was inside of my head.  The way she so accurately and thoughtfully described how painful Christmas can be for some, was something I had never heard anyone else say.

Reading the passage made me feel less alone for struggling through Christmas. Her words helped me realize that I was not the only person who had ever vodka’ed my way through the holidays to make it feel less painful.  Reading these words was profoundly helpful for me and I thought they may be helpful for you. If you have ever struggled or questioned why everyone around you is vibing on Christmas and you just can’t wait for it to be over, you are not alone. Your feelings are valid, and you are not alone.

Passage from: The Language of Letting Go

by: Melody Beattie

If you need to hear it, I hope it helps you the way it did me.

“For some, the sights, signs and smells of the holiday bring joy and a warm feeling. But, while others are joyously diving into the season, some of us are dipping into conflict, guilt and a sense of loss.

We read articles on how to enjoy the holidays, we read about the Christmas blues, but many of us still can’t figure out how to get through the holiday season. We may not know what a joyous holiday would look and feel like.

Many of us are torn between what we want to do on the holiday, and what we feel we have to do. We may feel guilty because we don’t want to be with our families. We may feel a sense of loss because we don’t have the kind of family to be with that we want. Many of us, year after year, walk into the same dining room on the same holiday, expecting this year to be different. Then we leave, year after year,  feeling let down, disappointed and confused by it all.

Many of us have old, painful memories triggered by the holidays.

Many of us feel a great deal of relief when the holiday is over.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is learning that we are not alone. There are probably as many of us in conflict during the holidays that there are those who feel at peace. We’re learning, through trial and error how to take care of ourselves a little better each holiday season.

Our first recovery task during the holidays is to accept ourselves, our situation, and our feelings about our situation. We accept our guilt, our anger, and sense of loss. It’s all okay. There is no right or perfect way to handle the holidays. Our strength can be found in doing the best we can, one year at a time.

Affirmation: This holiday season, I will give myself permission to take care of myself.”

Make it yours

Repeat your new affirmation hundreds of time throughout the day. Write it on a sticky note, put it on the bathroom mirror, in your wallet and in your car. Make it yours. Remind yourself that all of your feelings are okay and that you are okay. Whatever you are feeling is valid and you are not alone.

Give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling without judgement. So you feel like the only one in the world that is secretly hiding the actual Grinch inside your heart? You’re not. Feel whatever you are feeling then allow yourself to let it go. Let it move through you. Remind yourself that Christmas is only one day. How you spend it is up to you and does not define you. Being disappointed in yourself for feeling how you feel about Christmas is not helpful. In fact, it is a waste of your precious time and not a healthy place to stay. Feel what you are feeling and let it go.

It was when I finally allowed myself to acknowledge how difficult the holidays had been, that I was able to change it. It helped to let go of what wasn’t working, create new traditions, and allow the holidays to become something totally different than what they had always been.

Take care of you

Do things now to take good care of yourself. Yes, I know that when you are in the dumps it is difficult to have tea with a friend or treat yourself to a day in with a new book, but it is really important to try. Treating yourself like someone you love will go along way in helping you feel cared for.

People care for you, the people you work with, enjoy yoga with or see in your neighborhood. You are not alone. It’s true, you are important to more people than you can imagine.

And, you have my love and support always,



There are 2 comments

  1. Cheryl

    Sherry, thank you! I’ve had the blues more often and feel like I can’t shake it. I have a loving family but just not feeling “it”. Love you my friend

    1. Sherry Duquet

      You are so welcome dear friend. That is exactly right….even if you are surrounded by people that you love and that love you back, it is very possible to feel down/blue….whatever version that we are experiencing. That can contribute to our tendency to get down on ourselves for feeling that way which is a total waste of energy. Allow yourself to feel and let it move through you. Whatever you are feeling is perfectly oaky and you are loved and supported.
      Hugs to you Cheryl

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