How to Get Through the Holidays Without the One You Love
Holidays are a great time, right?
Lights, trees, presents, and smiles.
Friends and families gather for warm hot cocoa and fun times around the fireplaces.
But what about for those of us who have lost someone?
It could be that a family member or close friend recently passed away. Or perhaps the person is away. This could be for work or the even more difficult scenarios such as prison or rehab. It’s even possible to have someone physically present but mentally or emotionally distant because of an addiction or other problematic situation.
The reasons why some of us are forced to face the holidays without the one we love vary.
The good news is that the methods for dealing with this dilemma are the same. They involve overcoming the same set of lies those of us who find ourselves in this position often believe.
Thinking that these 4 lies are true is where the battle really lies. Overcoming them and believing what is actually true is how we gain the victory.
Let’s look at each of these 4 lies and overcome them with the truth together.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. – John 8:32
It Doesn’t Really Hurt
One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves in this situation is that it doesn’t really hurt. We smile and try to have a good time. Then afterward we feel even more lonely than before.
The truth is that it does hurt to spend the holidays without someone you care about regardless of the reason why it has to be that way.
We don’t have to hide the fact that we miss somebody or that we feel alone without that person. Of course, we don’t have to go to our work Christmas party and cry to everyone. But if a coworker notices you seem down, you don’t have to hide it either.
It’s okay to hurt. And it’s okay to admit that, at times, all of us do.
It’s My Fault
This lie ties into the first one. It’s the reason why we don’t want others to know that we are hurting. Deep inside, it’s easy to feel like whatever happened is our fault.
We live into the should have instead of the now. This handicaps us and ties us into endless guilt trips from the past.
The truth is that you did the best you could with what you knew and were able to do at the time.
The bottom line is that you are not responsible for other people’s decisions nor are you at fault for something that happened beyond your control.
Even if you didn’t do everything right, the truth is that you are free from what happened yesterday. And that means you are now free to live today.
I Can Change This
For those of us who are experiencing the holidays without someone we love because that person has chosen to be away from us, we can fall into the trap of believing that we can make things change.
We think, If only I call and invite him once again… Or, maybe she’ll come if I agree to… And we put ourselves on the hook for the decisions of someone else.
The truth is that you didn’t stop the person from being there. Regardless of what you did or did not do, someone else’s decision to be somewhere or not be there is their decision.
And the truth is that you are not responsible for changing it.
I Can’t Be Happy Unless…
Many of us can also fall into the trap of thinking that we have to have this person around in order to enjoy the holidays. Depending on the situation and the context, the may be true to an extent (for example, a parent who lost a child, etc.).
The focus of this point is to understand, however, that there is both more to life and more to us than another person.
In other words, let’s look at what we do have instead of what we don’t.
Those of us with three children, for example, may focus on the one who refused to come so much that we forget to enjoy the two that did.
Again, there are some unfortunate circumstances when someone deeply grieving may not benefit from this perspective.
But for those of us who have many blessings around us, let us not forget to overlook what is there while focusing too much on what is not.
All in all, the holidays truly are a great time.
But for many people they can be lonely, especially when someone we love isn’t around to share them with us.
The key is to realize that it does hurt and there is nothing wrong with accepting that. Nonetheless, it’s not our fault. And we don’t have to own someone else’s decision. Additionally, there are some things we cannot change. Accepting them is the best policy. And finally, let us always notice and enjoy the blessings that we have present with us while not neglecting them because of what is missing.