This time of year is all about going home - a physical place that you return to where you feel you belong. Not everyone has that blessing. And, although your family may be difficult to be around, they're YOUR family. Even though there may be disagreements and feuds, the sense of unconditional love takes precedence. We are wired in our brains to connect with one another. According to the latest cutting edge neuroscience, our need to connect with people is even more fundamental than our need for food and shelter. But, what if you find yourself alone during the Holidays? How can you make this time less painful? Try this:
- Start out by not denying your situation. If you feel melancholy that you weren't invited to join someone's table, allow yourself to feel your feelings. You have a right to them. But, maybe you can put a time limit on it. Tell yourself that you will sulk or cry for one or two hours and then when the time is up, you will pick yourself up and continue with your life. Don't be afraid of your sadness. Give it all the room it needs, it will dissolve faster when you don't block it.
- Connect with yourself. Don't run away and abandon yourself. Start off with a body scan. It is amazing how much fuller you can feel when you get grounded in your body. Any mindful meditation will help you control negative thoughts. You can't control whether or not you get invited to someone's home for the Holidays, but you can certainly be proactive with how you handle it.
- Make eye contact. If the eyes are the windows of the soul, use that to help you feel more connected when you come into contact with people. Anyone. It's amazing how satisfying it can feel to be locked in a gaze with someone. To be seen. At our very core, we want to be seen, to be gotten. This can happen with the check out person at the grocery store. The opportunity to connect is more available than you think.
- Smile. The venerable Thich Nhat Hanh says, "Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile and sometimes your smile is the source of your joy." Remember whatever you feed will grow. If you choose to feed your misery then it will feel bigger inside of you. But if you take control over how you choose to meet your challenges and choose to feed the positive, then that is what will grow.
- Nothing is forever. Know that everything is continually changing, that is the nature of life. As bad as you may feel right now, it will pass. It's just weather. Even though it may be cloudy and cold, remember that behind those clouds is the ever present Sun waiting to come out and spread its sunshine.