… Allow your loneliness time
To dissolve the shell of dross
That had closed around you;
Choose in this severe silence
To hear the one true voice
Your rushed life fears,
Cradle yourself like a child
Learning to trust what emerges,
So that gradually
You may come to know … The glimmer of springtime
(John O’ Donohue)
If Loneliness is the obstacle that is keeping you unhappy, it can be more of a thorn to manage during the Holiday Season. Whether the loneliness that you experience is caused due to losses, not fitting in, or social shyness, it can become overwhelming during the Holidays amid the pressure to be cheerful and the illusion that everybody else is “happy” or “paired up.”
Reality is very different than the illusion, or the false beliefs we live by.
- Happy: Not so many.
- Paired up: Many are paired-up, but that does not necessarily mean they are happy. A client told me her most intense times of loneliness is when her husband is around pushing a cheerfulness that she cannot feel within or with him.
When you are lonely, you are more vulnerable to allow the ‘Currier and Ives’ images of the Season to seep in, as if they were real. These kinds of images and memories have the power to stop us in our tracks.
My first Christmas after being divorced I remember being at the mall and hearing Elvis Presley singing “Blue Christmas.” I became unglued, and ran out of the mall. I was already one of the ‘walking-wounded’ trying to do the expected things to provide a Christmas for my daughters. I’m here to tell you, both personally and professionally, you will be able to see more clearly how to make a course correction after the holidays. So if you haven’t tackled loneliness yet, don’t give up.
Some years back, I did a ‘Single thru the Holidays Group’ which included men and women. We started the Sunday before Thanksgiving and ended the Sunday after New Year. All of our stories were different and also similar. Some had recently experienced a relationship loss or divorce and just wanted some space to feel what they felt without forced frivolity. While some wanted support to experience the holidays differently than the traditional way, others just wanted to connect with kindred spirits. All benefitted from connecting with others. My group was, in essence, a holding space to be ‘all right’ with whatever was causing the loneliness.
My wish is that you hold space for yourself, no matter what you are feeling or how you got to this place, with compassion and without judgment.
Take time to reflect on the patterns that have you stuck and the best strategy for you to face your loneliness, the sooner the better. The only way out of loneliness or any other obstacle that is holding us back is to release the fear, and muster the courage, to go through it, not around it, if you are going to become free.
When I say through, I do not mean by pushing and shoving, or being harsh with yourself. Such action which will build up more resistance to any possibility of change.
Reflect and know that the obstacle of loneliness in your life has meaning. We all have obstacles that have to honored and worked through in order to accept our worthiness to have a full and abundant life. Mine may be different than yours, but I have them until I process the meaning and release the power that they have over me.
Discover how to be free of loneliness with tools, exercises and strategies go to laurabyoung.com/laurabyoung/obstacles.