By Susan Winter on December 23, 2013
The Holidays can create difficult emotional states for many people. The hype and expectations surrounding this time period are intense. Commercials and movies emphasize happy, loving families enjoying their time together and couples in cozy, warm images of endless love.
But what about those people whose lives don’t match these images? What about the widowed, single, and those separated from loved ones due to circumstance or distance? They are often made to feel badly about their state of “aloneness” at this time of year.
There’s a big difference between being alone and being lonely. As an only child of deceased parents, I am thankful I don’t hold these mental constructs. Maybe I’m used to being alone. Maybe I like my own company. Whatever the reasons, I’m not bothered by solitude. I relish it. However, I’m keenly aware of those who do not.
Few of us are living a Norman Rockwell Christmas. Yet, its message is profound. How does one take the existing format and construct of happy togetherness and make it work if they’re alone?
Firstly, we are all singular in our reality. Though we want to believe we are like others, we are each autonomous. Being alone doesn’t need to mean “lonely.” It could mean “with ourselves.” Why would we automatically assume that being a singular person means separation? Separation from the self is the issue, not separation from others. Only when separated from ourselves do we experience a separation from all of Life.
Creating a mental shift from lonely to with yourself begins with the language you’re using. Instead of saying you’re “alone” during the Holidays, you can state that you are “with yourself.” Secondly, see the commercial marketing surrounding Holidays for what it is… an inducement to buy, present and enact a specific form of behavior. Don’t confuse your life with what merchants are pushing.
I’ve watched so many people recoil into their negative feelings at Holidays. They seem to believe everyone else is living a better life, a happier life and a richer experience than they are. But what’s the truth?
There will be times in each person’s life when they find themselves alone. Whether short in duration or longer than we’d like, it’s a reality for everyone. The trick to handling this phase is to think it through.
Why automatically assume alone equals lonely? Alone is simply the absence of others. It doesn’t mean unwanted. It doesn’t mean unloved. It’s a temporary state and condition that’s subject to change at any time.
Feeling lonely is simply a perception. It’s not the truth of your life or who you are. You are with yourself. That’s good company, if you allow it to be so.