Tap Into Compassion: The Holiday Season Can Trigger Anxiety

compassionI was lucky enough to have great memories of Christmas in my childhood.  There were a lot of children in my family and not a lot of money so Christmas was “small” in the amount of presents we might have received but it was “HUGE” in the amount of excitement, love, anticipation and traditions that happened in our little house.  I’m the oldest of nine wild and crazy brothers and sisters and I feel  so fortunate to have grown up without too many emotional scars from childhood so imagine my surprise when I found out (when I was nearly 40) that there are people in this world that do not enjoy the holidays.  I used to think of them as a Bah-humbug Scrooge type of person and did my best to just stay away from them.  As I got older…. And wiser (meaning, more aware and conscious of others….and began to develop more compassion) I became aware of what might be behind some people retreating from the holidays I so dearly loved.

I had experienced a few “rough” holiday seasons after being married only a few years and I didn’t really notice that the holidays were a bit “unjolly” for me until the year of 2008.  I was married at the time and had made all the preparations for Christmas.  The house was decorated, the menu was planned, the stockings had been left for Santa and I had planned the perfect little evening of wrapping presents…building bicycles…. Stuffing stockings and other fun Santa activities for my husband and I to do together.  Now, I think the first mistake I made was actually having an expectation of EXACTLY how I wanted that PERFECT evening to look, I set myself up for disappointment (that’s another blog for another day)….. the second mistake was not being aware of the torment the holidays can trigger in someone that has bad childhood memories of Christmas.  I still do not know what childhood memories were triggered in my ex husband but as I Iook back over my 14 years of marriage…. Many of those carefully planned out PERFECT Christmas Eve’s had ended with me crying and wrapping presents by myself and not feeling very jolly about what I believed to be the most magical evening of the year.

What I later learned after my divorce is that for some people the lights, the holiday music, the presents and just the feeling of the holidays….although it might be holly & jolly for most….. it may trigger unpleasant memories for some.  If there were financial struggles in a family…. The holidays could certainly escalate the amount of tension and fighting in families…. Which also may have increased the amount of drinking, drugs and violence that might have been experienced in these households.  It might also be a time of year that a loved one passed away and there was deep sadness surrounding the holidays. It seems there are a lot of people that leave this earth life during this time of year.  This leaves behind loved ones that do their best to make it through the holidays with a painful heartache of loneliness.  There are other scenarios too that may have been unpleasant for children and they may carry that unconsciously into their adult years….. and….  like in my husband at the time’s case….. he didn’t even realize that he would sabotage the entire holiday  not even understanding that this was because he was being triggered by a childhood trauma he had long since buried.  Like I said before, I was very fortunate to not have any of these painful memories but there are some people that might be close to us that struggle with this time of year.  There might also be some people struggling with a mental disability that is often triggered by these types of social times during the year.  Still there are others who struggle immensely feeling they are not enough, not deserving, not worthy and not lovable, especially at this time of season of so much LOVE.  These friends and loved ones of ours watch commercials, see movies, hear the music, watch couples’ walking hand in hand as they shop for their loved ones and secretly, it seems to them, that everyone around them has the perfect “Wonderful Life” and they are the only ones “missing out” on the joy.

My purpose for this blog is to ask for your compassion this time of year for those that might find this time of year so difficult for reasons they may or may not consciously understand.   When you meet someone that might not meet your standards of “Jolly”….. maybe a kind-hearted smile of compassion would be the greatest gift you could offer them this year.   May we expand our awareness and compassion this year.

I would love you to join my prayer to the world….. “Bless those with a heavy heart, those that suffer and those that cause suffering, may they catch a glimpse of the LIGHTS this year and may it spark the light within them.  May they awaken to their true nature and may we all have more love in our hearts than we did yesterday!  Namaste….. I see your light and I see mine….. now, we share!  Compassion for one, compassion for all.

holding hands

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