Updated: Jul 28, 2021
by Lauren Moore Charlesworth
The power of togetherness is something that leaves me feeling constantly amazed. I feel supported and held when I am connected to another and everything feels more manageable when I know I have got my army standing with me, cheering me on, ready to pick me up when I fall.
The holiday season is one that although filled with festivities and celebrations, can lead to many challenges within the family unit. It is the time where we feel the loss of loved ones most, we mourn for those still in the world who have lost their way and changes in the structure of the family due to divorce or the ending of a relationship can be difficult to navigate. Individual family members struggles can become more evident due to spending the holidays together. Perhaps we bear witness to a sibling, cousin, or friend having developed a drinking problem, depression or anger issues. The above can leave us with a heavy heart in the season where instead of rejoicing and giving thanks, we find ourselves feeling anxious with an attitude of dread and angst towards it.
How can we manage these feelings, fears, anxieties and struggles, but still give thanks and experience the gratitude that this beautiful time of year has to offer? The key is to accept these feelings as they come and find the place to talk about them. So often we hide how we feel that it becomes an elephant in the room. If I am concerned about someone, I will not speak up for fear of offending them.
But what if speaking up can save their life. What if all they needed was an outside perspective to help unlock a whole new dimension to their thinking or experience? This is not to say we should interfere in the affairs of others and attempt to control a situation, but rather ask ourselves honestly, “where is my concern coming from?”
If it is a place of love, then honesty will always be the best policy. We cannot control what our loved ones do with this honesty, but we can find solace in the fact that we have spoken our truth.
We should not only speak up about concerns we have for others but also concerns we have for ourselves. We may be reflecting on the year and beating ourselves up for not making the changes we aspired towards. These reflections can leave us feeling low or inadequate. We are taught not to mention these thoughts and remain positive, but why? If this is how we feel, should we not voice this so our families or loved ones know where we stand and what we need?
If no one is aware of the state our minds are in, they will not be as sensitive to our insecurities. They won’t know that perhaps all we needed was a hug or a boost in morale or even just a simple “keep going sweetheart, you are amazing”.
We have been taught to keep our feelings to ourselves. When we hear a song reminding us of a loved one who has passed away, we may feel the need to shed a tear, but instead we blink them back for fear of reminding our families of their pain over the loss, however we need to remember there is a healing power in mass vulnerability. Sharing your emotions with your families and allowing them to do the same is healthy. It does not take away the pain, rather it reminds us that regardless of how long ago they passed, they are always with us in our hearts.
With all these difficulties the festive season brings, it is still one where we can make the most beautiful memories. It is a time where families can come together and support one another while giving thanks for all that they are still able to share. We do not know what will surface during this time, but if we are able to stay honest and authentic in how we deal with our loved ones, then we can be sure that good will come of it. Love truly is the most powerful thing. Sometimes it is hidden under hurt and we need to dig a little deeper to connect to it but using our voice and expressing ourselves is a sure way to do that.
Wishing all of you a blessed festive season with your loved ones.