About a week ago, I had a friend message me to check in with me, in acknowledgement that Christmas is not always the happiest time of year for everyone.
She is spot on.
Christmas can be a time of joy, belonging, connectedness and family, and it can be a time of grief, loneliness, disconnection and separation.
Many people have a tough time around Christmas for varied reasons. Being surrounded with themes of being with family & friends in the media, and for many of us, the dreaded question, “What are you doing for Christmas?”, can exacerbate loneliness and enhance feelings of inadequacy.
For me, there is a sense of dread every year. I am of Jewish background and don’t celebrate Christmas or Jewish holidays either, and generally don’t have options to spend the day with people. It is also a time when a dear friend committed suicide a few days before Christmas, 8 years ago.
This creates a space of duality.
I can acknowledge and feel grateful to know about the belonging, joy & connectedness of others, whilst at the same time feeling my own pain of disconnection & grief, and the similar pains of others.
Holding space for this duality simultaneously, is also a paradox. It takes much energy to hold this kind of space, without getting caught up in one end of the scale or the other and staying in a space of acknowledging and honouring the contrast. At the same time, there is a sacredness of connection in being in this duality – the duality of feeling disconnection from most people around me with their joy and belonging and connected BECAUSE I am holding space for their connection and my disconnection simultaneously.
To know my pain doesn’t diminish another’s joy or vice versa – that is what makes me feel more connected. I can feel grateful for other’s joy, whilst simultaneously not denying my grief.
The simple acknowledgement from my friend that it may not be the happiest time, the act of checking in, can have such an impact on a person’s life. Not just st this time, but any time. Just to know someone was thinking of me, knowing my situation, filled my heart with connection and gratitude and meant so much to me.
If you know of people who are likely to be alone this Christmas or even suspect as much, a simple act of kindness in this crazy busy time could be a small message, text or phone call: “Hey, I was thinking of you.”
And not only for Christmas. “Hey, I’m thinking of you.” at any time can help transform someone’s not so great energy, to feel even just a little more uplifted.
I like to check in with people, just as much as I like people to check in with me. It is a simple act of kindness, that can create a loving, generous, uplifting vibration to ripple through our interconnectedness.