By Daryn Watson
The holiday season is often viewed as a “joyous” time for family and friends to get together in celebration.
What happens, though, if you are alone and you don’t have anyone to celebrate the holiday season with?
This can lead one down the rabbit hole of feelings of loneliness, isolation, not feeling good enough, etc.
I’ve seen many social media posts by adoptees who feel “left out” by not being with their families (adopted or biological) during the holidays.
Our thinking turns into survival or protective mode. We want the holidays to be over so we don’t have to see or hear more commercials or social media posts about the holidays.
What if it’s possible to look at the holidays from a different lens? A lens where we don’t feel dread day after day, year after year, during the holiday season?
The good news is, it is possible to change how we view and experience holidays.
The first thing is to acknowledge that the holidays are neutral. They come around every year. This is a fact.
The next thing to do is to realize that how we feel inside is not because of what is happening outside of ourselves, but rather our experience is from what our own inner thoughts are about the holidays.
If we think dreadful thoughts about the holidays, then we will feel dreadful inside about Christmas and New Year’s or any other holiday that is celebrated (our birthdays included).
When we have low, protective, limited thinking in our minds, then that is how we feel inside. That is how we view the external world. We close ourselves off emotionally and we don’t want to engage with the festivities because we don’t want to feel our feelings of “being left out.”
We scroll social media, looking at all the “happy” posts of our friends and family members appearing to have a good time. Those snapshots of people posing with big smiles may not show the reality of how others are really feeling.
Smiles can be faked. Smiles might be masking insecurities or hidden pain.
What if, instead of endlessly scrolling others’ feeds, making yourself feel even more lonely and left out, you chose to look for ways to do something for yourself and others who may too be feeling left out and alone this holiday season?
● Volunteer to help feed the homeless at a local shelter.
● Look at meetup.com for local groups of people who have similar interests.
● Check out local support groups, including 12-step groups, to see if someone is hosting a holiday party or get-together. One year, a local member of a 12-step group I attended hosted a Thanksgiving get-together. It was very well attended, and we all had a blast getting to know each other better.
● Go for a walk or a drive to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go to.
● Read a book or listen to music or podcasts you’ve wanted to catch up on.
The holidays don’t have to be a dreadful time that we just survive and get through. They can be reframed into something you create for yourself that you will enjoy and look forward to.
Adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-adopted people. This can be a scary and dangerous mindset. Should you need help, please reach out for help through a qualified therapist or the 988 Lifeline.
Thank you for reading.
Have a Wonderful Day!
Daryn Watson is a Canadian-born domestic adoptee, currently living in North Carolina. He has been in a reunion since 1995. Daryn is a Certified Life Coach helping adoptees, first parents and adoptive parents navigate the complexities of adoption reunion journeys.
You can reach out to Daryn on his website at www.adoptionreunioncoaching.com or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find Daryn on Facebook and Instagram under “The Adoptee Mind.”
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