Dealing with a breakup, separation, or divorce is challenging, but it can seem even harder to deal during the holiday season. We grow up believing the fairy tale of the holidays being all about love and family.
Being alone this time of year just serves to remind us that we aren't living a fairy tale.
Everywhere you look, you see loving couples exchanging gifts in those commercials for jewelry stores. You go to grab dinner and see happy families sharing meals together in restaurants. Then, there are all of those friends, families and frenemies in your Facebook feed, with their cute little kids and happy "selfies". It's enough stress to make even the most well-adjusted single person feel a little lonely.
Many of my clients have dealt with heartbreak and divorce and tell me that the holiday season makes them feel like they're they only one not in love.
The most tempting thing to do is to reach out to an ex or maybe the one that got away. Even if the relationship was unhappy, we tend to forget the bad times and see them through rose colored glasses when we're alone.
Technology can make it super easy to reconnect, so what can you do to help yourself when you're feeling vulnerable, instead of taking a few steps backward in your healing process?
- Don't Cyber Stalk Your High School Sweetheart. It's tempting to just peek in at the life of your high school sweetheart on Facebook or stalk her Instagram feed. Life has changed since you were a teenager. The last thing you want to do is hook-up when you're home for the holidays. Nostalgia probably won't feel so good when you're staring it in the face.
- Don't Text Your Ex. What can seem like a harmless hello actually gives our ex the power and diminishes your ability to move on. Wouldn't you rather put your precious energy toward healing?
- Don't Drink & Dial. Going out with the girls (or guys) for drinks after work to celebrate the holiday? Turn off your phone or give it to your friend to keep for you. Better yet, leave your phone at home and focus on moving forward with your life and having fun with your friends.
- Make it Harder to Reach Out & Touch Someone. Go through your phone and delete the numbers (and emails) of your ex. Who remembers phone numbers anymore?
- Don't Say His Name. Afraid an ex will reach out to you and you might be tempted? Instead of deleting their number from your phone, change the name associated with their number to No Answer", "No Way", or "Do Not Call" so you won't respond.
- Employ the Buddy System. Partner with a friend when you're tempted to reach out to your ex. Agree up front that you'll text each other instead of a past lover on those low moments.
- Do Not Fear. A University of Toronto study found that many people are staying in bad relationships or settling for less than they really desire because they're afraid of being alone. Always choose the love of yourself over fear. Because, it's better to be alone and a little lonely than miserable and in a unfulfilling relationship.
- Create Space in Your Heart. Focusing on a past partner keeps you from being open to a new relationship. Make space in your heart for a new love. Put your time and attention towards what you want in life and what makes you happy.
- Acceptance Fosters Healing. Though you may not want to be alone this holiday season, accepting that it's simply where you are at this time will allow your heart to heal faster.
You deserve to create a life that nourishes you. You deserve to live a conscious and fulfilling life instead of just going through the motions.
You don't have to settle for less than what you deserve. You don't have to live in the past or go back to an ex because it's easy. Easy doesn't mean happy. Have faith in yourself and trust that you'll find love. Though it's hard to remember when you're feeling lonely, you'll find love when you look forward towards what life offers instead of what was in the past.
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