Unpleasant memories can and do haunt souls the same as ghosts haunting houses. They keep the person in an almost constant state of fear, stress, gloom, sadness, disappointment and dread. They distort reality in the here and now, these troublesome memories of past chaos, drama, and less than perfect events. To show true compassion and holiday love, be extra kind to people who are grumpy, withdrawn, and sad. If they seem to need a willing ear; lend it. If they reach for a shoulder to cry on; give it. If they want to act as though it’s just another day in another year of life; go along with it as best you can. Do not allow them to steal your joy, yet at the same time, these people need understanding and honest caring during the holidays.
For many people, the holidays are stressful and even depressing. They are haunted by memories of drama, trauma, chaos, disappointment and even resentment and fear from their past holidays. It’s easy for those of us who have good memories to analyze the situations for them, coaching them through our litany of ‘it’s all in the past’, ‘it’s behind you’, ‘time has distorted the emotions attached to the memory’, ‘most of a painful memory is really your perception of the event’, blah, blah, blah, and to a degree we’d be correct in our observation. However, it doesn’t make the ones who are suffering through the holidays feel any better.
For those of us who have not suffered these horrific holidays, we are doing them no favor by inflicting our exuberance upon them uninvited. In other words, we need to tone it down. Seek out people who are as excited as you are about the holidays and share your enthusiasm for tinsel, carols, sugar cookies, angels and Santa. If you live with someone who is less passionate either go to a friend’s house to watch Rudolph, or at least go in the other room. Keep the carols turned down, and try not to suddenly begin stringing lights and tinsel around their favorite chair. The holidays come unbidden and unplanned; and they affect everyone be it a happy or sad event. True spirituality is to not jut accept our own feelings but the feelings of others and love them based on their perception of the days.
If you or someone you know would like to talk about holiday emotions and haunting memories, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org