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  • Fe Robinson

The Challenges of Christmas

Christmas is a much-hyped cultural festival, apparently full of fun and laughter. And yes, it can be. It is also true that for many, many people, this is a difficult time of year. You may have relatives or loved ones who have died since last Christmas, or this may be a time of year that you have been bereaved in previously. You may be apart from those you love and be missing their presence. It may be that you are not able to celebrate Christmas in the way that you want to, and that that is very difficult for you. Those without family or friends may find this a very isolating time of year. There are so many reasons it may be hard.

These difficulties can be compounded by the social pressure to be enjoying the festivities, leaving feelings of inadequacy, shame or guilt that your feelings don’t match what is apparently expected.

It seems to me to be very important to acknowledge the diversity of experiences people have at this time of year, and to be real about the many difficulties people face. Feelings are not right or wrong, they are simply messages about our experience that give us information to be with and explore, and it’s important not to judge either our own experiencing or that of others.

Ask yourself, what is the shadow of Christmas for you? From the pressure people place themselves under to make everything perfect to the difficulty of acknowledging how far from perfect things feel, we all have different challenges. Being honest with yourself is important, as is being authentic with those around you.

Making space to listen and come alongside those who are struggling is an important aspect of living in community. Respecting others and not exacerbating their suffering is important, as is doing what we can to make life easier for those we come into contact with. What opportunities might you have to make a difference this year? What will you do?

If you would like to talk about the challenges of family, relationships and well-being, get in touch to see if psychotherapy may be a help for you.


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