The holidays can be a stressful time, and feeling like you have to plaster on a false smile and emit that “this is the happiest time of year!” glow can be overwhelming for many people.
So may I suggest we let ourselves – and others — off the hook?
If you know of someone who is struggling, extend an offer to get together. Sometimes a quiet conversation over coffee or a meal can be just what is needed. Let the person know you are there, you are a friend, and you are offering support; you may be surprised at what you receive in return.
If your invitation is declined, or the person says he would prefer to spend some time alone, accept the answer and know that it’s not personal. It is a time for personal reflection, and we all do this in different ways, for different reasons.
Refrain from attempting to make a person feel guilty because they are not participating in the “fun” of the season. The words “but I don’t want you to be by yourself”, while kindly meant, may be interpreted as pity. The spirit of the holidays is about giving, and one of the best gifts you may give is personal space.
Whether it is participating in familiar traditions or trying something new, do what makes you feel comfortable this holiday season.