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Holidays can be a stressful and difficult time for many.  You hear the Christmas songs on the radio and everybody seems to be so happy and can’t wait to go home for Christmas.  You may think, “What’s wrong with me that I’m not feeling that?” You may tell yourself that you should be happy, but the truth of the matter is you are experiencing something completely different-and feeling guilty about it.  You may be missing a family member that is no longer with you or dreading seeing a family member that you are not talking to. And the list goes on.

Have you ever felt lonely in the middle of a family gathering, a church service or a group of friends? I have.  As they played the AveMaria song in church on Sunday, I felt tears well up in my eyes and a feeling of loneliness engulfed me.  I missed my mother who died 42 years ago.  Even though there were people around me who I knew loved me, I felt lonely and sad.

Do you allow yourself to feel all of your feelings?  Many people stuff their feelings, judge them and shame themselves for having what they perceive as negative feelings. You may stay busy over your feelings or eat or drink. Feelings are not right or wrong. They just are. I am not saying to wallow in your feelings, but I am saying to acknowledge them and then let them go. Feelings are like clouds, they drift away when you allow yourself to feel them.

I have learned to welcome all my feelings and to invite them in to have a cup of tea.  I may journal my feelings or talk to a trusted friend about them.  Once I give myself permission to feel my feelings, I can release them, let them go- and move on!

It’s amazing what happens when I am honest with myself about what I’m feeling. I am not bad and wrong for feeling lonely and sad. And yes, I am grateful for what I have and the loved ones in my life. I am grateful for many things in my life. I wrote a gratitude list and reached out to someone that I knew was lonely. It worked wonders and my loneliness left as fast as it came.

Give yourself the gift of acknowledging and allowing yourself to feel all of your feelings this season. You will feel freer and more able to feel the love and joy of the season.

Wishing you love, peace and joy.

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

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