Rejection and the Holiday Blues. Available in LED; Guaranteed to last a lifetime. If we let them.

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This time of year can be fantastic; bustling and exciting, a chance for people to gather, be grateful and connect. This time of year can also be sad, depressing, and full of disappointment. A month packed with holiday parties, gift exchanges, friend gatherings, and expectations that are often unfulfilled. For example, are you wondering if this is the year family will reconcile differences and come together and celebrate the joy of having one another in their lives? Or can the optimism of the holiday season remove resentment from hearts and allow forgiveness to flow where pain used to reside? I’m frequently told many people hold hope for these types of holiday miracles. More than other times of the year, December unearths feelings of rejection.

Because of the culture we’re raised in, we tend to hold onto the hope that during the holidays something magical will happen and, with a wish on a star, the spirit of the season can heal all that ails. Often, though, what we long for doesn’t happen. At a time where everything around us shines with glitter, foil and lights, we somehow slip into the dark space of pain, fear, anger, and resentment.

Not long ago, this subject came up while speaking with a friend. She believes that rejection is one of the most difficult emotions for humans to process and move past. I agree with her estimation.

I’m not talking about when something so damaging happens between two people that remaining in each other’s company, interferes with the healing process. I’m referring to people we use to consider friends, family, partners, and lovers, who are gone from our lives with little or no explanation. This sort of rejection seems to cut the most and last the longest, making it the most difficult to overcome.

Has yuletide bliss nudged you to call a friend, acquaintance, brother, sister, or someone you’ve grown apart from, only to hear they are busy planning a series of celebrations you aren’t part of?

Have you ever been at a party, a restaurant, or on the street and noticed someone you know, someone you liked, a person you had a relationship with a one point walk by as if they don’t even notice you? Painful, right? Or at least it would seem so on the surface. But what I’ve learned during my earth minutes is that these opportunities mean the exact opposite. I’ve discovered that when people unexpectedly depart my life, it has nothing to do with me. More times than not, it’s a result of one of the following:

They’ve reinvented themselves, and I knew them before; seeing me reminds them of who they’ve worked hard to move past. So this change has nothing to do with me or more importantly, anything I have or haven’t done. The shift is their choice, their right, and if I think the way I say I believe true, then I must accept that even though I’m left behind, the person is evolving, and evolution is forward motion.

That’s not to say I don’t miss the person they used to be, or miss the connection we had, and the adventures we’d shared. But their journey is not about me, not about what makes me comfortable and, truth be told, if I was ready to change, I wouldn’t want to have to call family and friends and ask for their permission to follow my heart.

As far as the see and avoid encounter with someone who used to be near and dear, again, this is just another example of how a person in your life is going through something they don’t know how to handle. Odds are they’re in pain, and when your paths cross, the emotions that bubble up are unmanageable, and only way to maintain composure is to pretend you aren’t there. A behavior that used to make me very angry.

“How dare they?” I thought at the time. “How rude and disrespectful. Considering the fact that we used to be friends…” (family, lovers.) But after a little coaching, I’ve learned a more productive way to react. I now understand that the target of my frustration is struggling. I know that another’s behavior has nothing to do with me, so I can’t allow  negative energy to disrupt my balance. In these situations I always smile. Yes, that’s right, smile. No matter how uncomfortable I feel. (Laughing is even better, but not always appropriate.) This simple act stops my thoughts from spinning into fight mode and instead, keeps my energy balanced. Then, I can think rationally. See this person I know and care for clearly. Say in my head, that I’m sorry they’re in so much pain and ask the Universe to guide them to a better place. Without getting into ego by making the situation about me. If I’m the friend, sister, aunt, daughter, cousin, partner I claim to be, then extending compassion and understanding to another human is my only choice.

How powerful. Simple, and at the time of year when peace and joy are the ultimate goal, I can give myself the gift of unconditional happiness and unwavering balance.

The holiday blues are real, I think. But we have a choice. We can let go of expectations, release the desire to assign blame, and choose to remove pain, anger and resentment lingering in our hearts; opening space for the love, trust, joy, giddiness, hope, inclusiveness, we all desire. It’s within our reach. All we have to do is decide to stop, laugh and resolve to step up.

E.L. Chappel author of Spirit Dance/Storm Makers/Risk

Goodwill for every living thing on the planet.

aka The Glamorous Wife

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