Regardless of what Christmas represents biblically, the best part about it is the caring and sharing. This time of year, is about connection.
We humans are social, tribal, and cultural. Whilst there’s an extremely small percentage of us who do enjoy solace, it’s not a generalisation to state that many of us crave company. And of course, at Christmas, that craving has a spotlight shining upon it.
Feeling Disconnected Does Not Discriminate.
Our social standing, our position in life, our rank, our title, our pay grade or bonus, these things change nothing. Like so many of life’s cliché’s, the one about feeling alone in a room full of people exists outside of its use as a metaphor.
But it doesn’t have to.
Having lived around three decades worth of Christmas disconnects, I’ve learned a thing or two on avoiding them. One in particular. There’s an uncomfortable truth associated to the emotions brought about from feeling disconnected. And that truth is choice.
The reason that truth can be uncomfortable, is because it holds us personally accountable. I freely admit it’s confronting to say to ourselves we’re responsible for choosing to feel alone and miserable at Christmas. But one year, I did just that. From that year onward, I began to say that choice is about recognising within us, the ability to avoid a negative experience, and seek out or create a positive one.
Plugging Ourselves Back In.
And as I will always do, I’d like to hold myself up as the poster-boy for what to avoid. I’d like to share with you my experiences, and those given to me by many others. Here’s what we learned by choosing to make Christmas an inclusive experience, as opposed to feeling disconnected and alone.
Invitations. At this time of year very few come our way. It’s important we’re honest with ourselves and acknowledge we might be sitting there waiting for just the right one. If that’s true for you, challenge that thinking and accept one, without the ho-hum or sense of compromise. Or, create your own gathering and be the one who invites others.
Focus. There is no denying that many a negative life event has occurred close to, or at, Christmas time. The memories of which become amplified when compared against the sense of sharing and caring this time of year brings. To focus on what is absent is a trap. Our mindset will work overtime, and not in the ways we’ll enjoy. Be present, be in the moment, be with others. Focus on what you have.
Gratitude. To acknowledge what we’re thankful for, shifts our focus faster than any amount of positive thinking ever will. All of us need to remind ourselves that, feeling disconnected allows our perspective to form a negative point of view. Vocalise the opposite, what are you grateful for? What’s one thing around you that’s good? And don’t stop at one. Use gratitude as an evidence gathering tool. Build up a brief of all things positive for you right now.
Speak up. Probably the hardest one of all, is to say to someone you’re feeling disconnected and would like to enjoy the company of others. Ironically, no-one will ever know that such a situation exists for you, unless you say so. Equally ironic, is by speaking up, it’s likely you’ll alter your situation for the better. And deep down you probably know that.
Once we embrace that uncomfortable truth of choice, and take personal responsibility, we can start to change things for the better. And with that change, doors open. One’s that welcome us and invite us in, all because we chose to knock on them.
So if it’s just another year for you, where feeling disconnected seems to have reared its head again, maybe choose to make this year, to be the year those feelings stop. It won’t be easy, and it might feel weird and emotional. Speaking from experience, I want to encourage you to push through that, all of it.
Do something small, or go ahead and do it all. This time of year, is all about caring and sharing. Choose to focus on, and connect with that.