For some, being single for the holidays is akin to some sort of personal torture. But with a little fearlessness… it most certainly doesn’t have to.
By Kristen Hick, Psy.D.
The Holiday season. I can probably imagine what comes to mind…joyous times with family, stress-free travel plans, and generous gifts from your special someone. Basically, picture-perfect and full of happiness.
Not quite consistent with your holiday memories? I bet not.
More power to you if that is what comes to mind when thinking about the holidays, but for most, it sounds a bit less idealistic.
The truth for many is the holidays can be stressful, over-taxing on the heart and the wallet, and a great yearly reminder of why you’ve chosen to live a plane-ride, or at the very least, a long drive away from your family.
And to top it off, singledom adds a whole other layer to the holiday fun factor—or can it?
Whether you are recently singled, be it through an untimely break-up or heart-wrenching divorce, or being single is your happy zone, being single can require its own kind of holiday survival kit.
But wait a minute. The holidays shouldn’t be about just surviving times with family, travel and your single status. Rather, the holidays can be about finding a way to thrive through fearlessly approaching them differently.
Fearlessness – A Step Beyond
First and foremost, for those of you who are joining us now, we’ve been taking quite an exciting year-long journey exploring what fearlessness is and how it can transform your life.
So what is fearlessness?
Fearlessness involves facing the fears that hold you, your relationships, your work, and your play back from stepping outside your comfort zone. It’s about acknowledging the fears and then taking a step toward them, rather than shying away. Through doing so, your fears become less, and no longer obstacles to your growth and happiness.
Holidays – Prime Practice for Fearlessness
I can’t think of a better time to practice fearlessness than the holidays. Cue memories of holiday stress, disappointment, and quest for idealistic perfection. Yep, this is the ideal time to return to fearlessness and explore how it might transform your holiday experiences.
Essential to approaching the holidays with fearlessness is understanding that it will require you stepping outside of your comfort zone and into new, uncharted territory. And, anytime you step outside of your comfort zone, you are likely to face some discomfort, uneasiness, and likely, good ol’ fear. But don’t worry too much, because what lies on the other side of fear is growth, transformation, and new experiences.
Holiday Thrive Kit – Bring in the New
While there is a pull to spend all of your holiday time with the family and friends that you traditionally have, perhaps spending some of the holiday moments with new people could help expand your network and experiences.
- Is there a neighbor down the fall you would like to connect with?
- Is there a friend who also wants to avoid the holiday madness of traveling and who would be thrilled to prepare a holiday meal with you?
- Have you been invited to a holiday gathering where you don’t know many people, but could hold opportunity for new friendships, and maybe more?
Who said dating has to stop with the holidays approaching. There can be time for family, friends and dating too, right? If there is someone who catches your eye, why not strike while the iron is hot and go on a festive holiday date. While some people have a busy holiday schedule, others prefer not to, and may have ample time to explore a new romance with you.
New Family Interactions
If you are going to brave the snowy roads or airport congestion, how about practicing some new ways of relating to your family. If you’re thinking, “What do you mean, my family always does X when I am home, and there’s no changing that.” The thing is, there is a way to change it.
The way they interact with you is partially influenced by how you interact with them. If you want to relate differently, start relating differently. Perhaps this means practicing grace for yourself and brother’s antagonizing ways. Maybe it involves setting some new,healthy boundaries for yourself and your family. And, it most definitely means taking a deep, peaceful breath and reminding yourself that your family cares about your happiness before answering the relentless question of, “When are you going to settle down and get married?” Because what would a family gathering be without that question, right?
What would the holidays be without the cultural, family, and personal rituals that make it feel like the holidays? Well, actually they could be a whole lot better without some of them—take Black Friday and Thanksgiving shopping, for example.
What about the traditions that don’t hold good memories for you anymore? Perhaps it’s the tradition that started in your former relationship or marriage. Or maybe it’s the tradition that you have to be with family if they don’t bring more joy to your life.
Starting this year, how about you decide what activities, practices, and rituals you want to practice this holiday season – and with whom you want to practice them with. That might include volunteering to help those less fortunate, cooking a smaller meal to avoid waste, cooking for the homeless individual on your block, deciding not to attend religious services that aren’t within your belief system to appease family, or having a gathering with your chosen family.
The thing about fearlessness is that it allows you to grow in unexpected and delightful ways. Practicing some fearlessness at this time of year—and all year long—allows you to not just survive, but to thrive. I imagine that if we all took a closer, fearless look about how we celebrate and with whom, we would do so in more meaningful and intentional ways.
About the author
Kristen Hick, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the area of awakened dating and healthy relationships. She is the founder of Center for Shared Insight, a private psychotherapy practice in Denver where she and her clients focus on Individual Relationship Therapy. Dr. Hick’s expertise lies in helping individuals create healthy, meaningful, and loving relationships with others through healing, strengthening and transforming their most essential relationship, with themselves. When not helping clients fulfill their personal relationship goals, she enjoys the Colorado outdoors, capturing life through photography, practicing yoga and hopes to one day manage her first unassisted headstand. You can connect with Dr. Hick on her site,Facebook or Google+
Photo credit: Getty Images