I was debriefing a client last night, Susan, about a sudden spike in anxiety and a seemingly bottomless well of loneliness. We recognised that Christmas is a source of great stress. For her, being alone is the hardest part about Christmas day. She wishes she could wake up and it was Boxing Day already. That Christmas had come and gone. For Susan, who has desperately wanted a partner for the past 10 Christmases, it is more than a sting. It’s debilitatingly sad. It’s exhausting answering well-meaning questions about how a great gal like her hasn’t met her forever partner. She is 32 after all. The thing is about Susan, is that she IS a great catch, and she is actively seeking a partner. She is also way more than her Facebook status says. Of course she is.
Now Susan knows this. She is very conscious of her life, as you would be, and for the most part she is happy. Lonely sometimes, yes, but content for where her life is right now. Christmas though, Christmas is a great blinking reminder of parties which you attend without a +1, of presents that you don’t buy for a significant other, of waking up alone on Christmas Day. To an empty house.
You and I both know that being single is cool. It’s totally cool. The benefits and flipsides of being single are many and varied. It’s a wonderful stage of life. But what happens when you have finished with a stage, and yet that stage has not finished with you? You have NO control over when you will meet the love of your life, and you are certainly NOT settling. You must take action of course, and you must find your peace.
Here are my tips for celebrating Christmas Day partner-less when you really wish you weren’t:
1. Ask yourself what it is you would really like for Christmas. Journal the answer, or lay still and let it bubble up. Perhaps it’s something tangible you can put under your tree. If it is, do something about it. Buy the gift, wrap it beautifully and look forward to opening it. If it's not, let it out. Let all of the feelings live in your house.
2. Take action: Commit to 3 actions that would start /continue the motion of meeting your not-yet-met partner. One idea could be to set up a singles bbq where all your singles friends bring a single friend of the opposite sex. Others could be re-launching your Internet dating profile. Who knows your not-yet-met partner could be reading this and doing it too!
3. Be very, very kind to yourself: It is a hard day. It is a sucky day. It is also often a wonderful day full of joy and merriment. Find your people and spend some time with them on Christmas day. Skype if you have too. Fill your buckets up with the people who love you best. Love them hard.
4. Do something for others less fortunate: Giving is one of the greatest ways to feel better. There are many, like you, doing it tough. Notice each other and do what you can for each other.
I wish you very happy holidays. May you find some peace tonight.
Thanks for joining me in this little community. I am so glad to be here with you.