The holiday season can be full of fun, family and friends but it can also be a lonely time of year. If you aren’t feeling the holiday spirit right now there could be a number of reasons for this.
It could be that your loved ones are far away and you’re unable to spend time with them over the holidays. You might feel bad because you’ve never had a close family or a partner to celebrate with. Maybe you’re estranged from your family of origin. Maybe you’ve never met “the one.”
Because it’s such a people-oriented time of the year, if you find yourself alone this holiday season you’re probably going to feel your loneliness more acutely than at any other time of the year.
Fortunately, there are things you can do, right now, to make this and future holiday seasons brighter for you. First, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if there might be some things you’ve been doing that have resulted in your being so lonely.
Have you isolated yourself and made it harder for people to connect to you? Have you behaved in ways that might have pushed other people away? If you think that either of these might be true, even to some degree, you owe it to yourself to do some self-reflection moving forward, so that you can create more meaningful connections in the coming year.
Have you been hurt because of a painful break-up, separation or divorce? Did you lose one or more loved ones in the past year? Perhaps you’ve withdrawn into yourself out of grief or from the fear of getting close to someone again and once again, losing them.
You need to see that it’s time to take the chance to connect with people again. Even if you feel raw and vulnerable; even if you’re afraid of going through another painful loss, the benefits of having more love in your life will always outweigh the risks.
Sometimes, people become lonely because they’re filled with anger, bitterness or hate. You hold on to a grudge and the resentment seethes within you. You feel wronged or betrayed and you can’t let go of your righteous indignation. You stew and you stew, going over the hurts that other people caused you and without realizing it, you give out a vibe that makes the people around you uncomfortable.
Most people don’t want to be around someone who’s filled with negative emotions. It’s unpleasant and stressful, and others fear that you might turn these emotions against them. It’s a big social turn-off to be an angry, indignant person so if you’re feeling lonely these days you need to take some time to look at your anger and let it go. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to create new social connections.
Another thing that people consider a social no-no is complaining. If you’ve had a tendency to complain about your family, your romantic partner, your job or your health and lately you’ve been feeling lonely, it might be that people are avoiding you because they don’t enjoy the complaining. If you want to create close bonds with others, you need to see how off-putting this behavior is and stop it now.
If you’re feeling isolated because of your situation; for example, you work from home or you’re in a small office working with the same group of colleagues for years, or you’re the odd-man out due to your values, religion or lifestyle choices, you need to get out there in order to meet new, like-minded people.
A good way of meeting new people is to follow your passions and start an on-going activity where you see the same group of like-minded people over an extended period of time. It could be French lessons, ballroom dancing, painting, hiking, biking, volleyball or writing.
When you spend time with a group of people who share your passions and you see them week after week, the likelihood of making one or more new social connections is high.
Another way to connect with new people is to do volunteer work at the local food bank, soup kitchen, gardening co-op or community organization. These individuals already care deeply about others so once you’re among them, sharing their goals and ideals, it’ll be easy for you to connect.
Of course, being a kind, considerate person is a great way to attract people to you, but you need to know the difference between being genuinely kind and being a too-nice people-pleaser.
The genuinely kind person has good self-esteem so they’re caring toward others but never at their own expense. They’re thoughtful and considerate but they don’t over-extend themselves and they don’t tolerate disrespect.
The too-nice people-pleaser is insecure and doing too much for others in the hopes of gaining acceptance and approval. Whereas the kind person tends to be admired and respected, the too-nice person is usually taken advantage of and disrespected by others.
If you want to create new friendships, it’s important that you understand this distinction and work on building your self-esteem so that you can become kind, rather than overly nice.
Loneliness over the holiday season is extremely painful. Everyone needs close, supportive people in their lives and everyone deserves love and connection. If you find yourself lonely this holiday season, there are things you can do right now to improve your situation and make this holiday season and the years to come better than they’ve ever been.
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