With the holidays approaching some of us have feelings or conflicts that are triggered by the season. This time of the year we remember the past losses, conflicts, and pain that maybe we haven't fully resolved. We tend to reexperience the emotions all over again and it takes away from the joy of the season. Maybe it's time for us to confront the pain and fully grieve the loss. In some cases we haven't been able to say goodbye or let the person go either from a death, divorce or break-up. Sometimes hanging unto our pain gives us comfort because we feel protected and secure knowing that we won't allow others to get too close. The pain becomes our protective armor and keeps us detached and disconnected from others. But it also prevents us from experiencing the love, comfort, and support that others want to provide. Our isolation can intensify our depression and hurt. Maybe we have anger or guilt from past events and experiences that we can't let go instead harbouring resentment or shame. What do we do with our pain?
This holiday season give the gift of forgiveness either to someone else or for yourself. You can choose to forgive which free you of your pain and help the healing to progress. I've always been a huge proponent of letter writing, because it is a powerful and effective way to confront and release the pain. The intention of the letter is to share your negative feelings without attacking, but honestly express the pain and if you are ready than include forgiveness in the letter. Maybe the letter identifies events and experiences that hurt you in the past or specific behaviors by a loved one that you haven't been able to release. Or maybe you have to say goodbye to someone in your letter and let them go. Either way the intention is to write it, read it, and release it. You don't have to share it with the person who caused you the pain if you choose not to give it to them.
The holidays can be a painful time, but they can also be a joyful time. If you have past pain or unfinished business that you need to address than do it so you can move forward. Forgiveness is a choice, but one that can benefit the person doing the forgiving even more than the receiver. Be reminded of this time of year as an opportunity to be with family and friends, share stories, laugh, and enjoy some good food. It's also a time to embrace our faith and celebrate the good news of Christ's birth. Sometimes when things feel overwhelming and stressful, we have to make a list of the good things in our life and read it daily. Or maybe do something nice for ourselves which might be quiet time, exercise, a movie, a massage, or a simple walk on the beach. Decide to let go of the hurt and pain from the past so you can enjoy the happiness of today. Not always easy to do, but taking action beats doing nothing.