I am not one of those counselors who believes that if you just “THINK POSITIVE!!! 🙂 everything will be better.

When things feel dark, I know they can feel REALLY DARK. I really don’t see any use pretending. Whether it is due to a bad miscommunication with your husband, feeling worried about what your girlfriend is really thinking of you, or feeling so down that you can’t reach out to ANYBODY, it is JUST PLAIN HARD!

But, why don’t you……. JUST BE HAPPY!!!! 🙂 Right???

No. Not right.

If I were to say this when you’re feeling sad or anxious, I think you would say something (I’m sure politely) along the lines of, “Brigg, why don’t you go $%#!!& yourself!”

At least, that’s what you should say….

During this time of year, when the days are literally at their darkest, the snow is falling, and the cold is setting in, I find myself thinking about how we can better cope with our own inner darkness – those hardest problems in our relationships, those parts of ourselves we wish were different, the loss we all have faced in our lives. The holidays are “supposed” to be a time of cheer and celebration, and for many of us they are. But they can also serve as a reminder of loneliness, loss, and hurt. For a lot of us, we try to balance celebration and loss at the same time.

This is why, no matter what your beliefs, the holiday traditions of lights in the darkness are such a perfect reminder to help us work through some of our own difficulties that naturally come up this time of year. We all have experienced loss and sadness in our lives, and if those losses are significant, it is normal to feel them more strongly around significant family holidays like Christmas or Hanukkah. It is important to feel and acknowledge that loss. However, it is also important to have hope – to move forward. And with that, I want to encourage you to look to the light. Acknowledge the darkness, but also acknowledge the light – use every twinkling light and flickering candle as a reminder to you of the strength you hold and as an opportunity to look for hope.

I’m even going to suggest that you intentionally “create your own light” where you with purpose or ceremonially acknowledge both the hard and good parts of your life right now. This can be as simple as writing a journal entry or thoughtfully lighting a candle, or something more complex like going to a special place or taking time out for several hours to focus on you and your important thoughts.

The Salt Lake Relationship Center wishes you the healthiest and happiest of holidays!!!! (it feels weird to say “Happy Holidays!” at the end of this post, but I do still genuinely wish it upon you!)

We are here to support you in any way we can. Please contact us if you need anything or have any questions.