My parents died last year and my two siblings are more than 10 years older. We’re not close. This is my first Thanksgiving alone. I’m so sad. My brother and sister haven’t invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them and neither have my friends. I’m afraid they don’t want me around because I’m depressed. I don’t know what to do.
I’m sorry for your loss, sweetheart. Please know that grief can overwhelm us according to a rhythm that may seem inexplicable, but grief also ebbs like the tide. Until it does, be kind to yourself. Yes, it’s true that not everyone can tolerate the sadness of others. Please don’t use their limitations as evidence you are being rejected. Try to understand that your friends like you and care for you. It’s possible they lack the spiritual muscle necessary to extend themselves for your benefit (agape love). Don’t take it personally. Trust that you are amazing, beautiful and essential to the planet. Your presence in their life might be their invitation to grow. Their presence in your life is your invitation.
Every human interaction is a risk and within that risk is the possibility that we will not be understood, appreciated or respected. The flip side, of course, is that we might be embraced as we are and encouraged toward becoming our best self. Is the risk of rejection worth taking? Yes! Is it scary? Yes, when we perceive it to be scary. We can also think of the risk to open our hearts as exhilarating or as necessary to the process of evolving into the person we most want to be. So don’t be afraid to ask friends or your siblings to include you. If they don’t respond or if they don’t extend an invite, be grateful for your courage. We don’t always get what we ask for, but it’s still worth asking for what we want. In the process, we strengthen our resilience.
So how will you spend your holidays? You can learn to cook a holiday dinner for yourself and invite others to join you. You can volunteer for a program that serves Thanksgiving meals to people who might not otherwise enjoy a feast. Or you can take yourself on a date to the movies or hiking. There is so much in this world to delight in. When you taste the possibilities, you’ll wonder why you locked yourself into the box of celebrating a holiday the way most others do.
A Donald Trump presidency leaves me unsettled and anxious. I’m not sleeping well, I can’t concentrate at work and I spend hours reading Facebook posts and tweets. I’m afraid World War III will happen. I know I should shut off social media and the news, but can’t. How can I survive this?
Fear, loathing, desperation—you’re in survival mode. Let’s turn your thrive button on. Instead of aligning with fear while reading news and social media, read to separate reality from fantasy. Like this: Scared that WWIII is coming? What do you gain from union with that belief? You get to create hell on earth and keep the spotlight on your drama all the while. Such power! Disengage from the fear that WWIII is imminent and you return to earth emotionally available for a healthy relationship with both fear and facts.