The winter holiday season can be hard for some people. For a lot of people.
Many people during this time of year are reminded of what they don’t have, whether they used to have it or not. Many people feel a lack. Feel lonely.
Even in the midst of joy, it can be tinged with memories that turn some moments bittersweet.
The human experience sure is vast and rich and challenging. There are good days and bad days in store for all of us, but how beautiful it is to rise up to meet the challenges as honestly as you can.
By this I mean: to not run and hide from the pain, and pretend that it isn’t lurking behind you when your neighbours and coworkers are looking, but to say, “I feel pain right now, and I am going to let myself feel that pain!” Not to wallow, but to experience the depths of being a human. To let it move through you so that you can know it and can heal it. So that you can hear what it has to tell you, in order to learn from it, and then come out on the other side.
We are here to feel, and we are here to support each other in community. Even if sometimes these things are forgotten.
There are so many others hurting, and by being brave enough to be open about your own hurt, suddenly you and many others can find that none of us are alone. There is such strength in vulnerability. We’re all in the same boat, ultimately, and the more of us who acknowledge it, the better we can paddle together.
I am fortunate to be at a point in my life right now when this time of year is joyful. I don’t say that to further hurt anyone who is already hurting, but to say that I recognize that I am in a good place, and that I am grateful for it; and also that I understand how easily things can change, and that it is possible for me to find myself unexpectedly in painful and challenging situations. I don’t expect that sort of dramatic change, but a little perspective can go a long way.
I think that this ability for things to change (for better or for worse!) is important to keep in mind, both so that we fully live and appreciate the good things in our lives, and also so that we remember to be gentle with others. We never fully know what is going on in someone else’s life, and how they got there, or where they came from.
Please be gentle with your precious heart. You have such capacity for joy, and pain is not forever. It at least shifts, even if it travels with you for some time. It can transmute. It can soften and fade and transform.
I think you’re wonderful. And I know that you are worthy of love. Be the one who gives it to yourself when you need it. We’re all tender under all the armour and thickened skin, and we can all be a little kinder to both ourselves and to each other.
Whoever you are, I wish you warmth, courage, and comfort, especially if you are navigating this season in a new, more difficult way. You are never, ever alone.
If you need or would like some extra support, please know that these offerings exist:
- Toronto Distress Centres (416) 408-4357 or 408-HELP (24 hours/day)
- Toronto Seniors Helpline 416-217-2077 (9am – 8pm Mon – Friday; 10am – 6pm on weekends and holidays)
- Assaulted Women’s Helpline 416-863-0511, Toll-free: 1-866-863-0511 (24 hours/day)
- Mental Health Helpline 1-866-531-2600 (24 hours/day)
- Kids Help Phone 1 800 668-6868 (24 hours/day)
- LGBTTQQ2SI Youth Helpline 1-800-268-9688
- Distress Centre Peel 905-278-7208 (24 hours/day)
- Durham Crisis Line 905-666-0483 (24 hours/day)
- Oakville Distress Centre – 905-849-4541 (24 hours/day)
Crisis addiction services
- Toronto Withdrawal Management System 1-866-366-9513 (24 hours/day)
- Find a food bank near you: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/utility-pages/find-a-food-bank.aspx
Please be gentle with yourself. You are loved, and you are so valuable.