“And if you cant be with the one you love,
Love the one you’re with.”
~Crosby Stills and Nash
Yes, you’re estranged from family members. Yes, it can be especially difficult to manage separation during the festive season. Yes, you may find yourself preoccupied with thoughts and feelings about the people you are estranged from. What’s an estranged person to do?
Love the one you’re with.
Seek out the people who gladden your heart and make you smile. Love who is available, with all your heart. Share your holiday, joyfully, with your immediate family and friends. Widen the circle by inviting someone you feel may be alone or lonely over the holidays to join you. If you receive an invite, consider it!
If you find yourself alone on the holidays, love yourself the way you’d like to be loved. Give yourself a gift. Plan a lovely meal. Light a candle, play some carols, watch a comedy. Then, when you have done a little or a lot of self loving, get out of the house and go volunteer to spread some joy. Help out in a shelter, or a soup kitchen. Walk some puppies at your local animal shelter. Visit the elderly in the nursing homes or hospitals. Get out of your story, visit someone else’s.
Family estrangement does not shrink your heart. If anything, it touches it with deeper awareness about the essential, universal, human need for connection and belonging. Other people may have hearts the size of the Grinch’s – but not yours, no siree!
Get out there and LOVE.