In the era of social media, it often appears that everyone is glowing on holiday vacations, magical adventures, and cheerful traditions that sparkle with joy. But all we see is that fraction of a second in which that picture was taken — you have no idea what it was like before or after that moment passed. And no matter how much sadness you are experiencing this holiday season, there is a nanosecond of sparkle if you pose for it too.
Do not be fooled. If you are sad or struggling, you're not alone. Seasonal affective depression (depression that screams as the sunlight of the day grows shorter) is in full swing. The pain of grief and loss is most intense as we feel the absence of loved ones who should be here for family celebrations around the holidays and aren't. Life transitions from having a baby to divorce complicate holiday rituals in ways that may feel arduous and exhausting. We stretch our paychecks further in the "spirit of of the holiday season" making financial stressors more potent and fearsome.
It is okay to feel the pain of the season. It is okay to be sad when others appear happy. It is okay to feel stress and anxiety. It is okay to have feelings that are less than blessed and grateful. You are okay just as you are. You are enough.
Allow yourself to feel those feelings rather than stuff them away and pretend they don’t exist. And yet, in the spirit of the holiday season, my wish for you is this:
See the sparkle too.
Even if it is just that one nanosecond. Look for it. Look for the sparkle. Because it's that moment of sparkle, that piece of gratitude, that offers balance for the more difficult moments of the season. It's that sparkle, whether it be brief and fleeting or long and enduring, that gives hope. There can be pain and sparkle. You can hold them both and feel them both without betraying either one.
Find the sparkle. Hold on to it as long as you can. And think of how that sparkle will shine in the year to come.