A lot of people pretend during the Holidays. They pretend:
that they don’t care if they have to sit home alone
that the Holidays really aren’t that important to them.
that it’s ok if family ignores them
that it’s ok if they ignore family
that they really just don’t care.
Of course, these same people pretend at other times as well but this kind of denial is heightened during the Holidays. All those pictures of happy families, happy people on Facebook and in the media only make our pain worse. We have to pretend or people will see our pain and that’s harder for us to deal with than admit it really bothers us.
People who struggle with depression are particularly likely to try to fool themselves. They figure if they ignore the pain, it will just go away. It actually does work for a while. Now that I think about it, it can work for a long time-at least on the surface.
I’ve known some people who’ve ignored the obvious their entire life. I suppose we all do to a degree. It’s a coping mechanism. But when we ignore the important issues, it absolutely will impact us negatively whether we ever admit it or not. It will affect our mental and emotional health.
It will impact our relationship with God. That’s not coming from me. It’s what God says throughout Scripture.
The most obvious example is the person who is fired from one job after another and it’s always “that rotten company” not his own poor work ethic as evidenced by his absentee and late-start record. Until he quits pretending, his life will continue in a downward spiral.
Or the person who has unhealthy relationships with most people but doesn’t see the part they play. When they realize they are the “constant” in all their relationships, their relationships will improve. But first they have to quit pretending it’s the “other guy.”
Or the person that claims not to have a drinking problem and yet there are way too many references to drinking sprinkled throughout their conversations.
I’ve done my own share of pretending, too.
I struggled with depression for years. But I finally worked my way out of it. It was a lot of work. If you search the word “depression” you will find many posts addressing this subject. One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome was getting real with myself and quit pretending.
I could always justify why I was hurt, mad, frustrated, etc. It was never my fault. It was my childhood. It was my health. It was my depression. When I admitted my own insecurities and that I “owned” some of the problem, I started to feel better.
I think one of the gifts of the Christmas season is “possibility”. The possibility of change.
But change always begins through honesty with ourselves. (Notice I didn’t say others. Getting real with ourselves is never an excuse to spew our new-found awareness onto family and friends as a cathartic way to make ourselves feel better. )
Christmas is tough for many. But pretending we don’t care about anyone or anything when the truth is we care very deeply, doesn’t make it any easier. It only makes it avoidable.
May this Christmas season find you hopeful that things can change as you look deep within yourself for some of the answers.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.