Christmas season isn’t always happy.

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Not everyone has a happy holiday.  Should you not be in a celebratory mood or have no one to celebrate with, it can be a sad time.

Depression can pervade the holidays. Looking back can bring pain from remembering all the things Viktor Franklthat went wrong. Looking at the “now” is painful because you compare it with where you wanted to be and count yourself a failure. You compare it with all the advertising telling you what you ought to be feeling. You compare it will Instagram and Facebook posts of exaggerated joyfulness. It need not be so depressing. Change your perspective and change your feelings.

Doing good for others is a source of happiness not everyone takes advantage of. Seek out the people who are even more disadvantaged than you and help them. You will be doing good and see a more complete spectrum of humanity. Nothing bolsters the sense of self-worth more than helping others. So few people put any real effort into it that doing so makes you an exceptional human being.

I have some ideas for finding happiness in an unhappy situation.  It turns out that Mick Jagger really is right:

You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

Angry people do something similar. The anger for all the wrongs of the past pervades the present. Buddha angerThey cannot let their anger go because anger becomes their purpose and meaning. It becomes more important to their being than the happiness of moving on with a clean slate. Since nothing can be treated as “water under the bridge” it gets dammed up until something reminds them and it all spills out.

Between depression and anger, I have seen no end of weeping and screaming in the purportedly joyous holiday season. Dysfunctional family gatherings where the same decades-old dramas are played out anew, every year. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and cabin fever add to the problem. Depending on how bad they are, I suggest avoiding those get togethers in favor of distributing Toys for Tots or feeding the homeless in a soup kitchen. You will be happier.

I have heard it said that one cannot begin the next chapter of one’s life if one persists in reliving the prior ones. It is a lesson to be learned and not all learn it. You are what you are. It was what it was. Not all the power on earth can change the past – or even the present – and no amount of rage or tears matters a whit. It is ALL water under the bridge.

Accept it all, write it off as unrecoverable losses and start again. Embrace Radical acceptance. Chew it up and spit it out. This is your new baseline and nothing that happened previously matters. The past is of no more import than rocks on the road. Remember them only as lessons for what to avoid in the future. Do not carry those rocks with you. They will only weigh you down.

Walk away from those who would add to your load. You don’t need them.

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