Dear Readers, Thank you for subscribing to The Spark.
My name is Casey Hersch. I am a licensed clinical social worker and founder of LightYourSparkle.Life. As many of you know, I live with autoimmune
illnesses and have a history of childhood trauma, which are my inspirations for the Light Your Sparkle community.
The holiday season brings mixed emotions for many of us. While it seems the whole world is merry and bright, behind closed doors, the holidays can provoke grief, sadness, and loneliness. For many years, I felt sad during the holidays. I thought something was wrong with me since everyone else seemed so joyful. Meanwhile, my family was broken, I wasn't in a relationship, my friends had social gatherings to attend, and I financially struggled with gift buying. Today I realize that I am not alone. Holidays don't have to "fit" any perfect model. Holidays can "just be" whatever they are for you. It is OK.
This year, I am focusing on how I can be more generous to myself. Instead of thinking about all the ways I can make others happy, I am finding ways I can give to myself.
Memories: A Secret Gift To Yourself
During the holidays I am particularly nostalgic. I remember my childhood and the joy, wonder, and disappointments. I also grieve my losses: my pet companions, family members, and even the father I never had. The beauty of the holidays is that one of the precious gifts we can give ourselves is our memories, pleasant or unpleasant, that allow us to feel, experience, recall, dream, and heal.
This week I watched Kelly Clarkson's Christmas show. She acknowledged that many of us feel lonely and depressed, including herself, during the holidays. Her song reminded me that I can gift myself a trip down memory lane whenever I want. In this magical sacred place I can revisit the moments I miss and yearn for, and I can rewrite a new story tranforming the memories I don't want to replay.
Imagination: The Best Gift To Yourself
The Holidays bring whimsical and playful opportunities galore. The child lives inside all of us. Whether it is playing a boardgame, wearing matching Christmas Jammies, dancing, singing, making a family video, walking through a Christmas tree farm, or escaping into a Hallmark television fantasyland, when we play, we gift ourselves the chance to let go, imagine, dream, and manifest.
This year, I had fun imaginging I was working with one of Santa's Elfs. For a moment, I escaped to that place where anything is possible. When adults allow themselves to play, the world is a brighter and merrier place!
The Best Gifts Are Priceless
Comraderie and feeling like you are not alone are priceless gifts. For those of us with trauma histories and unconventional families, hearing how others cope with the holidays can ease the pain and normalize feelings. When I read the article below, I felt instantly validated and said outloud, "Ah, yeah, they get me!"
When I spend time with my cat companions, I gift myself laughter, relaxation, memories, love, and that powerful bonding chemical we need to survive---oxytocin! This season, remember the value of forgiveness, self-acceptance, patience, hope, and being in the moment. These are all gifts we can offer ourselves for FREE. Better yet, they are plentiful and everlasting.
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