Yes, it’s “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” time. It’s time for good cheer and holiday fun. But if you’ve suffered holiday trauma, it probably isn’t a pleasant time for you at all.
Years ago, I coached a little league baseball team and the father of one of my players was killed in a liquor store robbery. Then came the holidays and it wasn’t pleasant for the child, his family, and the entire neighborhood. My coaching staff decided to do what we could, so I dressed up in my makeshift Santa Claus outfit, spruced up my car to look like a sleigh (with a cardboard Rudolf on my hood), and yelled out my ho hos, with Christmas music blasting when I pulled up to their home. Did this get a good response? Not what I had hoped for.
With what is going on in the Ukraine and Middle East how can we have a jolly good time? Shoot, even in this country there is a political atmosphere of us against them, which can be traumatizing enough.
The good news is the Light dispels the dark. The healing formula of Spiritual Psychology is: “When love is applied to hurt, we heal.”
Love? Often people are confused with the word because they have never experienced it, or so they say. When life becomes a day-to-day living hell, is there any love to be found?
And thus, here we are at the onset of the season of love. The holidays are about people sharing love and if we don’t have any love to give, then as my friend Rhonda says, “You need a person attitude ectomy.”
Coming from abuse I can understand people misinterpreting that only bad and suffering goes on in life. Though, the healing power of love cannot be mistaken. In the book “Dying to Be Me,” Anita Moorjani described how she died for two hours, went to heaven, was told she could return, and did. In the next few months, her cancer went into full remission, and the doctors could find no more trace of it in her body. She attributes it to being filled with unconditional love.
How can we fill ourselves with love? And the emphasis is on filling ourselves. If we are waiting for others to rescue us, we will be waiting an entire lifetime. This will not be the source of your healing – you will.
I think this is the beauty of therapy. In counseling, we get to purge all the negatives, rediscover the amazing person we are down deep, and learn how to nurture this person and help them grow.
No, suffering from tragedy does not mean you will always suffer. It just means that that injured part inside of you needs your loving attention to move out of the pit and move forward. How? There are a number of ways – and all include the application of love – your love.
For early childhood trauma, Opposite Hand Writing allows you, on paper, to talk with the younger you that experienced trauma. Note: treating the problem at the root is essential for healing something permanently. To use Opposite Hand Writing, allow your dominant hand to represent your current self and your opposite hand to represent the younger you that suffered. Simply write out a conversation and let whatever needs to be voiced be written out. It may take a few efforts to master, but in all actuality, it is pretty inspiring what comes out. I will often ask my younger self what I could do to make him happy. The traumatized part inside of us knows exactly what it needs, and all we need to do is follow through on the requests. Spending holiday time with your younger self is incredibly healing, as well.
Opposite Hand Writing can be referred to as “Reparenting”. Add on opposite hand play, then suddenly you become the new parent to you. Your parents did what they could but after 18 years of age, it is your turn to take a stab at it. Sound ridiculous? Well mentally yes, but emotionally it somehow makes sense. If you suffered trauma before the age of 8, your brain hadn’t fully wired yet and there would be no compartment to put the situation into. Naturally, people will then submerge that situation into the subconscious mind but unfortunately, that area has limited space. Add on more and more traumatic experiences then it is not uncommon to wear your emotions on your sleeve. Here is where people suffer from depression, have anxiety attacks, and anger outbursts. A good holiday cleaning through Opposite Hand Writing may be all you really need. Spiritual Psychology advises people to provide love to their younger self throughout the entire process to assist in the healing.
Adult: Are you ready to have fun this Christmas?
Child: I don’t like holidays. They are a lie.
Adult: What do you mean?
Child: I hate the holidays. Each holiday Daddy gets angry and drinks, yells, and hits Mommy.
Adult: Wow. You know if I were your Daddy I would be loving all the time and would make sugar plum ferries with you. I’d also get you the biggest tree and get you all the presents you wanted.
Child: Really? Why would you do that?
Adult: Because I love you.
Child: Huh? Nobody loves me. I’ve never had any real friends.
Adult: You’re kidding? I think you are the greatest kid in the world because you are smart, fun to be around, very creative, loving, and caring – boy are they missing out.
Child: You’re just saying that.
Adult: I’m saying this because I really do care about you. Come on, let’s do something together. What can I do to help you feel better?
As you can see. Every opportunity to be loving to the younger self was made. And once your younger self tells you what they want, make every effort to follow through on the requests, or else you risk abandoning yourself like so many others have.
For older parts inside of us, the Opposite Hand Writing works well too, though these conversations can be much more intellectual.
Letter writing is also a benefit to free yourself of pent-up emotions. Even if the person is dead, write them a letter and free your mind of all the hurt and trauma they put you through. Let it go, rip it up, or burn it. Letters are strictly for you purging out all of your feelings. If you hold things in, it only builds and soon there is a big explosion. Think of these tools as stress relief. And again shred them or burn them.
If you have pictures that are upsetting of the holidays, rip them up and or burn them. You don’t have to hold onto memories that disturb you. Next, it is time now to start a new ritual, like perhaps enjoying the holidays and being more social. Dressing up like an Elf can help – ask Will Ferrell.
I’ll leave you with this holiday story.
I was 32 years old and had just lost a job and didn’t know what direction to take. I had moved out of my apartment and didn’t have a place to stay so I decided to spend the night over at my parents’ house and figure things out. It was Christmas Eve, and my sister Christy was the only sibling left at home. The house was quiet when I arrived, she was the only person awake and we sat on the couch to reminisce. She immediately asked me what I was going to do next in my life and I was absolutely clueless. I was literally starting from scratch but felt compassion for what she was going through. I told her somebody should help out her generation because mine was so free and fun-loving. Then it hit me. I was always passing the buck. Somebody should do this and that – what about me? BONG!!!! The big bell went off inside of my head. Why didn’t I do something? At that moment I decided to switch my life direction and pursue counseling as a career. Yep. That’s where it all started.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry. We are here virtually and in-person to help you get through this COVID-19 pandemic and many other difficulties you may be experiencing.
May you have good mental health.