Navigation the Holidays – An Emotional Pot-luck

For many, navigating the holiday season can be tricky as it carries an expectation of happiness, togetherness, warmth and joy. The reality is for many, it can evoke feelings of loneliness, grief, or unease, stirring up past experiences that may be distressing.


People experience a wide range of emotions during this period. It can be helpful to remember that each person’s journey through the holidays is unique. For those that need to hear this – it’s okay not to feel joyful and merry. Your feelings are valid, and taking care of your emotional well-being is paramount.


A teacher for me has been “Radical Forgiveness” by Colin Tipping – the following is an excerpt from this book:



Even when we have repressed the feelings and/or memories associated with a life event, we know on a unconscious level that the shame, guilt, or self-criticism associated with it remains with us. So we attempt to rid ourselves of that pain by “taking it out of ourselves” and transferring it onto someone or something else outside of ourselves. This projection process allows us to forget we ever possess such feelings.

Once we project what we do not want to own onto someone else, we see them, rather than ourselves, as possessing those qualities. So if we repress our guilt and then project it, we make the other person the wrong one. If we repress our anger and then project it, we see them as the one who’s angry. We can accuse them of all the things we feared we would be accused of ourselves. No wonder we feel so relieved when we project. In so doing, we make someone else responsible for everything terrible that happens to us and for what we see as negative about ourselves. Then we can demand that they be punished, so we can feel even more righteous and safe from attack.

Recognize When You’re Projecting

As soon as you find yourself judging someone and getting angry, you know you are projecting, Anger serves as the constant companion of projection, for you always use this emotion to justify the projection of your self-hatred.

What you find so objectionable about this person simply serves as a reflection of that part of you that you have rejected and denied in yourself (your shadow) and projected onto them instead. If this were not so, you would not be upset.

If You Spot It, You Got It!

It feels like the other person is doing something to you to make you angry. However, when you own that your feelings begin with you, not with them, you will drop the need to feel victimized and realize that the person is doing these not to you but for you-enabling you to take back the projection and love it in yourself.

Though repression and projection are meant as temporary relief valves for the psyche, the ego coopts them as the means to increase and prolong the feelings of separation. Hence, denial, repression, and projection become permanent ways of being for us, at least until we begin to awaken. At that point we slowly become aware of these mechanisms and how we use them to create and maintain separation. The task then is to wean ourselves off of these mechanisms and begin to take responsibility for creating the circumstances of our lives rather than blaming everything on others.

Fear of Intimacy (“Into-Me-See”)

Every person we meet offers us the opportunity to choose between projections or forgiveness, separation or union. However, when it comes to close personal relationships, the more intimate we become with someone the closer they get to our true self. Thus it becomes all the more likely they will discover all that unpleasant stuff (our shadow material) that we have denied and repressed, the prospect of which creates enormous fear inside us. The temptation to project it all onto them becomes almost irresistible. At this point, the honeymoon is over. The fear of intimacy becomes so strong that the relationship is likely to fall apart. And when they do fall apart most do so with a lot of acrimony and painful emotions.


To be awake means to fully understand how this all works and how the ego has skillfully used our spiritual intelligence – which is always moving us in the direction of love, healing and growing – to provides us with people whose role it is to mirror our own projections and repressed self-hatred. Only then can we heal the separation within ourselves and become whole. This is the purpose of all relationships.

If the true purpose of the relationship has been fulfilled, which is to say the healing has occurred, the relationship may simply dissolve naturally and peacefully. When both parties understand Radical Forgiveness, the parting can be loving, respectful, and relatively pain free.

If, on the other hand, the relationship breaks off before the healing has taken place, the parties will likely go off and find another partner with very similar characteristics who will resonate the same issues for them all over again. Many of us do this over and over again, and we can often see the pattern quite clearly when it is pointed out. However, at times, when we are in “it” it is hard to see our way through it.

Only when we do our own inner work, can the healing begin.It starts with you. At the end of the day, you only have yourself to work with and you can only make the changes yourself. You can’t change the other person. However, you can change how you relate to yourself and in doing so, your connections with those around you will change.

In 2024, I will be opening the doors to my “Moving Beyond the Mental Health Label” group program – we will meet for 10 weeks on Wednesdays at 3pm MST starting Feb 21, 2024. More registration details are here:

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