After a breakup the toughest times of the year can be discovering we are single around the holidays. It gets worse when we attend an event and we see other couples who we perceive are happy and it adds to our loneliness. It is also difficult if kids are involved and it is not our schedule with the kids.  Whatever the situation, we dread it because we perceive something is missing. Anytime we are focused on what is missing we find emotions that do not support us.

I have had two long-distance relationships in a row. My current girlfriend lives in Los Angeles and with me living in Denver it seems like there are not enough flights back and forth to keep consistent emotions on a high. There are nights where I simply miss her and a phone does nothing to make it better. I usually experience it in small sections of time, but it is painful. I will not have her for thanksgiving this year and I realize it represents thankfulness and gratitude.

How can we overcome these feelings?

When we feel lonely or under a wall of negative emotions it is difficult to “just feel better.” So, the focus needs to change drastically. I always start with a list of what I am grateful for. It is hard to stay in bad emotions when thinking about what we DO have. I was at a place where I had nobody. I focused on being with family and friends who didn’t make me feel worse about my breakup. List all that you are grateful for, or could be if you wanted. Obviously my worries are smaller now since I have a person in my life, but even when I was coping with being single (divorced) after the initial feelings of being dumped, I started to learn to change my focus.

Contrasting also helps. There is always someone else in a more terrible existence. This ties into having gratitude, but is also a standalone topic. Be willing to look at how good you have it compared to others.

Fix new meaning on the holiday. Instead of focusing on what is missing, find an intention heading into the holiday. Intend to connect with a friend better. Spend the time just fully being immersed in the gathering. If you are alone, pick some of your favorite songs and love every minute. Or pick a great movie to watch. Create a new ritual until life changes for you. There are so many great things to concentrate on.