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Holidays – A time of giving kindness, attention and nice words
Prof. dr Tijana Mirović Psychologist, Psychological Counseling Centre Mozaik
Holidays – A time of giving kindness, attention and nice words
The holiday season is coming, along with many plans, excitement, as well as worries. It is the happiest and most anticipated time of the year for some, while for others, it is the period they have an aversion to. Some see celebrations, decorated shop windows, and colorful gifts, while other see crowds, costs, and extra commitments. Some feel euphoria and hope while others feel loneliness and sadness.

It is thought that holidays exist so that we could gather together, connect, celebrate jointly, and share similar experiences and similar rituals. We decorate a Christmas tree, buy presents, eat Russian salad and bring Christmas Eve tree into the house. Americans make ginger houses, sing Christmas carols, and kiss under the mistletoe. Doing this, we feel connected and belonging somewhere, to someone and to something. During the holidays, we spend more time with family and friends, exchange gifts, have fun, and also share love. We hug and kiss somewhat more than usual, write nice messages, exchange hopes and wishes.

The problem arises when we are not a part of the community and have no close people to share all of this with. Then, the holiday season becomes a time of sadness and the most intense loneliness. It is especially emphasized in those who have emigrated or moved to other place, those who have divorced or lost someone. During the holidays, the loss becomes more tangible and amplified because the first holiday without someone cannot even be a holiday. On the other hand, sometimes the problem is the fact that we have to spend holidays with a partner or family members we do not get along with well. Then, the holiday time - the time of ’rest and leisue’ becomes a time of stress, conflict and frustration.

Dissatisfaction with relationships and other aspects of life encourages us also to make New Year's resolutions. Enthusiastically and hopefully, we promise ourselves that we will change bad habits, find a new job, spend more time with dear people, etc. However, those who started the passing year also with New Year's resolutions or plans that did not come to life, it is an additional reason for discontent and sadness. Awareness of the fact that another year of our life has passed and we are still where we are, is painful and distressing.

Acknowledgement that we have not lived as planned and we are not living in accordance with our needs and values can be troublesome every day of the year, and is often even more painful during the holidays. We often compare ourselves with others coming to a conclusion that their lives seem much better and more glamorous; and those others, often make an extra effort just for the holidays, in order to paint life with brilliant colors. They pay for expensive New Year parties or travels, buy expensive clothes, post smiling and euphoric photos. Many people try to compensate for the dissatisfaction they generally feel just during the holidays, trying to convince both themselves and others that they are extra happy.

On the other hand, for many people, holidays are just another reminder of the fact that they have no money even for the most basic things, let alone expensive gifts and parties. For such people, the new year begins just as the old one has ended – without a (safe) job and (safe) income, without any possibility to provide themselves and their beloved at least a little bit of what they want. Let us use the holidays to recall of those people and donate gifts to those who cannot give gifts to themselves and their beloved, because the holidays are a time of connection and fellowship, a time of giving kindness, attention and nice words. After all, these are the only gifts that remain and that are needed by everyone: the joyful, euphoric, sad, depressed ones, you, as well as us.

Happy holidays and happy networking and giving :)
Prof. dr Tijana Mirović
Psychologist, Psychological Counseling Centre Mozaik