Tomorrow is Thanksgiving—a day of giving thanks and appreciation for all of the blessings in our lives.
But it is also the beginning of the holiday funk season for many people suffering from depression and/or experiencing less than happy moods and thoughts.
We’re a society who’s told how to feel and we read about it, also hearing what it is we’re supposed to be feeling from our televisions and our friends. We struggle with both the perception (we’re supposed to be happy) and the reality (typically falls short of the perception) of it all.
While I personally can appreciate the good intentions of marketers, family and friends alike, sometimes the holidays and their approach make us feel less than otherwise content with our lot.
When I was a kid I’d too frequently get told to smile a lot from both friends and acquaintances. I suppose I didn’t look happy, but I don’t believe I was frowning, either. I just didn’t have any expression at all on my face. I came to understand this to be called having a poker face (which I really didn’t consciously practice as I was a guy who’d end up spending five years in the Navy without playing a hand of cards).
It’s like how even those of us who are perfectly happy and eerily smiling all the time become annoyed while walking through Wal-Mart on Dec. 20th and bemoaning the length of time Christmas music has been playing.
The holidays have a way of wearing on you before they even are 50 percent of the way completed. The music in the stores is just one way the spirit of the ho-ho-ho can grate on you.
It’s also the news stories of the season and the inadvertent slow news days that bring us the events inspired by political correctness. You know what I’m talking about. Some of these current events that find their way in to the local evening news speak to how whether or not the courthouse should have a decorated Christmas Tree out in front, or a manger or a sign that says Merry Christmas or one that reads Happy Holidays.
The fact this isn’t at all news isn’t what’s so sad about it. It’s that it’s part of the underbelly of negative consideration that the holidays and the jewelry stores advertising you’ll get more kisses from your significant other if you buy them a necklace with pendant, do not even begin to grasp when targeting gift-giving audiences.
I sometimes think the holidays are the period of time at the end of the year when we enter our most stoic stage.
“Smile! What’s so bad?!!” has been replaced by “He’s so stoic!” as a way to bridge the gap between describing not being entirely pleased when as a child and then now as an adult.
All kidding aside, feeling sad, especially during this time of year, is nothing to be ashamed of or taken lightly. I am an advocate of seeking and suggesting help.
But, more than that for those of us more simply beginning an extended funk, is the wish and hope for those feeling over the top completely the opposite, to have compassion, empathy and understanding of those less euphoric.
These are character traits that cost nothing in terms of actual dollars and many times deliver life-saving value for which a price tag cannot be attached.
I believe you also might get more kisses from your significant other, too, if you can otherwise support, uplift and encourage a person who’s near you and sporting their most unrevealing poker face.