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  • Writer's pictureGwyneth Kerr Erwin, Ph.D., Psy.D

Unseen Holiday Gifts


Many of us look forward to holidays or celebrations with a sense of joy, possibly even the remnants of childhood wonder. But for others of us, these pivotal occasions bring dread, the dread of gift-buying, the money involved, the pressure to meet others’ needs or desires. For still others, celebrations elicit a special pain or poignancy.

Have your celebrations been marked by a necessary but unwanted move, a job shortage, the suffering of someone who is deeply meaningful to you, or the loss of a loved one? Has your relationship to holidays been changed, perhaps permanently? Have you lost any joy associated with them?

Even in the face of such profound loss, there exist opportunities for healing.

What can be the gifts found in moving holiday suffering to hope? You can find them wrapped in R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

R = Respect your experience

E = Engage with how the holidays or celebrations may need to be different

S = Share your feelings and those with whom you are closest

P = Plan how you want to honor what or who you have lost

E = Experiment with making new memories

C = Celebrate meaningfully what you have experienced and what you can still create

T = Take delivery of what others offer you

Grieving and suffering deserves our respect but finding even the smallest element of hope within it opens the pathway to its eventual release.

For more understanding of your inner life, gift yourself or someone you know with a copy of The Developmental Lens: A New Paradigm for Psychodynamic Diagnosis and Treatment.

Thank you. Dr. Gwyn Erwin

P.S. Watch for the next blog post, I’m excited to launch new products for personal growth and gifting!

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