Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hurting for the Holidays: Permission Granted by Brittany Gooding

photo by Jennifer Upton

For the 2013 holiday season, I am hosting a blog series called Hurting for the Holidays.  Twenty-six amazing guest writers are sharing their hearts, hurts, and helps to help those of us who carry an internal ache to navigate this celebratory season.  Find all posts in the series here, and participate via social media through the hashtag #HurtingfortheHolidays.


I know the holidays are your least favorite time of the year -- all the pain and heartache seems to multiply until it seems as if you are suffocating on the very air that is supposed to keep you alive. But hold onto hope my love. There are a few things I want you to know. A few things that I want you to hear, and know they are true.

First, it is okay to dislike the holidays. When everyone else is happy and excited for family gatherings and holiday parties, it is okay to not share their joy. Your feelings are important and valid. Yes, even the icky and so-called bad ones. They are your emotions and they are valid. So, feel them; let them wash over you and know that they will pass. And you will make it through.

Second, it is okay to say no. Whether you say no to the party you are dreading or if you say no to a family gathering, it’s okay. During this time when everyone says you have to focus on other people, it’s important to take some time to take care of yourself. Whether that means spending a night in your pajamas alone watching a full season of Scandal on Netflix or going for a run in the rain, shivering from the chill, do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

Third, and most important, it is okay to forgive yourself. It is okay to forgive yourself for wanting the family of your dreams. It’s okay to forgive yourself for being so full of anxiety that instead of spending another moment surrounded by people, you curl into bed and pull the covers over your head. It’s okay.

And when the moments come and you feel a moment of joy or you catch yourself suddenly smiling, know that it is okay. Soak in those moments and let them fill your soul. For those moments of joy and peace will carry you through the dark time. 

This will pass, my love. The pain, the fear, the anger -- it will pass and you will survive. Reach out dear one, even if all you can mutter is a weak help, know that I hear your cries. And I am standing with you and love you.

Braveheart, you are deeply loved.  I believe in you.

I love the permission Brittany so gently gives us permission to feel whatever we are feeling (ugly, uncomfortable, or inconvenient emotions included).  What do you think about giving yourself permission and grace to be where you are this holiday season?

* * *

Brittany snorts when she laughs and she tends to listen to the same song constantly for a week before starting on a new one. She has one blue and one green eye that turn grey when it rains. She believes grey should always be spelled with an “e” never an “a.” She drives a blue pt cruiser named styx after the river in greek mythology, not the band. She adores the look of lower case letters and the sibilant sound of subtle alliteration. She has many scars and she wants you to ask where they come from because she wants to know about yours. She believes we are called to be rescuers, to hold our palms over the gaping wounds of broken people. She believes eyes speak and hearts are made to be broken, but they learn to love again. She believes love should be bigger than intolerance, and she trusts in the wonder of being barefoot. She believes children always talk to angels and adults have simply forgotten how, but she knows a child’s laugh can heal a broken heart.


  1. Love this! Yes, to all of it. Just...yes. Thank you!

  2. Thank you. I needed to be reminded that it is OK to not like the holidays.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King