When you think about it, this is all anyone really wants to hear during this time of year. People like smiling and believing that everyone is happy and enjoying the holiday season. That's not always the case. Sometimes, people are not happy at all and, even when they try, there is someone in their lives who does everything in their power to strip them of any amount of joy. The joy stealers. They are real. And people who have them in their lives do not usually announce this to the world.
These are the silent sufferers who go about as well as they can not wanting to be judged for something so seemingly meaningless when so many others are suffering from illness, incurable disease, natural disasters, the passing of a loved one, etc. But their internal pain is real and their sadness is deep. Some live with it for decades while others take the only escape they feel is available--addiction, self-abuse, suicidal thoughts or the act itself.
People don't want to hear about these sufferers. People want them to buck up. Change their situations. Stick up for themselves better. Get over it. But when you've been manipulated for years and you don't have the means or the energy or the self-worth, bucking up, changing the situation, sticking up for yourself, and the like are not really options. Perhaps if there was someone to talk to...but no one wants to hear about this kind of suffering and, if there is someone, the embarrassment keeps the silence of the sufferer intact.
This is the season of thankfulness. Most folks are thankful for the friends and family, their homes and health. Some are grateful that they feel loved and have supportive, encouraging people around them. There are numerous reasons to be thankful each and every day. But there are those who have trouble seeing the good and the thankfuls because it's too difficult to see past the sadness, the hurt, the disappointment, the pain...
This year, try looking into the eyes of those you pass and the eyes of friends and family when you talk to them. Is the sparkle of excitement and joy missing? Are they avoiding eye contact for more than a couple of seconds or avoiding it completely? Perhaps they have a story that needs to be heard. Perhaps you're the right person at the right time to hear it.
Is there someone you need to reach out to this holiday season?
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