I am my own story.

I am a single lady. I share home with my friend. At Christmas they will go to visit their family. I have been invited to some of mine. They have children and the last time I went at Christmas I felt like my being there on Christmas eve was intruding on the parents own time. So this year I would prefer not to do that and instead have a quiet day at home. A few friends are coming next day and as a treat I have booked a morning yoga retreat for a few days after that. I will go to visit them then. For a short time and they will have had the space they needed . I understand they need it and I was upset when I felt in the way last time. It will be peaceful and I wont disturb their time. Sometimes people prefer others not to be alone at Christmas especially on the day itself. How do I explain its actually easier for me that way and how I feel about it. Thank You



There is a huge amount of information in the short paragraph that you have written. What's immediately apparent is that you have a rich social life and friend circle and value your health and wellbeing. You also have family who love you. You're starting from a great place. Your family have invited you for the second year in a row to spend Christmas with them. They probably wouldn't do this unless they wanted to. In simple terms, people organise the reality that they want for themselves, not necessarily the reality that they would like for others. We are all, unfortunately, inherently selfish. Chances are, they would like you to be there, lots of people have a 'the more the merrier' approach to Christmas, a full house feels right and you are family after all. They may like having you around and don't see things the way you do.

You said you 'felt' like you were in the way. Was that because the adults were rolling their eyes and the kids burst into tears every time you came back from the loo? Or did you feel guilty last year because Christmas a funny and sensitive time for everyone and a time where being single seems to be magnified when surrounded by couples and families?

Maybe you really don't want to be there. If so, then it's easy, just tell them that you're very gratefully to them for thinking of you, you love them, but you have others plans. Gift yourself this with a smile on your face. Guilt is a redundant emotion, it only makes people feel bad about themselves and others, and changes nothing.

There are facts, and then there are the stories we tell ourselves. What story are you telling yourself about the Christmas ahead? Are you telling yourself a story that is based on an abundance model, thankful for all the things you have, or are you focussing on what's missing and wrong? Our reality starts with facts but is often dramatically mutated by the stories we tell ourselves. These stories are one of the things we have complete control over if we choose to exercise it.

Maybe you do want to be there but feel guilty, from your letter, you seem to be navigating an emotion struggle. Let's imagine, being with your family over Christmas is actually quite nice and if you weren't feeling so guilty, you'd have a really lovely time. Is that possible? If so, talk to them, make sure they're comfortable with the arrangement, be honest about not wanting to intrude, give them a chance to reassure you. Then give yourself a break, relax and enjoy the ride.

There is always the comforting realm of the compromise. Why not let them have Christmas Eve as a family unit, then join them for Christmas Day. Muck in a enjoy every minute of the children, the food, the giddiness and the mayhem. Then gallop back to your own life of fun, friends, yoga and no-one to please but yourself. If you have a family that love you and want you around, you are very lucky. If you are confident and self contained enough to weather the emotional storms of Christmas on your own with a smile on your face, we salute you with a large gin and tonic and are more than slightly jealous. Namaste.

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