Dear (insert your name here),

So, I heard you don’t have the holiday spirit. You walk around, bombarded with ads and magazines on what to gift and you can’t really smile when everyone else is and you feel like you’re missing out on something the whole world seems to be feeling.

Maybe this time of year, often dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year,” is not so wonderful for you. Instead of the festive green and red, you feel blue. Something tied to the holidays hurt you.

Maybe it was a conversation that tainted this time. Maybe it was heartbreak. Maybe it was a traumatic experience. Maybe it was a loss of a family member or friend. Maybe you don’t know what it is.

But, you’re lonely. You know that much.

What if I told you that loneliness is a feeling worth facing? Whatever that word, encounter or pain you had to go through is a part of your life now. But you aren’t defined by it.

I want to let you know it’s OK to not be able to identify with the tone of tinsel or the mood of merriment. It is also OK to dig up buried happiness or to discover it once more in a brand new waynot despite of your loneliness, but with it.

If a long tradition no longer holds the charm it once used to, then make new ones. Find a new place, a new recipe, a new song, a new something associated with celebrating the victory of not letting negativity scribble on your life. Your days are a culminating canvas of the courage being painted.

It’s OK to lean into your relationships during these times. You are not a burden. I’m going to repeat it one more time: You are not a burden. Give those around you the benefit of the doubt.

It’s OK to be genuine and authentic with what you’re experiencing and you might be surprised to find people are willing to sit in the situation with you, listen well and hold your hand. Just because you are lonely, doesn’t mean you are alone.

It’s going to take a few ounces of bravery, but from what you’ve experienced, you’ve got all the courage at your fingertips.