The holiday season is tough for many people. Family events and holiday parties remind us of our unhappiness with love and our family history. You can’t go back, but you can certainly learn from the past and use your discomfort with this time of year to motivate you to examine yourself and set new goals.

Anxiety and feelings of discomfort accompany all important changes in life. Time is ticking. Don’t mask your fear of not being found lovable with excuses. Just what do you want on your tombstone? Here lies a woman who died alone because she was too scared to get out there, get over past hurts and risk love?

Begin with small, concrete steps. Here’s a quick list of the most common issues of single women and a Do and Don’t List of What to Do.

Issue # 1: “Something’s wrong me because I’m single and don’t have anyone to bring to holiday gatherings. It’s too hard to change, and I don’t know how.”


  • List your positive qualities and review them.
  • Forgive yourself for faltering.
  • Keep going forward.
  • Get brave.
  • Call a friend—new and old.
  • Get support—friends, professionals.
  • Learn your unique stress triggers.
  • Develop new coping methods.
  • Build in rewards:
  • - Watch favorite show.
    - Buy inexpensive items--nail polish or magazines.


  • Measure your whole self by a few things such as being single.
  • Give up and beat yourself up.
  • Live in the past.
  • Be afraid of emotional pain.
  • Be afraid of change.
  • Ignore/minimize your problems.
  • Do nothing and hope for the best.
  • Do more of the same failed efforts
  • Issue # 2: “I’ve been hurt, I’m not ready and dating is too hard. I guess I’ll just be depressed and worry about feeling or looking better some other time.”


  • Go out with lots of men.
  • Join dating clubs, etc.
  • Date against type
  • Make your goal to test your ability to read men—not marry them!
  • Make mistakes and learn.
  • Make a list of the top three things you want for the coming year and work out a PLAN for getting help for doing them.
  • Control the portions of what you eat.
  • Join a gym—especially since exercise increases self-esteem, self-
    control and our feel-good hormones.
  • Join Weight Watchers.
  • Form a weight and eating support group with friends.
  • Volunteer—especially since volunteering reduces depression and introduces you to a new group of volunteers who could become your friends, supporters, or intimate partners.
  • Go to charity events and other activities that interest you.
  • Force yourself to say hello to men.
  • Don't

  • Wait for men to come to you.
  • Hope men appear.
  • Date the same kind of men.
  • Look for The One.
  • Be afraid of mistakes.
  • Plod along.
  • Punish yourself with food.
  • Wait until you feel “ready.”
  • Isolate yourself.
  • Hide out.
  • Hope men approach you.
  • Issue # 3: “I don’t enjoy being with my family on the holidays.”


  • Turn your visits into your personal “Research Project” about you!
  • Observe your family to learn about what they taught about the world, men, women,love, trust and relationships.

  • Use the holidays to see their—and your take on these views.
  • Ask yourself: What does my family want or expect of me? What do I want or expect of them? How reasonable and healthy are these expectations?
  • Observe your family stress triggers.
  • Don't

  • Act as you usually do: (Go silent, sulk, stew, withdraw, blame yourself; Argue, defend, criticize,etc.)
  • Quick Checklist for: How do I know what love is and if I have it?
    1. You respect him.
    2. He respects you.
    3. You like how you are in the relationship.
    4. You complement each other, “complete each other” so that together you are an effective team where the sum is richer, greater than the parts.
    5. You have respectful communications. You each are responsible for TELLING your partner what is wrong and ASKING your partner what is bothering him or her.
    6. You know your Dark Cloud and how to correct it.
    7. You apologize when you mistreat your partner.
    8. You know how to “make friends with your anxiety” so you can MANAGE your emotions rather than be stuck merely with having to REACT to them.
    9. You abide by the Golden Rule and treat your partner in the way you want your partner to treat you.
    10. You understand your family background and influence over you. You know whether your emotional comfort zone with men is healthy or unhealthy for you, and you chose your man because he makes you comfortable in a healthy way. You have not over-valued “instant chemistry” since chemistry can be unhealthy for you when it makes you feel emotionally comfortable in an unhealthy way.

    Please go to my web site and join my research about women who are often smart about work, but not love. Click in the research box in the upper right and see the link to my online survey.

    Thank you, Dr. LeslieBeth Wish

    Author's Bio: 

    LeslieBeth Wish is a Psychologist, Clinical Social Worker and author who is nationally recognized for her contributions to women, love, relationships, family, career, workplace, and organizations.

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