The holidays are 'supposed to be' a time of love and laughter. Families and loved ones stop their frenzied lives to get together in peace, harmony and abundant gift giving. At least that's what much of the media and advertisers tell us how it should be each year.

Yet for many of us, the holidays come with its own dark heavy cloud of 'what the fuck is wrong with me? I SHOULD be happy.' Truth is, we're anything but. As the holidays get nearer and nearer we slip further and further into a holiday funk.

If this sounds familiar, then listen up. Its time you gave yourself a powerful gift.

The good news is you don't have to fight the traffic jams or search for a parking place at the mall. You already have this gift hidden deep within you. All you have to do is be willing to own and care for it as you would your own child.

I know, I've been there - for more years than I care to recall. While I loved the spirit of the holiday season I felt lost and left out. I had no clue what it meant to enjoy a home filled with parents who love and support you - let alone give you a gift you actually want.

I had no experience with laughter at the holiday table. All I knew was the constant bickering and the shame I felt for not measuring up to the child my parents wanted me to be. Later, the wife my ex-husband wanted me to be.

Each year I hoped in vain holiday joy would visit me. It never knocked on my door. I felt lost, alone and miserable every holiday - well into my adult years.

Until I went out and created a holiday season that not only brought joy to my face, it opened my heart so I could finally receive a loving embrace.

I rose above. Here's how you can do it too.

1. Set your intention for how you chose to experience the holiday family get together. Realize while you can't change other people yet you can change how you experience them.

2. Let no one "should" upon you. If anyone - including relatives and well-meaning friends - tries to boss you around, merely thank them for the suggestion and change the subject. If they persist, excuse yourself from the conversation. Exclaim "Oh look, there's dessert!" - and run. To borrow a line from Eddie Izzard, if given the choice between cake or death, choose cake!

3. Give yourself a loving talking-to. If you want love and respect from anyone else, you have to have it for yourself first. People can say what they will. You don't have to take on their views as the truth - especially when it's about you. By loving myself yourself - your whole self - you no longer depend upon others in order to feel loved.

4. With an open heart, understand that everyone is doing the best they can with the light they have to see. Even though some people are missing a few batteries in their flashlight they are doing the best they can.

5. Acknowledge and appreciate all that you are and all you have instead of have not.

6. Embrace the notion that everything is in perfect order even if you might not understand why your circumstance is the way it is. There's a gift in the lesson that can be received in your situation. Learn it and you'll be able to move beyond.

7. Invest in what will feed your soul instead of your belly or overstuffed closet this holiday season. If you engage in what makes your heart sing you will enjoy a permanent holiday from your funk.

Today I love the holiday season and the time I spend with family and friends. My family is the one I created. Bloodlines are irrelevant.

Instead of wanting to bitch slap the lady in the grocery store who's yelling at some 'idiot' (her words, not mine) on her cell phone I turn my attention and smile at the mother who is enjoying her child's awe and amazement at the gingerbread house display even though he ate the gumdrop chimney.

Instead of drowning in my former holiday misery, I head to the Comedy Club in Hermosa Beach, CA. Its impossible to feel bad after laughing yourself silly.

Most of all, I'm happy because I get to share the holidays with you. We are connected in spirit. And in that connection we are family. You always have a welcomed place at the table in my heart.

Author's Bio: 

Valery is a Mentor, Coach & Author who provides an all in one toolkit and training course that give you the necessary tools and information to get over the unique challenges that come from success, fame and fortune. Championing those who have or aspire fame and/or fortune to maximize their potential is her calling. She's fully prepared to engage clients with her experience, extensive training, certifications. For more information please visit