I imagine that the holiday season has been very tough for some of you, facing it without your loved one by your side. It doesn't really matter the length of time that he/she has been gone; your heart still aches for your loss, especially at this family oriented time of year.

And even though you probably weren't feeling the holiday spirit, to not dampen the festivities for your co-workers, friends and family members, you might have
tried to wear a "happy face" for the world to see. But, as hard as you tried, the truth is that in your grief, you may have forgotten how to smile. As you mourned, you may have retreated behind high walls and even dug yourself a moat (replete with alligators!) to keep others away. And, even when you do interact, your stance is sorrowful and your head points down. In essence, you have lost your smile.

As the new year approaches, I encourage you to venture back into the world and start reconnecting to old friends and searching out new friends who understand and accept you.

Make an effort to recapture your smile, even if you have to "fake it in order to make it." Once you start smiling at the world, it will begin to smile back upon you.

Ellen Gerst is a grief and relationship coach who uses both her personal experience as a young widow and her professional expertise to help clients and readers experience a change in perspective so that they may move successfully from the darkness of loss to the light of renewal. She is the author of several books on grief, which may be found on her website at 
http://www.LNGerst.com/Library.html. Join her on Facebook for tips on how to
 find love after loss.

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