After a very draining breakup a few years ago, I decided to celebrate Christmas in solitude. My parents were both away and it was the perfect opportunity. I wanted to celebrate my newfound freedom, but most of all, wanted to counter all that was expected of me on a day where social expectations are at their highest.

Culture can give us comfort, guidelines, life benchmarks—or pressure and anxiety when your life doesn’t match the cultural narrative: if you don’t have family, kids, or loved ones at Christmastime; if you’re not married by thirty, forty, or beyond; if you don’t have a job (or the right kind of job);  if you can’t afford an iPad 2 for your kids; and whatever ridiculous standards we create to indicate equilibrium, or that we’ve “made it.”

I spent the day in bed.

No tree. No family. No eggnog. And no worries! I did receive holiday invites from several well-meaning friends, but this year, I wanted the pleasure of my own company. I needed to restore, refresh, and reflect on the year. And looking back, without knowing it, I was taking a holy day. I celebrated my life (just being here!), talked to God for the first time in a long time, and nurtured myself physically and spiritually.  As physically alone as I was, it was the first time in a few lost years, I didn’t feel “alone” at all.

In fact, I enjoyed my celebrated solitude so much, I spent the next Christmas on my own again!

And while I’ll cherish spending Christmas with family this year, I know I don’t need anything classically expected now, or any time of year to be happy, fulfilled, or validated as a person. To anyone whose holiday plans are not shaping up as “expected,” I pray that you take comfort in what is, rather than what hasn’t come or what used to be. That you remember that the future is still bright. And that you carry the joy and surprise of the season with you, no matter if someone or something else comes along to share it with you.

Whatever you’re going through right now, it’s my pleasure to remind you that all you need to be Positively Positive this holiday season, is a little faith, patience and YOU.

I’m Xian Horn, wishing you a Positively Positive Christmas/ Holiday no matter what!

Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy, serving as writer, mentor, and positivity activist. A member of an international network of extraordinary women, 85 Broads, she was heralded by founder Janet Hanson as an “amazing role model for all women.” With her personal stories and ongoing mentoring work, Xian Horn is invested in contributing positively to self-esteem and the collective self-image, especially for women. To support her True Beauty efforts for people with disabilities, please join Xian’s Facebook community.