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Stop Feeling Lonely Without Jumping Into a Romantic Relationship

Stop Feeling Lonely Without Jumping Into a Romantic Relationship

Nobody wants to be lonely – it kind of sucks. I’ve been alone for every major holiday since blowing the whistle on the banks. It was hard being single at first, but, once I accepted it, my life changed for the better. Instead of jumping from relationship to relationship, I learned to stop feeling lonely and start feeling myself.

1. Connect to People with Similar Interests

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, there are certain hobbies you have that you enjoy pursuing. You don’t need a partner to enjoy your hobbies – in fact, enjoying your life alone is the best way to meet people with similar interests.

You may not want to attend a movie or hike a mountain on your own, but do it anyway. You’ll bump into people doing the same thing, and you can connect with them.

2. Talk to Senior Citizens

When was the last time you talked to a senior citizen? So many people push the elderly into retirement communities so they don’t have to deal with them. We’re so used to instant gratification that we hate having to slow down and listen.

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Spending time with the elderly and listening to their stories fulfills you and validates their experiences. It’s a win-win situation.

3. Embrace the Challenge

Knowing how to get through adversity and actually doing it are two different things. It’s the execution that counts in life, and in order to properly execute, you’ll need to embrace the challenge of being single.

For every lonely night you spend crying, there’s an opportunity or adventure you couldn’t have taken if you were distracted by a relationship. Stop dwelling on what could, should, and has been. Instead focus on the now.

4. Go on a Personal Journey

The best part about being alone is being able to discover your true self. When I was jumping from relationship to relationship, I was so busy introducing myself to someone and getting to know them that I never had a chance to grow and mature myself.

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I went on a spiritual journey and reconnected with the things that are important to me, and I learned that I actually felt lonelier in those relationships than I did alone. It was a fantastical revelation.

5. Dream for Your Future

When you’re in a relationship, your future is shared with someone. This makes things easier in that you have support, but it also forces you to compromise.

Stop being lonely solo and realize you have the power to do whatever you want without having to compromise. You can go all-out and focus 100% of your energy on yourself.

6. Contribute to Your Community

If you find yourself lacking in human companionship, volunteer in your community. There’s no shortage of churches, soup kitchens, thrift stores, and shelters looking for able-bodied volunteers.

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Instead of sitting around feeling bad for yourself, you can help others who are in need. Committing yourself to the betterment of society is a great way to fill any void in your life.

7. Assist Children

I believe the children are our future. Teach them well, and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

Whitney Houston had her ups and downs. Her death wasn’t the most glamorous, but she understood that the greatest love of all is the love we have for ourselves.

Listening to Whitney Houston’s music reminds me that the survival of our society lies not in Washington DC, but in our youth. Find ways to make kids’ lives easier. Register as a caregiver, coach a team, or just clean up a park.

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Loneliness can be difficult. When you’re used to being in relationships, you may not even know how to be single. There’s no shame in being alone – I’m 33, single, and not even working on changing that. If I can do it, so can you.

So buck up, grumpy puss. Somebody loves you, and it should be you.

Featured photo credit: beautiful girl in the morning on the beach via shutterstock.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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