"I am a 29-year-old single man, living in Utah with no family and I am often lonely. I adopted a dog three years ago and she has helped me tremendously, but still at times I get down. What advice can you give to those that are looking to be able to enjoy life to the fullest without yearning to be in a relationship? What could I do to live a more mentally healthy life and turn off the empty feeling that without a relationship, my life isn’t good enough? I see your advice tends to be more towards couples, but I hope to hear your take on this."
The idea your life isn’t complete without a relationship is just belief. Even if your religion emphasizes marriage, the truth is that many people, besides you, don’t have families and are undertaking a solo journey.
There is no universal law that states "Happiness can only happen in a relationship and being by yourself is lonely or sad." That is not truth — it’s just a belief.
How you feel about every situation in your life is dependent on your beliefs and perspectives about it. You can tell yourself that being single is sad and be depressed every day, or you can tell yourself another story. You can choose a story that focuses on the upsides to the solo journey — and there are many.
There are pros and cons to being in a relationship, and there are pros and cons to being single. One is not necessarily better, easier or worse than the other.
You could choose a story about how wonderful it is to have freedom and time to take care of yourself and do things you like to do. You can always choose to focus on the positives. You could also choose to believe you have the exact same value as every other human being on the planet, in a relationship or out.
One life outlook can make you miserable and one can make you feel better. How do you want to live?
Here are 10 other ways to increase your happiness as a single person:
1. Stay away from media that depicts happy couples, families, romance and relationships and shows they all as blissful. It’s not reality. Being in a relationship is just as hard (or harder) than being alone. It just has a different set of challenges. Be realistic about how challenging relationships can be and appreciate the good parts of having some freedom and alone time.
2. Remember you aren’t really ever alone. There are people all around you. You may not have a romantic partner, but you have friends, co-workers, family and other humans you could put effort into spending time with. Make more friends and build your circle of support.
3. Start a bucket list. But don’t stop with 10 things. Write a list of at least 150 things you would like to do, see, learn, eat or experience before you die. With a list that long you will have to get started today making your life full, interesting and fulfilling.
4. Plan trips and travel alone or invite friends to join you. Getting out and seeing the world enriches your life in ways a stable relationship never could. One isn’t better or worse they are just different.
5. Join meet up groups and take classes. Learn new things, make new friends and take on passion projects or service opportunities.
6. Get more exercise. I often ask clients to imagine their family disappeared and they were all alone in the world, what would they be doing with their time. On the top of everyone’s list is more exercise. Those are the things you need to be doing now. Spend all the time you would be putting into a relationship, taking care of yourself.
7. Eat better, be healthy and make self-care a priority. Did you know singles are more likely to be fit and healthy than people in relationships? They eat better and get more exercise. One study showed singles gained an average of 14 or more pounds when they started a relationship and singles get more sleep too.
8. Focus on what you do have. Practice gratitude daily. See the magic and beauty in the small things of life.
9. Work on your home space and make it your own. Decorate and create a space where you love to be.
10. Remember that nothing lasts forever. Every chapter of your life changes eventually. When life is dark you can count on it — the next light chapter is coming because nothing lasts.
Claim your power to choose your attitude moment by moment each day. Choose joy, choose to focus on the good in your life and count the small blessings. Even if it means choosing joy for just five minutes at a time.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are the human behavior experts behind www.12.shapes.com. They host a weekly Relationship Radio show
This was first published on KSL.com
I am going through a divorce and it’s really depressing to be here over Christmas. I haven’t even had it in me to put up the tree. It’s the worst time of year to feel alone. Do you have any advice for how to make this a Merry Holiday when I’m lonely?
That is a hard situation to be in, but you must decide now if you are going to give into the sadness story or reject that thinking and choose to focus on the positive. You may have to make this choice every five minutes, as the sadness might creep back in, but you can do it and it gets easier with practice. Here are fourteen ways you can make your holiday season easier to get through.
1. Focus on what you do have — not what you don’t have.
How you feel is directly tied to how you're thinking about your situation. Focus on gratitude for everything you have every day. Take some time and write them in a journal each day if necessary.
2. Focus on self-care.
All that time and energy you would be spending on someone else, you can now spend on loving and caring for yourself. Take advantage of this and treat yourself extra good. Take bubble baths, get massages, buy great lotions and some fresh clothes (use the money you would have spent on presents for a significant other).
3. Don’t create a story around loss or victimhood.
And don’t dwell on the fact that you don’t have anyone to kiss under the mistletoe. That depressing storyline is an attitude option, but it’s not your only choice. You could choose to feel whole, happy and fulfilled. You really can. The one thing you always have power over is your thoughts. Think happy, whole, fulfilled thoughts about how great your life is. If negative story comes in, thank it for showing up with an opinion, but no, thank you.
4. Plan activities with family and friends.
Don’t sit home. Plan things you want to do and invite people to join you. Schedule in all your down time with activities you enjoy.
5. Do service.
When you focus on others, you forget about your problems. There are lots of wonderful places to volunteer and donate time around the holidays or you might pick a cause to work or gather donations or gifts for them.
6. Make sure you get lots of exercise, eat well and sleep.
These three things help all of us have more balanced mental and emotional health. If you feel down, go for a walk, get outside and move, or make yourself a healthy meal. These are important areas of self-care that make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself and life.
7. Get a great book to read over the holidays.
Getting lost in a wonderful adventure or interesting storyline, keeps you from dwelling on your own life too much.
8. If family gatherings help you, then go.
But if they make you feel worse, don’t go. Don’t attend anything from obligation.
Instead, go out with upbeat friends or plan a party and invite everyone (who has nowhere to go or feels awkward) to join you. Some people call these “A Misfit Toys party”, but we would rather think of them as “Celebrate your perfect classroom even if it’s nonconventional parties”.
9. Create brand new traditions.
If the old ones don’t work right now, don’t create a sad story around that. Decide to create new interesting traditions and decide they will be just as good, just different.
10. Limit the alcohol.
Even though it can numb sad feelings, in the end it will leave you feeling more depressed. Eating healthy and working out would serve you more. Plan fun activities and get high on life, being with friends or having adventures.
11. When the inevitable questions begin about what you’re doing and are you dating, have a response ready that is positive and happy.
You might say you have decided to focus on loving yourself right now and it’s been really good for you. Or have a joke planned and then quickly start asking questions about them and keep them talking as long as possible. If you keep the focus off your life completely by asking questions about everyone else, the parties will be easier.
12. Buy yourself some awesome presents that are just what you wanted.
Get out of town. Sometimes the best way to handle the holidays is to plan a trip and skip the whole thing all together. Go on a fun adventure, a cruise or trip and focus on pampering yourself while you’re there.
13. If tears come, let yourself have a limited amount of time to cry it out.
Cry really good and loud and let all the pain out. You will be amazed at how much better you feel.
14. Watch funny movies, comedians or YouTube videos.
Laugh as much as possible! This really helps you stay upbeat, especially after that good cry.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are relationship and human behavior experts, authors and speakers. They host Relationship Radio every Thursday on VoiceAmerica.com Empowerment Channel.
This was first published on ksl.com
I've met a guy who I am crazy about and we have been on two dates. I don't expect a third date because I haven't heard from him since. How can I truly find a way to recognize my value in the face of rejection? Do I just continue to trust the classroom and hope eventually I find a fulfilling and meaningful relationship? Any advice you can give me would be gratefully received. Could you write about how your techniques can specifically be applied to dating? I'm sure there are enough single readers out there who would benefit.
Dating is a fear-inducing experience, and rejection is an unavoidable part of the experience. Constant rejection can be hard on your self-worth and create discouragement and disappointment about life in general. (I know this because I was a single adult myself only five years ago.)
There is no other activity, except maybe looking for a job or selling something, that brings as many opportunities to experience our two deepest darkest fears: the fear of failure — the fear that we might not be good enough; and the fear of loss — the fear that our life won’t be good enough.
The good news is you can lessen these fears and actually enjoy dating and meeting people. Dating doesn’t have to be scary or painful if you can change the way you see yourself and life, and adopt a more fearless mindset. Making this change starts by understanding two inaccurate perceptions about yourself and life that create our fear. Let me explain both of them and how to change them.
1. You think your value as a human being can change. You fear rejection because you think — at the subconscious level — that what other people think of you affects your value as a person. This means if they don’t like you, you must not have much value. You also subconsciously think your value is based on things like your appearance, performance and property. This makes you compare yourself to others and feel constantly afraid you aren’t quite good enough. But this idea is only belief or perspective; it isn't truth.
You can change your perspective and adopt another idea as truth instead. This new mindset will make you feel better about yourself and help you create better relationships. The mindset I recommend says, your value as a human being is unchangeable, infinite and absolute. It is not based on your appearance, performance or property and is not affected by what anyone thinks of you. You also have the same intrinsic value as every other soul on the planet and this value never ever changes for any of us.
Adopting this mindset would mean just because a few people aren’t interested in dating you doesn’t change your value as a person and it doesn't diminish your life in any way. You are the same good person on your right journey through life whether they like you or not.
You can choose to let rejection crush your self-esteem if you want to, but you don’t have to. You can choose to see yourself as bulletproof and trust that no person and no experience can diminish you. You can choose to trust that your value isn’t on the line and therefore, there is nothing to fear.
You can experience rejection as nothing more than a sign that that person wasn’t the right one for you and it doesn’t matter which one of you realized that first. The truth is still the same: this person is the wrong one. And, you really don’t want a relationship with the wrong person anyway, so you aren’t losing anything. You are fine without the wrong person in your life.
This will take some practice to adopt, but it will change how you feel.
2. You think your life journey can be ruined or thrown off track. This is the second inaccurate belief causing you trouble. You subconsciously believe that life is chaotic, random and meaningless and that other people can literally ruin your journey or make it less than it “should” be.
Again, this is just a belief, idea or perspective; it isn’t truth. You could choose to believe you are on the planet to learn and grow, life is a classroom and the universe is a wise teacher that works with your agency to cocreate with you the perfect classroom for you. If you trusted the universe like this, you would believe it’s literally conspiring to bless, educate and improve you with every experience that happens. Every experience you have is here to serve your growth. Everything has meaning and is here for a reason — at least this is a perspective option you could choose if you want to.
This mindset would mean that if a relationship with a specific person is your perfect classroom right now that relationship will happen. If it’s not your perfect classroom it won’t happen and either way your journey will be the right one for you that will most help you to learn and grow best. If you are single right now there is a reason for that. If you are married it’s because that classroom serves you most right now. That is the reason all things happen.
Every experience is a lesson and your value — as an irreplaceable, incomparable, unique human soul — never changes. Every dating experience serves you with perfect lessons that bless your life and teach you things, but none of them affect your value.
You are going to need to internalize these principles though, so they can change how you feel about every aspect of the dating adventure. I have a Fearless Dating Reading Assignment you can download from my website, and I recommend you do it and read it three times a day. Or you can record yourself reading it on your phone and listen to it three times a day. If you want to really supercharge it, have some classical music playing in the background.
Then, the more you consciously choose to trust that your value isn’t changeable and your journey is always safe, perfect and right on track, choosing to see everything as a lesson, the more confident and happy you will become. This will also make you more and more attractive to others.
Choose to stay optimistic that the right person is coming your way and will arrive right on time when it will serve you most. Until then, be happy in the here and now. Buddha said, “It is your resistance to what is, that causes your suffering.”
Embrace “what is” (your current situation) as your perfect experience right now and have fun there. This will also draw people toward you and make your life more fulfilling.
Also, as much as you can choose to focus on edifying others, encouraging and lifting them and making friends — and stop worrying about yourself and your fears — this will also help with your fear.
I know dating can be discouraging and disappointing, but every day you get to choose if you will focus on what’s wrong and feel lonely and depressed, or count your blessing, trust the universe and make today fun and happy. Focus on gratitude and choose happy!
You can do this.
I have been divorced for 21 years and I am not sure how to date anymore. I gave up dating to raise my kids. What do I do to put myself out there and start dating again? It’s a terrifying idea and I could use some advice. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone.
Dating only feels scary because you lack confidence, but you can gain confidence through changing your mindset around the whole thing.
I know how to do this because I’ve been in your shoes. I was lost in the single’s scene only three years ago. The whole things was outside my comfort zone and I was leery about rejection, which is an unavoidable part of the experience. I wasn’t sure my self-esteem could handle it.
Almost everyone experiences these kinds of fears around dating. There is no other activity (except maybe looking for a job or selling something) that brings as many opportunities to experience your deepest darkest fear — that you might not be good enough.
The good news is, you can overcome this fear. Dating doesn’t have to be scary or painful at all. When you change the way you see yourself, the whole experience will change dramatically.
You probably have two inaccurate perceptions about yourself that must be corrected right now:
1. You think your value is on the line. You fear rejection because you think it means something relative to your value. It doesn’t.
Just because a few people aren’t interested in dating you doesn’t change your value. You are the same good person whether they like you or not. You can choose to experience rejection as a self-esteem crushing experience if you want to, but you don’t have to. You can choose to see yourself as bulletproof and trust that nothing can diminish you. You can choose to trust that your value isn’t on the line and, therefore, there is nothing to fear.
2. You think what other people think of you matters. It doesn’t. You are the same you no matter what anyone else thinks. Their opinions can’t change you or diminish you in any way, unless you let them. You must not give this destructive fear any power over you anymore.
When you can see these two things clearly you will have a healthier mindset for dating. Review the following points often (like, every day) to maintain a clear, accurate mindset:
Clarity mindset for dating
I asked my husband why he was attracted to me when we first met at a single adult activity. He said my confidence is what set me apart. Confidence (a lack of fear) is very attractive. If you show up this way you will experience less rejection.
When you choose to focus on edifying others and making friends (and you stop worrying about yourself and your fears), it will become a fun and uplifting experience.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of Claritypoint Life Coaching. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self-esteem. Listen to her Self Esteem CPR Workshop at www.claritypointcoaching.com
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.