LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF AND BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND.
So, despite your efforts to “lock-in” a secure future, the day comes when you have no choice but face the truth: You are alone. You have no family, no close friends, no job, very little savings, and your only means of support comes from a monthly- Social Security- check. There are no phone calls on Mother’s Day...no invitations to Thanksgiving Dinner…and…forget Christmas!
When I found myself in this situation, there was NOTHING I could change except…ME. It took time, patience, buckets of tears, thoughts of suicide, and wasted energy before I developed my “recipe” for living alone…without being lonely.
I truly believe my approach to overcoming loneliness can be adapted to everyone’s situation…whether you are male or female, rich or poor, old or young, physical active or….dependent on a wheelchair.
NUMBER ONE: YOU must FIRST “rise” to the occasion. By that I mean…you must be willing to struggle, to pull yourself out of the depths of loneliness… even when it hurts… before you can begin the long climb upward. For many, depression begins to feel like an “old friend”. Sometimes it seems easier to just do nothing and accept the familiar. STOP, RIGHT NOW…IF YOU EXPECT LIFE TO “FIX” your dilemma without YOU doing any work! NO ONE CAN FIX YOU….BUT YOU.
My solution for loneliness is directed at all people who are sick & tired of loneliness; for all those who are ready to conquer the negative feelings caused by loneliness; for everyone who is ready to learn about living alone---without feeling overwhelmed with loneliness!!!!
TWO: It’s time to look in the mirror and assess your appearance. Good posture tells the world you’re proud of who you are. If you’re not…then--for now--simply fake it….but get those shoulders back, tummy in, and hold your head up…like a Queen or a King. And SMILE…WITH CONFIDENCE! It won't be long before you won’t have to fake anything about yourself because---soon---you’ll be a believer!!!!
THREE: Fix what you don’t like about your appearance. Appearance is everything when presenting your-self to others. Start with a great haircut, something that makes you feel attractive. For women, a little makeup works wonders. I won't open my front door unless I'm wearing lipstick and have my hair brushed. Another requirement is to have “believably” white teeth. Also, if you have dental problems…find a good Dentist. If you live on a limited income…find a free or almost-free Dental Clinic…or work out a payment plan with an understanding Dentist. Most Dentists will work with patients, especially those with a significant problem. Don’t forget that Dental Schools always need patients for students to “work on”!
FOUR: Dress in classic clothes that accent your positives. If you don’t know how to bargain shop…then search through catalogs, dress shops, look at fashions on the internet….then go to the nearest thrift stores, bargain basements, or discount centers to find your size and what will look good on you. And…while your “out and about”…smile, be friendly with everyone, including those on the other side of the cash register. You never know when you’ll make a new contact…a new friend!
FIVE: Start walking, whether it’s around the block, then the next block….and so on…. OR the high school track, or a nearby trail, or---inside a Mall or a large store like a Walmart Super Store! If it makes you feel more secure, hold on to a shopping cart as you walk but…NO EXCUSES! WALK!
SIX: Every morning…search your memory bank for a "HAPPY" song or hymn…either from your past or present…that you can sing….either out-loud or silently… and start humming it, singing it, and let that song stay with you all day! Some days...I sing LONG TALL SALLY or the hymn, IN THE GARDEN or you'll hear me singing GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN. REMEMBER: IT’S YOUR SONG FOR ONE DAY...ITS YOUR FOCUS. TOMORROW, YOUR ASSIGNMENT WILL BE TO START THE DAY WITH ANOTHER SONG AND DO THE EXACT SAME THING WITH THAT SONG…ALL DAY.
SEVEN: Start this very day to be friendly, courteous, and positive with all who cross your path. From the mailman to the grocer…you begin by striking up a conversation, asking someone how-they-are or…make a comment about the sunshine…the pretty trees…or compliment a person on their outfit, their kindness, or for their time in helping you!
EIGHT: Learn to “lose” yourself in active projects. Work in the yard, decorate your house, hang your just-washed clothes on the deck or patio-- rather than using the dryer. Change your schedule by---- visiting the local library regularly, joining a service organization like Rotary or Kiwanis with weekly meetings, volunteering at an animal shelter, hospital, or homeless shelter. DO NOT STAY HOME AND WATCH TV or “HANG-OUT ON THE COMPUTER”. All day, every day, you must be actively involved with the outside world. Focus on “sharing” yourself with others through a smile….a kind word or greeting…or by giving a hug or a loving pat to a lost or abandoned animal. Get involved by finding a loving home for an abandoned dog or cat.
NINE: If you don’t have pets at home…consider adopting or fostering a dog…or two or...a cat. My animals need me as much as I need them. We give each other love and…a million reasons to face every day and a million tomorrows.
TEN: Learn to love yourself. Never forget that a “little girl or little boy” lives inside each one of us. Our childhood memories remind us of all the fun times…the times when we played hopscotch or jacks…baseball…rode our bikes in the rain…swung from a bag-swing…made mud pies, climbed the Jungle-Jim, loved our dolls…even went to summer camps as Brownies and Cub Scouts.
Search through your memories for all those good times. Pat yourself on the back for all you’ve learned and accomplished. Shout “HURRAY” for all the good you’ve experienced and shared with others!
Remember all the times you were motivated to succeed. Think about what inspired you; what gave you hope and promise; what sparked your dreams. You’re never too old to activate a long-ago dream or to make a childhood wish come true.
Dreams and Wishes can be modified to fit today’s realities so…never toss them aside. It's NEVER TO LATE to make dreams come true!
Remember: It took me forty years to realize my dream of traveling The Great Wall of China so….never-say: “NEVER”!!!!!!
And...always stay close.