Tag: motivation

Overcoming Loneliness: Ways to Stay Balanced and Optimistic About the Future

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been numerous studies and conversations surrounding the epidemic of loneliness. Even before covid, people were becoming increasingly isolated due to social media, technology, cellphones (texting instead of talking), depression, grief, and other reasons.

Post-pandemic, a lot of people are really feeling the struggle when it comes to being alone almost all the time, including those who have found no other choice than to quarantine and avoid meeting up with others. Experts have revealed that loneliness could have numerous effects on people, including physical and mental health issues, if this lifestyle isn’t managed properly.

We can forge better relationships with friends and family so that we increase the possibilities of having meaningful social interactions now and in the future. At the same time, unfortunately, we can’t force people to spend more time with us to “cure” our loneliness. But we can learn how to get more comfortable with being alone and enjoying our own company over time. Here are a few tips for how we can overcome feelings of loneliness and sadness, and think more optimistically for the future.

Maintain High Standards for Yourself

I talk about this in my book Sing While You’re Single. No matter how low, alone, or sad you may feel, strive to maintain a certain standard for yourself (personal hygiene and looks) and the place where you live (keeping it tidy, organized, and smelling good). Even if it’s just brushing and flossing your teeth meticulously each day or wiping down your kitchen counter so that it gleams. Just do it, it’s for you. You might feel lonely every now and again, but at least you can look good and feel good in your home—make it your Oasis.

Be Good to the Good People You Still Have in Your Life

Nearly a decade ago I was angry and resentful of pretty much everyone in my life because I felt that they abandoned me in my time of need.

Well, you know what? I had to get over that because it was making me increasingly isolated and even more angry at life and people. That approach wasn’t working. So, I began to study Universal principles and listen to motivational speakers and authors. It calmed me and gave me some sense of hope. I worked on myself and forgave whoever I thought wronged me. Truth be told, most people do not care if you are mad at them. Some don’t even know. There is no point hanging onto negative feelings about others—instead, focus on the decent people you know or encounter and build better relationships with them.

Be About Your Business

It is difficult to feel lonely, unhappy, and caught up in negative thoughts when you are busy with something that you are passionate about. Get busy doing something that you love, whether it is working on a plan to generate extra income, studying your craft to become a high-end expert, or working on your artwork.

Remember though: everything in moderation. Avoid becoming a workaholic to the point where you lose yourself or get distracted from other aspects of living well, such as preparing healthy meals, getting exercise, and staying in touch with loved ones.

Continue to Actively Participate in the World

Feelings of loneliness are exacerbated when you start to isolate yourself in your home and not actively participate in the world. Make efforts to go outside as much as possible and stay active. You can take a walk in a park with an ice-cold Snapple or smoothie, go to a shopping center even just to window shop, or just go outside your house and have a short conversation with a neighbor.

Just make every effort to go outside and interact with the world in some way. Breathe in the fresh air. Regular exercise outdoors is renewing and invigorating. See if there may be an outdoor fitness class you can join that allows for proper social distancing or find a quiet, safe place where you can practice yoga stretches.

Recognize When You’re Talking to Your Higher Power

When you feel like you may be talking to yourself, it might really be that you’re talking to your Higher Power, a guardian angel, or maybe a loved one who passed. I don’t think you are really alone if you believe that. Deep down you know that someone who cares about you is listening. Be comforted by that when you are feeling lonely.

It Takes Time to Get Used to Being with Yourself

It can take months or years before you finally become comfortable with just being alone with yourself, whether it’s at home cooking, going to an outdoor restaurant by yourself for a special meal, or just going for a walk on the beach. But there’s a good chance that you might learn to like it: the peace of not having to entertain other people’s personalities or proclivities and just do whatever YOU want.

Sometimes when I am with others, I look forward to getting back to my solitude, peace, and calm. I love myself, I like myself, and I enjoy spending time alone. But that took time.

Despite a number of personal tragedies that were out of my control, I am still optimistic that things can get better. You may be able to relate. This “epidemic of loneliness” does not have to become our new normal. I believe that we can return to having stronger connections with others while also being safe and responsible. We take things day by day, step by step, show genuine care for ourselves and our loved ones, and focus on positive thoughts for the future.

Love Lynn

Do You Want to Be a Weed or a Plant?

When I’m out tending to my garden all types of ideas and revelations come to me. One issue that I find to be most time consuming is the act of pulling weeds.

I have no idea where these weeds come from. They just sort of appear out of nowhere. In some cases they pop up overnight. Weeds sometimes grow when there’s no sun or water. Some varieties spread their seeds liberally as a way of trying to "take over." They are almost like parasites, taking resources (sun, fertilizer, water, nutrients in the soil) but never really giving much back to the world.

On the other hand you have plants. Plants get their name because they were specifically seeded by a farmer or gardener. They are needed and wanted. They take resources but they also give something back to the world, in the form of healthy food, beautiful smells or colorful flowers.

So the thought that came to my mind on this particular day was how some people are like weeds and others are beautiful plants. What type of people do you have around you? And which one would you want to be?

Weeds…
Weeds spread and propagate on their own. No one (except agricultural experts) really knows where they come from. They blow with the wind and land where they may. When they do settle into a spot, they dig in and get comfortable, not caring who the land belongs to or if they’re welcome. They just grow and grow, take and take, without much of a purpose or benefit to the landscape. Some theorize that they help protect soul by covering the ground, but they don’t seem to care if that ground is already occupied with plants or grass. They can impede the growth of plants. I liken them to an unwelcome distant relative coming into someone’s living room and putting their muddy boots up on the brand new couch.

Plants
Plants, like vegetables or flowers, have a clear purpose for being. They flourish and grow so that they can be a blessing to others. They stand tall and confidently, basking in the sunlight. They feed people with healthy nutrition (and bees with nectar).

Yes, plants are used up, and they will eventually wither away, but they leave behind valuable seeds that regrow and flourish year after year. The fruit and seeds that they produce are valued and cherished indefinitely into the future. They help people become and feel healthy, and have even been known to heal diseases. People will pay a pretty penny for a good piece of fruit or a beautiful flower.

So do you get the analogy? Unlike vegetation, we humans are blessed with the choice to be more like a weed or like a plant. We can be a blessing to the world instead of being a burden.

We have the choice to take the seed that God planted in each of us and let it flourish, so that it can be a blessing to the world.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Watching TV Is an Escape… and a Potential Trap – Here’s Why #LoveLynn

I read a post recently that said you spend 12 years getting a basic education, four years in college and then the rest of your life working hard to pay bills.

When you put it like that life sounds pretty depressing doesn’t it? But the fact of the matter is that people *choose* this as their life — it doesn’t have to be that way.

Some people do what they love for the rest of their life. Some people choose to live an extremely modest life so that they can pursue their art instead of working at a job. Some people work 10 years then retire and travel the world. They all made a different decision.

Is Too Much TV Zapping the Life Out of Your Goals?
One of my mentors in my head, Zig Ziglar, said that one of the reasons why many people aren’t successful is that they spend too much time watching television. I had to take a look at my own schedule and admit that he was absolutely right. Whenever I turn on the TV, it’s like the hours fly by and I’ve barely gotten anything done. When I turn it off, I get so much work done.

Here’s an important question to ask yourself this week — how many hours per day do you spend watching television?

Television is a mental escape for many people. It allows them to take a temporary vacation from real life and visit the lives of others. Except in most cases those others are simply actors playing a role (not real). Even though we know they are actors, we often shape our lives and our thoughts based on what we see daily on television and in the media. That’s why I say it’s a potential trap, because in addition to losing time, you could lose yourself in the images you’re watching.

Watching TV vs Sleeping
I have a theory that the time you spend watching TV would probably be better spent sleeping. That’s because when you watch TV you’re in a sort of a mental sleep anyway, except that you are exposed to so many messages from the outer world that could be negatively affecting your life.

When you watch TV you are exposing yourself to the mindset and opinions of the writers of the show you’re watching. In many ways they shape public opinion and also how you perceive the world. That’s why it’s so important to evaluate what you allow yourself and your children to watch.

When you watch TV you also expose yourself to commercials that influence your behavior. How many times have you seen a fast food commercial on television and hours later or the next day you’re going through the drive thru, breaking your diet goals.

So I would say that sleeping for the same amount of hours per day that you watch TV would be preferable. Why? Because when you sleep you are regenerating your cells, rejuvenating your body, dreaming and exposing yourself to your own mind. It’s a chance to get in touch with your thoughts and possibly become inspired to do something really special with your life. Maybe you’ll even come up with an idea that will allow you to have a much better life story then just going to school for 16 years and working at a job you don’t really like for the rest of your life.

Not all TV is bad. Some programs and movies inspire and educate. But unfortunately the majority are solely designed to entertain and get the biggest audience so that money will be made. They aren’t written with your best interest in mind.

An Even Better Choice
Truth be told, neither sleeping nor watching television is the best use of those precious hours if you want to avoid a humdrum existence. I believe those hours are best spent working on your talent, trying new things, meeting new like-minded people and discovering your purpose. I don’t think our Higher Power intended for us to use them watching other people “live” in television, or just sleeping the day away.

A Different Perspective
This post is not meant to be judgmental — it’s meant to give you a different perspective on your day and on how you choose to design your life. If you’re not satisfied with the idea of working hard at a job until you can’t work anymore, then it’s up to you to change that narrative. It starts with making better use of the precious hours you’re given — the sooner the better.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Everyone Has an “Unfair” Advantage — What’s Yours? #LoveLynn

Have you ever been envious of another person’s talents or perceived advantages? Such as really good looks? Extreme intelligence? Or artistic ability?

I’ll be the first to admit it, yes! I remember in high school there was a guy who was ridiculously smart and always #1 in every single one of my honors classes. No one could ever beat him at any assignment… it was uncanny. Though I also had a good class rating, I was still envious of his effortless intelligence.

Another example. I had a friend who had a natural ability to attract new friends and people around her. If I brought someone new to meet her, they would almost always fall in love with her and want to see her even more than me!

You might call these types of skills and traits “unfair advantages” and bemoan the fact that you don’t have them. But the truth of the matter is that everyone has at least one “unfair” advantage over others. Do you know yours?

One of my unfair advantages is my ability to write off the cuff — an idea will pop in my mind and I’ll write an entire blog post about it in about 15 minutes. Another is my ability to tell a good story. I naturally know how to use cadence, timing and eye contact to engage and amuse someone with a story. When I write a story, I write it in a way that allows you to visualize each scene in your mind, like a movie.

So have you figured out one of your unfair advantages yet? Is it cooking a specific dish? Is it that children are naturally drawn to you? Is it that you’re an interesting tweeter? Is it your wit or sense of humor? Are you photogenic no matter where you take a picture?

Or maybe it’s that you can sense what someone else is feeling without them saying a word?

Maybe once you identify your “unfair” advantages, you won’t feel the need to envy the advantages that others possess. Maybe you’ll begin to understand that they aren’t actually unfair, but a powerful God-given trait that you’re meant to use to make a positive change in this world.

You are enough, and YOU MATTER.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Going Against the Grain or Going Along to Get Along?

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
– Mark Twain

Have you ever gone along with something, whether it was an idea, an action or a joke just because most of your friends or family members agree with it?

Yet something deep down inside tells you that something’s not quite right. That is your intuition talking to you, but unfortunately sometimes we ignore that voice. We choose the path of least resistance and just go along to get along.

Going against the grain (a euphemism for going one way when everyone else is going the other way) seems too difficult a task at first. You may have to deal with ridicule or judgment for your choices. Wouldn’t it just be easier to just agree with everyone and go with the crowd?

But there is SO much freedom in going against the grain when it’s warranted. For one, your conscience is FREE, because you know deep down that you’re doing the right thing. And you’re also freeing yourself from the mental slavery that comes with “group think.” The more people who go along with a certain belief, thought, obsession or action, the tougher it is to resist joining the ranks.

When I first decided that I would work for myself and own my own business, many of the people around me laughed and judged me. I frequently heard “why don’t you just go get a *real* job?” Today many of those same people struggle in careers they don’t really like. I decided to go against the grain, and I love what I do. It’s not always easy work being an entrepreneur, but I earn, have freedom AND I’m able to express my creativity every day.

People are always trying to impose their views and opinions on others — you have the free will and right to not agree if you wish. Exercise that free will at every and any opportunity!

Don’t ever be afraid to go against the grain when necessary. Your skin might get “prickled” a little along the way, but you may look up soon enough to clearly see that you chose the right path for YOU.

Love Lynn

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Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Success Rarely Happens Overnight (Don’t Stomp on Your Sprouts)

Say one day you decide to plant a sunflower. After 2 weeks, there’s a tiny sprout. After 3 weeks there’s even more of a sprout but not quite a sunflower yet.

Do you give up on your sunflower, yell at the sun, stomp on the dirt and pour antifreeze over the sprout because it hasn’t become a full grown flower yet?

Or are you encouraged by the small bit of progress, and continue to water and feed your soon-to-be flower?

Choosing the first option sounds RIDICULOUS doesn’t it? Yet people do that all the time to their goals, dreams and pursuits of success. You make a bit of progress, but it’s not enough, so you abandon the whole thing after a short while. You don’t see the “fruit” from your efforts quickly enough, so you pour antifreeze all over your plans and scream at the sky.

One of the questions in my book Why Doesn’t He Love Me? is “Why do good things take so long to happen for me?”

We tend to be very impatient about progress. We want results now, or even better YESTERDAY.

Well a fact of life is that success takes time — it rarely happens overnight!

Pursuing a goal is like planting a seed in the ground. You water it, feed it and let the sun bless it. It grows slowly and perfectly until one day there’s a beautiful flower in the dirt.

And each seed has its own timeline. Some will be ready for harvest in just a few weeks, while others (like bushes and trees) take years to fully mature.

How many times have you given up on a new workout or nutrition plan, just because you didn’t see flatter abs and less pounds on the scale in 2 or 3 weeks? (Sometimes days!) It takes months and years for a shift in your diet and exercise plan to show significant results, and consistency is key.

Have you ever tried to learn a new skill, like dancing, playing an instrument, or painting and after a short time gave up because you didn’t think you were good enough?

Do me a favor right now and look up the early/first paintings of iconic artists like Salvadore Dali, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Many famous artists didn’t start off painting “perfect” masterpieces. There was a progression in their art that came with time, practice and inspiration. The same is true for many of your favorite musicians and entertainers.

Then there are the trials of starting your own business. You opened the business and no one flooded through your doors the first week. That doesn’t mean you and your business idea is a failure! It means that more time is needed, more new ideas or maybe even a slight shift in your business plan. Steve Jobs didn’t turn Apple into a multibillion dollar corporation overnight — it took many years for him to finally get his footing.

And sometimes, some seeds just don’t ever turn into flowers for any number of reasons. Maybe the seed didn’t get enough water or the weather wasn’t warm enough. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or that you’re a failure — it simply means that you have to plant more seeds until you start to see some sprouts coming in. The soil’s still good! So keep planting.

“If you really believe in what you’re doing, work hard, take nothing personally and if something blocks one route, find another. Never give up.”
– Laurie Notaro

Don’t Stomp on Your Sprouts
If you are the type of person who gives up on your goals and dreams quickly, keep these words in mind:

Don’t stomp on your sprouts. Keep watering, watching over them and loving them instead — they need time and plenty of love to flourish.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.