The Single Scoop: Encouragement for Singles

When I was writing articles on various topics for encouragement this month, I thought of all the singles I know who are in need of encouragement. There is a mindset, or a panic, that there “has to be someone out there” who you just haven’t met and the time clock is ticking. It starts somewhere in your 20s and definitely on the megaphone from all by your 30s because “aren’t you going to have a family?”. By 40, it really seems to be “too late” unless you’ve decided to compromise to live a life with another within all of the various, new-found creative forms of marriage. For many, they meet someone special and live the happy life. Those are most of your friends. The ones you bought a beautiful present for, perfect for the couple, bought straight off the registry list for their wedding and enjoyed a delicious piece of buttercream frosted cake, while just knowing—just knowing, with one sip of the champagne glass that your turn is NEXT. Gosh by golly, you even caught the bouquet twice, and doesn’t that mean something?!?

The single life, while it has its benefits of independency—and some freedoms to come and go as you please, or buy things with maybe a little more leeway, decorate yourself and your housing with a little more personality based on your preferences, for example—can be fun as well as have plenty of lonely moments of going for the Ben & Jerry’s, single-size carton, as you wallow yourself in self-pity, one gigantic spoonful at a time, just trying to wade through misery moments of ‘one’ of having to do absolutely everything yourself including carrying all the burdens on one set of shoulders. Keep in mind, some of us have it worse, stalked by thousands of remote stalkers not just invading your personal life, but the shower, car, work, balance in your bank account, and telling everyone of which flavor of Ben and Jerry’s you finally decided on and sharing everything and anything more intimate as well just to be the scoop, all at your humiliation. On the upside, single-hood, is a time for self-exploration and a time for freedom and fun. With the freedom single-hood offers, singles tend to have more energy. With this energy and less commitments, singles can spread kindness to others probably even more so than married couples or families.

Staying encouraged as a single can be tough at times. This is where a dose of kindness can be helpful with a few kind words. The single begins to frantically analyze what the problem is. Is it my appearance?…Many books and magazines have suggestions for how to groom yourself for the ‘right one’. There are all sorts of products on the shelf and accessories which are sure to market yourself. There is self-confidence which comes with self-care and wanting to look presentable. However, more effective is spending time developing you! Is it my social skills?…Singles can find encouragement by finding other singles to be around. They can find encouragement through volunteer work and thus increasing feelings of self-worth. They can also find encouragement with self-improvement activities and learning new skills and hobbies. Is it my age?…Much of staying encouraged when you feel ‘you are being left behind’ is by looking at what you have instead of what you don’t have.

A lot of unhappiness comes from jealously. There is no use dwelling on a time clock that just can’t seem to match ‘the schedule’. Finding ways to refocus instead of drowning in misery can help escape from these melancholy moments. It may not be your time yet. Times are different now and living the independent life is more of the standard than relationships which are ‘out’ of style unless it is a quick encounter. After all, we have our electronic devices as our daily companions and ‘more options is best’ is the way which appeases many. Maybe it is time to see how to reinvent the meaning of in-person, ‘human relationships’ and from there be encouraged as singles to find ‘someone’ as the one.


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Encourage a Single

Do you know someone who is single? Along with being free of attachments, comes the burden of having to take care of all the to-do items by yourself, make decisions, and be self-reliable. While most singles are able to juggle their loads just fine, there are situations which arise where having an extra person to call upon in the case of an emergency is a relief. Even in the world of technology where we have almost any service available online, there are times when being able to rely on a friend is easier and more personable in times of trial. If you know a single person, consider offering to be a person available who they can call on in times like this.

Singles have the opportunity to have the time of their life. They can pickup and go places, make decisions on the spur of the moment and change plans at the drop of a hat. There is not a curfew time to be home by, no reason to not splurge now and then, and there are plenty of people to meet at many single social functions to attend. However, despite this, singles can become very lonely in a world filled with families and couples. Eating at a restaurant may not be as fun if there is no one available to eat with. Going to an event requires trying to find others who have the same interest who want to attend. Holidays with the family might be a challenge having to explain why there isn’t another half there. When the day is over, the home is one of one. Although much of this is enjoyed, not having a family to be part of can add to loneliness. Singles can get caught up in these lonely moments which can spiral the desire for a family or companionship into a dark tunnel of despair. One way families can encourage singles is by inviting them to join in at family events occasionally. A single can contribute to a family with their enthusiasm, energy, and experiences. Likewise, a family can rejuvenate a single with a feeling of love and belonging, a good meal, and a the warmth of a family atmosphere.

How can you encourage a single? Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer a hand with a move.
  • Spend time.
  • Invite a single person to join you for a meal.
  • Lend an ear to listen.
  • Offer to babysit the children of single parents.
  • Offer to let a single friend take your child out on an outing for the day.
  • Give a single friend your phone number and e-mail address for emergencies.
  • Offer a single person a ride to get their car fixed or to the airport.
  • Offer a hand to help on home projects which need repair or home-improvement.
  • Tell them they are important as a “1” in a world of 2s.
  • Give hope! Be kind!

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The Power of Encouragement at Work

As I was at the library recently, I found a book which I started thumbing through which had several inspirational messages about encouragement and teamwork. Encouragement really is about having an optimistic outlook and perspective, whether it is for ourselves or others. Encouragement always focuses on the positive with the intent to breathe energy and bring hope to a situation. Here are three takeaways from the book, The Power of a Positive Team by Jon Gordon:

Cheer each other on. When you encourage each other, you make one another stronger and you make the team stronger.

Reframe your thoughts as you ‘get to’ rather than you ‘have to’. Whatever you think might be tedious, or a drudgery, can be endured easier when you change your thought process that you ‘get to’ do it and see it as an opportunity rather than an obligation. There are probably others who exist who do not get the chance to do whatever you might ‘have to do’.

Failures are just part of the road. Look past failures to what you are becoming. Challenges are opportunities for growth. Sometimes it may take failing many times before reaching a goal. The story isn’t finished yet.

@cultureofkind


Find books on encouragement that work! Search for these online…

Featured Book
The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams 

by Jon Gordon

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Encouraging a New Venture: Helium of Encouraging Words

Do you know someone who might be embarking on a new vision or journey? Can you join them with your enthusiasm? Encouragement is one way to spread kindness showing another person you care. By taking time to listen and learn about what goals others have, you can help cheer them on. When we join in celebrating successes we add to encouragement. Belief in others can make things happen beyond whatever is imagined. The power of encouragement can move mountains, give renewed energy, and make hope soar again.

Encouraging words of support can remind a person of a vision and breathe enthusiasm into a deflated spirit. Perceived failures are just one point along a path. When it seems that all is loss, often it is those who have been cheering us on all along, who can sustain us, with a reminder to keep going. They are the hand which lifts us up when we start to question ourselves.

Encouragement is also found within. While we should encourage each other, each of us has a voice inside where belief in ourselves resides. Through prayer and meditation we can find internal encouragement knowing that what is beyond us can help us achieve what we desire.

New ventures can bring excitement and nervous anticipation. Having support from encouraging people helps through hurdles in the most challenging and discouraging stages. No matter what the venture, positive energy and belief in people and ideas can go a long way in reaching goals. Having support of people who contribute with enthusiasm, openness and positive words to new ideas can be revolutionary in making things happen. What you say matters.

Who can you encourage?

Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness
Be Cultured. Be Kind.
Encourage Someone.


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Do You Have the Job Search Blues?

Being in a job search can be difficult, especially if it goes on for a long period of time. While it seems that jobs are easy to find, many applicants can send out countless applications and never be discovered. While the Internet has made job searching easier in some ways, it is just as easy to get lost in the thousands of applications being received by employers. Online job application forms may be more complicated than necessary requiring pages of information to be filled out and duplicating resume information already uploaded. Doing this for one company is one thing, but by the time you’ve hit 80,000 job applications, you’re looking for the email address for the saintly company who just would like you to email the resume and give them your phone number.

There is plenty of time to learn, network, and do things during the day which you may not have had time for before. The first few months can be new found freedom, but it soon gets old. With too much time available, a job seeker is left to figure out what to do with all of the time during the day. A person can hit despair fairly quickly without using their noggin’ to reinvent the day and creating mini-goals to keep on track. Here are a few ideas to ‘make it through’ the most difficult of days:

  • Get up reasonably early to find new energy with an entire day ahead of you.
  • Create a schedule. It helps to switch gears and have time limits set to accomplish tasks.
  • Make a goal list of what new skills you want to learn.
  • Practice and learn new skills each day. Create new work to add to your portfolio.
  • Make exercise as a mandatory part of your day.
  • Set aside time for prayer and meditation.
  • Listen to music.
  • Listen to motivational speakers.
  • Network with others who are in your field, as well as friends and family members.
  • If you become frustrated or lack motivation in your search for work, as is the case with some days, then give yourself permission to stop and do something completely different.
  • Take advantage of the time off to enjoy the outdoors, take a trip, explore and do things during the day you typically would not be able to do.
  • Find a hobby which you can enjoy. Check books out from the library.
  • Find another source of income with a part-time job or start your own business.
  • Change your environment and work elsewhere. Find new energy working at the library, a coffee shop, or another place.
  • Reward yourself with what is within budget. Treat yourself to a .50 cent soda, a slice of pizza, a bag of chocolate from the dollar store, or scavenger hunt at the stores for other discounts. For larger goals, make plans to treat yourself once you accomplish them.
  • Add “house projects” as part of your schedule—those projects you’ve been putting off.
  • Clean and organize your house, storage areas, and car. It will make you feel so much better and help streamline your time when you are employed again.
  • Volunteer.
  • Search for local events and workshops to attend.
  • Set aside job applications which are overly frustrating. These are the ones which are too involved or ones which are a struggle to fill out because the data fields do not easily take information. Set them aside until later or bypass them all together.
  • Be sure to plan for unemployment calls which have intricate voicemail systems or long hold times. Set aside time when you are doing something else and don’t mind holding on the phone. Make it a time to relax with a favorite drink or by the pool when you aren’t rushed. These types of calls can cause undue amounts of frustration and add to an already existing feeling of despair.
  • Remember that as important as finding employment is, your value as a person is not determined by your search or by others. Be diligent, but think of the bigger picture when hopelessness and despair starts to creep in.

By doing these things you can encourage yourself and fight the job search blues!

Do you know someone in a job search?
Offer positive words to reinforce their value and give them hope. Spending time with a job seeker doing something low-cost or free can help break up the monotony of being in isolation and give them new energy. Keep your ears open for job leads which you can pass on to them. 

@cultureofkind


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Kindness for Kids through Belief and Involvement

“Way to go!”, “Give me a high-five!” When kids receive praise, they know they’ve done a good job and it encourages them to “keep up the good work!”. Kids beam when they receive accolades for their achievements and it encourages future good work. Kids need positive reinforcement, especially initially, until they develop their own voice of self-encouragement by believing in themselves. At any age, it always feels good to receive encouragement and praise and can be a positive force for inspiration for further endeavors.

Likewise, a child may feel dejected because of struggles with achievement or being unaccepted by peers. It is important that parents and teachers be on the lookout for signs of this and encourage them with “well, it didn’t go as planned, but let’s look at the positive take-aways and be optimistic at what the future holds”. Encouraging a child to persevere and move past discouragement teaches optimism, self-respect, self-esteem building, and perseverance. Children need to learn to look beyond the current moment of trial as an area of transition and look at the overall picture of life with new moments to look forward to. Additionally, some children without these perseverance skills or healthy support systems may feel suicidal. Parents and teachers need to look for those kids who are facing despair and reach out to them to find out what is going on. Besides encouraging them, you might as very well be saving a life!

@cultureofkind


Books to encourage…Amazon reads

Imagine What a Little Encouragement Can Do

“How are you?”. As a variation of “Hello”, this greeting is heard many times a day with very little thought or meaning behind it for most people.  The reply “Fine” might not always be the complete truth but enough to move on to other conversation topics. Imagine if this greeting could be expressed with true meaning and empathy to all we encounter.

Everyone has struggles, some greater than others. Anything from being late to work because of car problems, having a sick family member, personal illness, job loss, feelings of inadequacy, seemingly unsurmountable challenges, a shattering divorce, or other tragedies— whatever the personal tragedy of the moment is, we have a responsibility to encourage one another and bring hope. Burdens can be lifted with words of hope and cheer and alleviate spirits weighed down by disappointment, discouragement, embarrassment, and hopelessness.

Being present with open ears and undivided attention is an invaluable gift you can give to someone who is struggling. By listening a person quietly steps into the realm of encouragement bringing a dose of compassion. Talking through struggles can help lighten burdens and even can be a way to work through solving problems. Even a person without any experience in counseling can provide empathy by just listening.

The basis of encouragement is reassurance and reinforcement. It is the belief that someone can be more than what is imagined possible. It is the belief that even with impossible situations alternative viable solutions can be found. It is cheering on the deflated spirit, adding light to the fading wick of will, to regenerate energy for new hope. It is providing a little relief by being there to help someone push forward out of the rut. Reaching out to others with words of encouragement spreads kindness. It looks outside of self in concern of another to re-channel the focus toward positive energy and hope.

Words of encouragement state words of beliefs such as “I know” telling someone that “it will” be because you know it can be. It is addressing failure or a challenge as not being the stopping point but a valley from which one can provide hope for another heading up again toward the next high point or goal.

Can you find someone who needs to be lifted up today and cheer them on?

@cultureofkind


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The Joy of Encouragement: Unlock the Power of Building Others Up
by David Jeremiah

Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living

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Encouragement Changes Everything: Bless and Be Blessed
by
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