If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? I would change its heart. And we can. Keep an open mind. Give people benefit of the doubt. Be kind to people without expecting anything in return. Stand up for people without a voice. Listen to people who need it. Speak to people who are lonely. Love more. Hate less. That’s how we can save the world from being swallowed up in darkness.
To many of us, Christmas is a time for family, love and laughter. But for some, Christmas is no different to any other time of the year, as loneliness and isolation presses on their lives, minds and hearts: the elderly, the homeless, the orphans and many others. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own way of living that we forget or we ignore or we pretend. Who could you reach out to? Perhaps it’s the homeless man you walk passed everyday on your way to work or the neighbour on your street or the elderly grandparent. What could you do? Have a simple short conversation or send them a letter or pay them a visit. Even the smallest acknowledgements that the lonely are still fellow beings can greatly brighten their day. Because they are still human. In a dark time of loneliness, we can be one beacon of light.
We might sometimes find ourselves alone. But that doesn’t mean we have to be lonely. Sometimes we have to be our own biggest cheerleader:
- Celebrate your victories – we don’t always give ourselves enough credit when it comes to our achievements, sometimes because we don’t think they’re good enough and other times because we’re too busy thinking about the next big thing. But don’t get into the habit of letting success pass you by. Any victory is one to be celebrated. Praise yourself.
- Cut yourself some slack – we cannot always be our best, let alone always be perfect. Sometimes we’re going to trip up and make a mess. But it’s all a part of life. What matters the most is what we do afterwards. We shouldn’t waste our time beating ourselves up, demotivating ourselves or crushing our self-confidence. Instead, take responsibility, learn a lesson and move on.
- Stop comparing yourself to others and love who you are – we all find it hard to be comfortable with who we are, where we are, and what we have. We look at others and envision a better life if we were more like them. But the truth is, everyone has insecurities and problems. We all have different stories. Focus on your own and you’ll go much further – if you don’t, it will go on without you.
We all put on fronts at one time or another. We try to hide how we’re truly feeling from others and sometimes ourselves. Sometimes the strongest are the most sensitive. Sometimes the one surrounded by people is the loneliest. Sometimes the most cheerful are not the happiest. Sometimes the one who seems the most confident has insecurities. We all struggle with certain issues, and it’s not always apparent on the outside. Let’s be mindful of the difference between our perceptions and reality. Treat everyone with kindness, including yourself, because we all go through rough times, even if it doesn’t show. And don’t be afraid to admit how you’re feeling. It’s okay to be vulnerable. And hopefully that will set you free.
It’s ok to want to be alone, to take time to process and to understand our thoughts and feelings. But if we ever feel overwhelmed, if we feel anxious, scared, hurt or depressed, it’s ok to reach out. Don’t be afraid to express yourself; it might be hard to put everything into words, and sometimes we just need to cry or be held by someone instead. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable by opening up. We don’t need to, and shouldn’t have to, face things alone. And if we do find ourselves alone, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re not alone. Everyone feels alone sometimes. Everyone has felt those same feelings or feels those same feelings as you right now. You’re not alone in this. And you’re going to be ok.