How to Boost Self Esteem

The way to help boost self esteem and think more positively about yourself includes:-

Acceptance of your strengths and weaknesses.
Self respect. Be proud of who you are.
Trusting yourself and your judgements.
Feeling more confident in your feelings and thoughts. They belong to you, it doesn’t matter what others think.
Prioritise time for yourself.
Praise yourself and achievements.
Positive self talk.

Self esteem does not mean you are selfish but it allows you to appreciate the qualities you have. It can help you feel better about yourself and others around you.

Raising your self esteem means you will learn to love and appreciate YOU. Become your own best friend. Thinking more positively about yourself can help you develop your own special talents.

Praise yourself
Trust yourself
 Like yourself

It ‘s a start to a more positive future, appreciating the qualities you already have.

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How Having a Baby Can Affect Your Relationship

Having a baby is special, especially if you’re in a loving, stable relationship. But if you think having a baby won’t change your life, you’re kidding yourself. Being prepared for the changes will help soften the impact on your relationship. Not all the changes are negative; in fact some are very positive. Discussing the pros and cons with your partner before the arrival and putting some helpful strategies in place will save trying to do this when you are tired and short of patience after the arrival.
Here’s how having a baby can affect your relationship:
 You’ll snap at each other more than usual.
Babies cry during the night and parents have to get up to feed and soothe them. In the really early stages, you actually have to wake up the baby for feedings. Your sleeping patterns will be completely thrown off. Some babies grow out of this stage quickly, and others never do. You have no idea what you’re going to get, so it’s best to be prepared for either scenario. For a while at least, you’ll be living on less sleep, which will likely make you cranky and irritable. That’s why you’ll snap at each other more often. It’s nothing personal. It’s just what happens when you get little or no rest.
 You and your spouse will have to work on your ‘team’ skills.
At some point, probably in the early days of your baby’s life, he or she will be cry and you’ll be at a loss for what to do. The two of you might have the urge to scream along with the baby. But sooner or later, you’ll have to pull together to come up with a solution – team work will be required to relieve stress and anxiety. Remember you are in this together and shared responsibility will help create a loving family bond.
 Finances will be stretched like never before.
The thought of paying for all that babies require can keep you awake at night when the baby doesn’t. Staying in more and having less disposable income will need to be considered. Working reduced hours and career changes can also put pressure on one or both partners.
Bringing you together
Maybe the baby will have your husband’s nose or your wife’s eyes. Or the baby will be quiet like dad or happy like mum. The way the baby shows off the best of both of you will help you remember what made you fall in love in the first place. Your shared love for the little one will hopefully make you closer and motivate you to work at your relationship as well as parenting.

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Tips for Step Families

Step-families, also known as ‘blended’ families, are more the norm now than ever. Over 65% of re-marriages include children from previous relationships. When families ‘blend’ to create a new family unit things rarely run smoothly. Some children, depending on ages resist the changes they face. Parents can become frustrated and upset when the new family doesn’t function as planned.
While change requires patience and time for all to adjust, realistic expectations and the right guidance can help deal with the process. Open communication, positive attitudes, respect all have an important role to play. Most of all, oodles of love and tolerance are required. Below are some simple tips to help.
Children
All siblings fall out whether they are step siblings or natural siblings. Don’t assume it is the result of living in a blended family
Don’t over compensate, be fair. With the best intentions it is easy to fall into the trap of favouring your step children in an attempt to avoid being seen to favour your biological children.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.  Be sure to try and discuss everything, particularly if changes are involved. A regular family meeting can help where everyone present has a say.
Spend time every day with your child. Most children like to feel they have some ‘time alone’ with their parent. It is important to try and achieve this as it will mean a lot to your child.
Couple
Set aside couple time. You need to maintain a healthy relationship during the stressful time of family re-structuring
Present a united front. Arguing or disagreeing in front of the children is not helpful. They may try and come between you. Create your own ground rules between the two of you and stick to them.
Talk to the wider family.  Recruit other family members to help with the family. Talk to grandparents, aunts and uncles and agree how they can become involved and present as a support to the children.
Special arrangements.  Put special arrangements in place for visits to the other parent. This may mean clothes and other essentials are doubled up and kept at both houses, if possible. Make life as easy as possible for the children.

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Repair your Relationship

In every relationship conflict happens, it can be about small things or important things. It might be a specific event like an affair or it might be a long running issue. How problems are dealt with goes a long way to saying how well the relationship works.
 Perhaps you have seen problems in your relationship and while you would like to address them, you are not quite sure how to go about it. There are 3 basic options; the first is to do nothing. While this avoids a conflict it is unlikely to work long term as resentment builds up with you partner. What was once positive communication slowly becomes more destructive with criticism, accusations and even abuse.
 A second option might be to fix it yourself. Many will have tried this, yet it can be difficult to fix a problem of how two people relate to each other by looking at it from one point of view. The reality is that both partners have to want the relationship and so trying to fix it on your own can be very hard work. That is not to say, however, that individual counselling cannot help you with your relationship, but the change that it can bring about in the other partner is limited.
 The final option is to see a relationship counsellor. A relationship counsellor offers perspective looking from the outside. They see both the issues and the possible solutions in different ways. When couples talk it becomes a list of past and present misdemeanours. This makes the couple talk about blame, guilt, shame and punishment rather than a way forward. A counsellor can help meaningful dialogue between the couple, by breaking  ingrained patterns and cycles of conflict.
 In therapy you will be encouraged to have honest conversations, looking at how to move on from past anger, resentments and hostility toward your partner. Couples are encouraged to accept responsibility for their part in the relationship. Part of the solution is    going to be empathising with the other person’s perspective that comes from deep listening and checking and being vulnerable. When you have understood the content of what each has said you are in a better position to discuss the process that underpins your relationship. Through that honest, adult conversation about your relationship you can begin to re-build your relationship for the present and the future.
 Couple therapy can help you find ways you can build in intimacy by spending time with each other so that there is respect, valuing and an honest exchange going forward. The process helps each partner to be mature about the relationship to own feelings and behaviours. Not to play a game being the victim or manipulating, but empathising and supporting, accepting that each of you has an impact on the other.
This change in behaviour is what truly will make the difference going forward. There is no doubt that it will take effort by both partners to re-build the relationship and effort to keep it healthy in the future.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go ?

I have spoken to a number of individuals recently about their decision to stay or leave a relationship. Marriages don’t fall apart overnight; people go through a process in order to arrive at their desire to separate or divorce.

In some minority of cases, the decision to divorce is made quickly, perhaps as the result of an affair, or an instance of abuse. More often, however, people contemplating divorce endure a period of having mixed feelings or emotions about their partner, during which the pros and cons of staying or leaving are debated; usually in their own mind.

Ambivalence or mixed feelings and emotions in a relationship can indicate a serious problem. It is a indication that couple counselling is in order but does not necessarily indicate whether the problems can be overcome or not.

Core value problems between partners may develop over time as each partner matures or circumstances change. Or they may have been present in hidden form from the beginning of the relationship. Whatever their origin, mismatched beliefs and values can be difficult to overcome without one of the partners feeling they are compromising their own values and beliefs about what a relationship should be like.

Unskilled communication or self centeredness can create disengagement in relationships. At other times, couples just need fundamentally different things for example where one partner wants a child and the other doesn’t. When partners have fundamentally different needs and cannot compromise without compromising themselves, it is quite possible they might be better off separated than together.

From a rational and ideal perspective, it is wise to learn what you want to accomplish in life and what makes you happy before embarking on a long term commitment. However, frequently partners only understand what they can and can’t compromise on after they are married. It may not have been possible to detect it would happen either. Keeping this in mind might help those who are angry and disappointed by what their partners can or cannot offer them.

A couple therapist can be an objective third party in these situations, They can help you look at the pros and cons of staying in a relationship which is a difficult and not very objective process.

Aside from therapy further reading might be helpful.

‘Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay’ by Mira Kirshenbaum

 

 

 

 

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How to Boost Self Esteem

The way to help boost self esteem and think more positively about yourself includes:-

Acceptance of your strengths and weaknesses.
Self respect. Be proud of who you are.
Trusting yourself and your judgements.
Feeling more confident in your feelings and thoughts. They belong to you, it doesn’t matter what others think.
Prioritise time for yourself.
Praise yourself and achievements.
Positive self talk.

Self esteem does not mean you are selfish but it allows you to appreciate the qualities you have. It can help you feel better about yourself and others around you.

Raising your self esteem means you will learn to love and appreciate YOU. Become your own best friend. Thinking more positively about yourself can help you develop your own special talents.

Praise yourself
Trust yourself
 Like yourself

It ‘s a start to a more positive future, appreciating the qualities you already have.

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What is Self Esteem?

Self esteem is how you think and feel about yourself. In an ideal world we would all have perfect self esteem. The foundations of self esteem are usually laid down in childhood. However, ‘perfect parents’ don’t exist and negative experiences in childhood can colour the way you view yourself as an adult.
Unfortunately we live in a world where people continually compare themselves with those around them. This can be unhelpful and highlight insecurities and negative feelings about ourselves. It is easy to lose sight of your own self worth.
Symptoms of low self esteem

Feeling worthless
Feeling incompetent
Feeling unloved
Overwhelmed by negative thoughts
Having unrealistic goals
Fear of change
Distorted view of self and others

Working to improve self esteem can be done through individual counselling. It takes courage and honesty to confront the things that you don’t like in order to view them differently and feel better about yourself and life.

Further reading and self help:

Self Esteem (3rd edition) Mathew McKay & Patrick Fanning

The Feeling Good Handbook : David D. Burns M.D.

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One step at a time……step family tips

Step Families or Blended Families are more the norm now than ever before. Changes in the family structure require some adjustment for everyone involved. Expectations probably start off very high, this can lead to tension, disappointment and arguments when all the members of the new family don’t conform to expectations.
It can take a long time for a blended family to begin to feel comfortable and function well together. Whilst you and your new partner might embark on your new relationship with great excitement your children might not be nearly as excited.
They are more likely to feel uncertain about the changes they might face and how this will affect the relationship with their natural parent. They might also be worried about step siblings and who they might not know that well, or worse, even like.
Laying a solid foundation for a blended family and taking your time gives everyone a chance to adapt and get used to the idea.
The following points might be helpful:-

Too many changes at once can unsettle children
Don’t expect to fall in love with your new partners children overnight
Make parenting changes before you marry
Discuss boundaries and respect
Limit your expectations

Given the right support, children should over time adapt to being part of a new family. It is a parents job to :-

Communicate openly
Meet their needs for security
Allow time for the transition

Children want to feel:-

Safe and secure with realistic boundaries in place
Loved
Seen and valued
Heard and connected emotionally
Appreciated and encouraged

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After the Affair

The discovery of an affair can be an agonising crisis for couples. People have affairs for various reasons. Affairs and betrayals can (but not always) be the symptom of a long term problem in a relationship.
Some causes of infidelity include:

Insecurity or boredom in the relationship
Enjoying attention from a third party
Feeling lonely and disconnected from a spouse
Family or boundary issues

Many couples first start to address their problems after the disclosure or discovery. The majority do survive an affair and for many it is a chance to become more realistic and reach a deeper understanding.
An affair is a betrayal. Any betrayal of trust rocks a relationship and can have a devastating effect Couple Counselling may help to contain the distress and shock of discovery. The couple may then be able to explore buried resentments and feelings more safely. Betrayal can be the result of being unable to deal with problems which have gradually snowballed. Recovering from an affair takes time and there are various stages in that process.
The stages of affair recovery and re-building trust include:

A period of crisis
A loss of belief in the partner and marriage, trust and commitment
Shattered dreams for the future
Reorganisation and redefinition of the relationship
Re-building trust

Some couples find it impossible to move forward and have to consider permanently ending their relationship. Separation Counselling can help to make the break less bitter.
Further reading:-    ‘After the Affair’  Janis Abrahms Spring with Michael Spring

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Are you chatting or cheating ?

Chatting on line through social media is becoming an everyday occurrence for lots of people. You can link up with old partners, past school friends, colleagues , neighbours  at the flick of a button. Electronic chatting offers immediate connection, intimacy and attention. If your relationship is going through a bad patch it is easy to turn to your phone, ipad, or laptop for an instant fix by connecting to someone who can provide the emotional stimulation everyone craves. It can just innocently start off with ‘I am just messaging a friend at work’ but then can quickly escalate into constantly checking if that person has replied. How can you be certain you are not on the slippery slope and that what you are doing is harmless?
It used to take a while for affairs to develop but this isn’t the case today. An ‘emotional’ on line affair can develop very quickly. Facebook for example has been cited in over 30% of divorce cases as the cause of the break-up. According to statistics in the press there is a marked increase in infidelity and much more cheating now starts, or is being fuelled online.
Warning signs:-

Exchanging  personal, intimate information ( off line contact details)
Spending more time on line than with your partner
Constantly checking if the person has made contact.
Getting a buzz when connected, feeling elated and high.
Hiding correspondence or becoming secretive with your partner.
Becoming flirtatious online.
Detaching from your partner.

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of the above alarm bells should be ringing. You could be putting your relationship at risk. Get some help to try and sort out your feelings either from a friend or a counsellor who is trained to work with relationship issues.
Further reading:-
‘Chatting or Cheating’ by Sheri Meyers

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