HOW TO FIND THE COURAGE TO GROW IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES

Are you afraid of what will be coming next in the communication channels that will, more than likely, add to the concerns that you already have about the future?  If you are like the rest of us, this would be a normal reaction to the many changes that have taken place in our world in the recent past.

As I’m sitting here writing this article my eyes fall on my mother’s portrait, and gradually courage rises up in me to share with others one of the many things I learned from my mother.  From a very early age I learned to have courage to face obstacles and adversity, and I learned it from her.  Over the years I have found the courage to not only face adversity, but to grow in it and because of it; and so can you.  As a psychotherapist I have helped others to do just that, and in each instance I’m inspired and challenged by the courage I see in others.  This is how you can find your courage and experience a positive transformation in the process of facing your difficult circumstances:

  1. Make a list of the challenges you’ve already faced and dealt with, even though you were afraid.  You’ll be surprised at how many difficulties you’ve faced successfully.
  2. Be aware of the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing in your current situation.  Honor these, but don’t let them dictate your actions or paralyze you.
  3. Discuss these with a trusted friend or relative.  You may also want to start a journal to record your thoughts and feelings.  Keep in mind that you may need to consult with a professional who can help you when others can’t.
  4. Begin brainstorming solutions or possible actions you can take.  Identify those that are most plausible and start with the simplest action you can take, and gradually advance to other action steps.  This will help you to develop self-confidence.
  5. Be mindful of resistance that you may encounter within yourself that can limit your ability to take action. 
  6. If your resistance prevents you from taking action make a list of what is costing you, or will cost you, to remain the same.
  7. Assume responsibility for depending on yourself to take action regardless of the fear or other obstacles, whether these are real or imagined.
  8. Remain accountable to those who desire your success.  Get their feedback and allow them to encourage you.
  9. Notice positive change within you and around you.  Be willing to learn something valuable, even from your failed attempts.  Be patient with yourself and keep going toward your goal.
  10. Celebrate small victories and learn to love yourself in the process.  Every step you take, no matter how small, is a victory.  Remember, every marathon is a series of steps toward the ultimate goal.

NELLY VENTURINI, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

1325 S. International Pkwy.

Suite 2221

(407) 491-8260

http://www.nellyventurini.com

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RELATIONSHIP vs FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS?

Nelly Venturini, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

If you are reading this, chances are you are one of those women who want to have a relationship, while the man you are interested in just wants to be friends with benefits. What I have to say on this subject is not very popular these days, but as a woman and as a clinician I have the obligation to speak truth to people who want guidance, so here it goes.

The mere fact that you want relationship speaks to the values you hold as a person, and as a woman. Human beings are wired to desire genuine connection to others, especially to a specific someone they find attractive. Here are some tips for you:

  1. If you want relationship and that special person just wants something casual, be clear about your values, and make sure you communicate your desires and expectations in this regard.
  2. Do not abandon your principles for the sake of a sexual exchange that, more than likely, will leave you empty and disappointed with yourself.
  3. Consider the fact that during sex your brain releases attachment hormones that will cause you to develop deeper feelings for your partner. Women in particular tend to get more attached once sexual intercourse occurs.
  4. Ask yourself if it’s worth investing in something that you know from the outset that has no potential for fulfilling your desire for a real relationship.
  5. Ask yourself if casual sex will make you feel used by your partner.
  6. Ask yourself if you want to take a chance with your health. Many sexually transmitted diseases are disseminated through casual sex. Some of those diseases, even when treated, will cause infertility later on. Others will last a lifetime, compromise your well-being, can be transmitted to any other sexual partners, and to an infant during childbirth.
  7. Take care of yourself and go after what you truly want. Don’t settle for less. You’ll be glad you did.
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SHOULD I WAIT FOR HIM TO COMMIT OR SHOULD I GO?

Nelly Venturini, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

Some women nowadays find themselves loving a man who does not want to commit. He may want to date in an open ended fashion, not understanding that for a woman security in an intimate relationship is paramount in meeting this legitimate need.

So, the question you may be asking yourself may be whether to stay, hoping he comes to his senses, or if you should let him go so you can consider other prospects. The first thing I’d say to you that you need to do what is in your best interest.

While you don’t want to pressure a man into a commitment, you do need to honestly and openly discuss your needs and concerns with him. Follow the following tips:

  1. Ask yourself if you want to be with a guy who is not showing that he wants to move to the next level in the relationship. Dating for a year makes it a long term relationship and both of you could begin to discuss this possibility.
  2. Prepare yourself for having an honest conversation with him about your desires and dreams in this regard. Gather your thoughts and write them down. Rehearse what you are going to say in a succinct and clear matter.
  3. Schedule a time with your beloved and express yourself assertively.
  4. Engage him by asking him to respond to what you have expressed, and inquire as to whether he has considered making a commitment to you.
  5. If things go well, get more specific about the time frame to begin planning how to move forward.
  6. If he demonstrates being aversive to commitment, ask him what prevents him from wanting to do so. Some people have had negative experiences in relationship and have trust issues as a result.
  7. If he just wants to continue on with relationship as is, you need to think seriously about ending it. Investing more in a relationship that is not going in the direction you desire is, more than likely, a waste of your time and a heartbreak waiting to happen.
  8. Be smart and decisive. Don’t stay just because you’re afraid to be alone, or because you don’t believe you’ll find other prospects.
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HOW TO DEAL WITH A BOYFRIEND WHO SAYS HE LOVES YOU BUT WANTS TO DATE OTHER WOMEN

Nelly Venturini, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

Most women want to date a man who agrees to a mutually exclusive relationship. This is important for women because their number one need is to feel secure and respected by her partner, especially if you are looking for someone who has the potential and the goal of getting married. In our current times it seems that finding a man like that has become increasingly challenging. I hear this frequently in my counseling sessions with women who are frustrated because they have dated men who just want to have a good time, but are not necessarily interested in commitment.

As a woman you must be smart and clear about the type of man you are looking for. Take your time to meet the right people, and to evaluate whether the guy you want to date has a similar mindset as yours. Here are some tips to help you in this process.

  1. Value and respect yourself. This means that you know yourself well and your strengths. Know what you have to offer, and for goodness sake, don’t settle for less than what you want in a partner.
  2. Take your time to get to know the person. Don’t act desperate. Early dates with a guy need to be short and sweet.
  3. Be honest from the start. Let him know that you want exclusivity, and see what he says. In my book “How to Repair a Marriage: Easy Steps to Rekindle the Love and Passion” I discuss the fact that dynamics in a dating relationship are established from the beginning. Let the fellow know what you are looking for. If he’s on a different path than yours, let the relationship go before you get emotionally attached. It will be less painful this way.
  4. If after dating for a while he tells you that he loves you, but wants to date other women, you need to figure out if something changed, or if this was his plan all along. Either way, I would say that he has different goals than yours. If you compromise your principles and objectives by going along with this, you are lowering your standards. It’s better to break up and let him come back to you if he is really interested in you.
  5. Take care of yourself and get involved socially. You may find the right guy eventually. The more opportunities you have to meet people, the higher the chances that this will happen in the near future. Volunteering is a good avenue for meeting someone who has similar values and life philosophy as yours.
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HOW TO DEAL WITH A BOYFRIEND WHO SAYS HE LOVES YOU BUT WANTS TO DATE OTHER WOMEN

Nelly Venturini, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

Most women want to date a man who agrees to a mutually exclusive relationship. This is important for women because their number one need is to feel secure and respected by her partner, especially if you are looking for someone who has the potential and the goal of getting married. In our current times it seems that finding a man like that has become increasingly challenging. I hear this frequently in my counseling sessions with women who are frustrated because they have dated men who just want to have a good time, but are not necessarily interested in commitment.

As a woman you must be smart and clear about the type of man you are looking for. Take your time to meet the right people, and to evaluate whether the guy you want to date has a similar mindset as yours. Here are some tips to help you in this process.

  1. Value and respect yourself. This means that you know yourself well and your strengths. Know what you have to offer, and for goodness sake, don’t settle for less than what you want in a partner.
  2. Take your time to get to know the person. Don’t act desperate. Early dates with a guy need to be short and sweet.
  3. Be honest from the start. Let him know that you want exclusivity, and see what he says. In my book “How to Repair a Marriage: Easy Steps to Rekindle the Love and Passion” I discuss the fact that dynamics in a dating relationship are established from the beginning. Let the fellow know what you are looking for. If he’s on a different path than yours, let the relationship go before you get emotionally attached. It will be less painful this way.
  4. If after dating for a while he tells you that he loves you, but wants to date other women, you need to figure out if something changed, or if this was his plan all along. Either way, I would say that he has different goals than yours. If you compromise your principles and objectives by going along with this, you are lowering your standards. It’s better to break up and let him come back to you if he is really interested in you.
  5. Take care of yourself and get involved socially. You may find the right guy eventually. The more opportunities you have to meet people, the higher the chances that this will happen in the near future. Volunteering is a good avenue for meeting someone who has similar values and life philosophy as yours.
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IS HE PULLING AWAY, OR TRYING TO BREAK UP?

Nelly Venturini, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

Let me first say that women have great intuition, especially when it comes to relationships. So, if you sense that your partner is pulling away, you need to trust your gut instinct and address your concerns in an open and honest manner. Here are some useful tips on how to do that.

  1. Don’t panic. If you do, you will not be able to address the issue appropriately because you will be emotionally overreactive. This will cause your partner to get defensive, or disconnect altogether.
  2. Prepare yourself before you bring up your concerns to him. I usually suggest that you take time to write a short, concise letter that respectfully conveys your feelings, concerns, and observations of what you think is happening in the relationship.
  3. Ask him for a time to talk, and request that he give you 15 to 20 minutes of time. Select a quiet, private place to meet.
  4. Start the conversation by thanking him about his willingness to talk with you. Ask him to let you read the letter you wrote, and ask him not to interrupt. This is important so that you are able to fully express yourself, and will allow you to keep the conversation on track. Tell him that you would like him to respond to what you have said in the letter.
  5. When you are finished, welcome his feedback and continue the conversation if it is going well. If not, take a break and engage again once both of you are calm and rational.
  6. Be receptive to what he has to say, and respond to what he expresses.
  7. Work as a team to improve things if he tells you that he’s pulling away because of negative things that are going on in the relationship.
  8. Be gracious and hold on to your dignity if he confirms that he wants to break up.
  9. Take time to recover from your loss, and don’t jump into a rebound relationship. You need to grieve the loss of this one first.
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Clinical depression is an illness as common as the common cold: Let’s remember Robin Williams

I recall that when Robin Williams first appeared on the seen several decades ago I liked him instantly.  Every week I watched his show and over the years have watched almost every movie he was in.  Through his comedy he made me laugh, and in his serious roles he caused me to reflect on important aspects of life. He was a man of unusual talent, and will be missed by many, myself included.

I find it so sad that Robin Williams, a man who brought laughter and joy to so many, was constantly under pressure to show a persona that was so different from the emotional suffering he faced during his life. His legacy is bittersweet. My heart goes out to those he left behind. 

Tragedies like this one can help us to focus on what needs to be done to improve situations where we can make a difference. Millions of Americans suffer from depression; unfortunately most cases go undiagnosed.  They suffer in silence.  They may be afraid to admit that something is wrong.  They may not have the support or the resources to access the care that can help them get well.  They self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, or other things to ease their pain. Their lives are a constant struggle. Robin Williams knew all about that struggle.

Depression can afflict anyone.  Even though it is as common as the common cold, it usually does not resolve itself like the common cold.  Depression is progressive and can become debilitating.  It can rob you of many important things, including your precious life.  Being depressed does not mean that you are defective or weak.  It means that you have a health condition that is no different than heart disease or diabetes.  Depression requires attention and care, and there are many resources available to recover from it.  Professional help from a qualified mental health provider can make all the difference for you. 

If you have been dealing with feelings of chronic sadness, anxiety, stress, sleep problems, loss of pleasure and fatigue, take that courageous first step to contact a mental health professional for a consultation.  You will be glad you did.

 Nelly Venturini, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

http://www.nellyventurini.com

407-491-8260

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What is Your Image?

Achieving a healthy, strong relationship with our partner is an ongoing process based on love, commitment, and dedication.  What a lot of people don’t know is how to build or maintain that kind of relationship with their partner, nor recognize that certain things can erode the emotional connection that initially brought them together.

To begin,  is difficult to love someone you don’t know well.  Many couples don’t take the time to get to know each other well. The initial spark that many couples confuse with love is usually infatuation, not genuine love.  It takes time to discover the real person behind the early spark of attraction that causes couples to want to pair up.  Healthy marriages or dating relationships are those where both partners learn how to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly in each other.  We all have those positive and not-so-positive aspects of our personalities.  The good news is that your most intimate relationship can be the crucible in which partners can experience personal and collective positive change.  The genuine sense of safety in the relationship can provide an atmosphere of mutual support and understanding where genuine love can grow.

In some relationships, however, one or both partners hang on tightly to the idealized image of the other, which they created in their own mind from the beginning of their relationship.  This is usually followed by placing that individual on a pedestal and having unrealistically high expectations which leave little or no room for their human flaws. They can’t disappoint you, make mistakes, or fail to be who you expect them to be. When that person falls off their pedestal, it’s usually a hard fall where that idealized image gets shattered.  Usually this spells the end of the relationship, or if the partners remain in it, it’s a painful and stressful experience because they don’t know how to re-invent the relationship in a more realistic fashion.

Does this ring a bell for you?  If it does, the best thing to do is to take corrective action before it’s too late. Seek professional help if you can’t do this on your own.  You may want to check my new book “How to Repair Your Marriage: Easy Steps to Rekindle the Love and Passion”, available in printed and digital forms through Amazon.

Nelly Venturini, MA, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

407-491-8260

http://www.nellyventurini.com

http://www.CouplesAndLifeCoach.com   

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The Power of Touch

Human beings are made for relationship.  This is a well known fact in the field of Psychology and Neuroscience. Even from our early days within our mother’s womb we are touched by the vibrations of our mother’s heartbeat and the sound of her voice, and when we are born we can recognize both.  As infants our development depends on the nurture we receive from our caregivers, and a good part of that nurturing involves touching and being touched in loving and caring ways.  It turns out that our brains are wired to interpret human touch.  Our mind, body, and spirit benefit from it.

When we are touched our brain releases “feel good” neurotransmitters like endorphins, and the levels of stress hormones in the body drop. Furthermore, when humans engage in loving touch, the levels of Oxytocin (the hormone that facilitates bonding and attachment) increase, and heart rates go down.  This produces relaxation and a sense of well-being in both the giver and the receiver.  

When couples are dating there is a progression in the degree of touch as the emotional connection gets stronger.  During the romantic stage of the relationship this happens naturally, but in time it tends to decrease until both partners reach a level of comfort where both initiate loving touch on a regular basis. When a couple is unable to reach this level of comfort in this area, the relationship can easily fall apart.  As a matter of fact, touch is an important indicator of the health of the relationship.  Studies have demonstrated that the health of a marriage can be gauged, not by the frequency of touch that takes place, but by how frequently each partner responds to that touch.  

This does make a lot of sense.  If only one partner initiates touch, this may point to an imbalance or emotional disconnect in the relationship, or perhaps the couple has not reached a level of comfort regarding touch with their partner.  If partners don’t touch at all, this may indicate that there are unresolved conflict in the relationship.  It is true that extroverted individuals tend to be more expressive of their feelings, and introverted ones are less inclined to do so.  Nevertheless, the ability to feel comfortable with an appropriate level of loving touch, as well as the ability to respond in kind is crucial to the health of a marriage or dating relationship.  

Sometimes couples who at one point were able to find that level of comfort with touch stop being affectionate with each other for various reasons.  It could be that they have begun to take each other for granted, or they may have become distracted with other things, or, worse yet, they may have simply become lazy or complacent.  Am I stepping on some toes here?  I hope so, because this can wake you up to the fact that if you are experiencing a lack of affection in your most intimate relationship, now is the time to address this.  Like a plant who is neglected, the relationship will perish without loving care.  

What are you doing right now?  Working on the computer, or staring at the cell phone waiting for the next text message, you say?  Stop right now…go and touch your partner lovingly.  Use the language of touch to communicate how you feel.  It will be good for both of you.  You will be glad you did.  Then keep it up on a regular basis.         

Nelly Venturini, MA, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

407-491-8260

http://www.nellyventurini.com

http://www.CouplesAndLifeCoach.com

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From “Being” to “Becoming”

From “Being” to “Becoming”

I once heard the minister who was officiating a wedding say that happiness in marriage is more about being the right partner than marrying the right partner.  What a concept!  I am sure that there were many in the audience pondering that statement.

In my work with couples who are trying to save their marriage I often hear them say: “Well, that’s the way I am, I can’t change that.”  My reply to them usually is: “How well is that working for you”?  The invariable answer to that question is: “Not very well.”

Marriage or dating partners blame each other for problems in their relationship, and that is human nature.  In an intimate relationship we have a great opportunity for growing and becoming the kind of person we need to be.  Contrary to popular belief, being who we are is not unchangeable.  While it’s important to stay true to important values and principles that define us who we are, the things that prevent us from having a loving connection with our partner can definitely be changed and improved.  We can learn to communicate respectfully, control our emotions instead of letting them control us, we can become better problem solvers, we can find ways to manage stress effectively, among many other things that can have a positive impact on our relationships.

Of course, this process cannot begin until each partner honestly looks at themselves and takes responsibility for how they are contributing to the problems in the relationship.  The next step is to go about the work of becoming the kind of partner you need to be. Needless to say, this is easier said than done.  But as we all know, anything that is worth something will cost us something.  Committing to our own process of self-improvement is as important as the commitment to the marriage.  

So, I believe the minister was right.  If both partners go about the business of becoming the right partner in the marriage, happiness in it is the byproduct for both. How about you?  This is a challenge for all of us.

Nelly Venturini, MA, LMHC, NCC, CIRT

407-491-8260

http://www.nellyventurini.com

http://www.CouplesAndLifeCoach.com

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