Category Archives: Positivity

Happiness Today, NOT Tomorrow

While I was scrubbing my white stove the other day, hating the outdated piece of metal, which is a master of accumulating dirt, I thought of how much I wanted a really nice, new stove. After all, new stoves do not have removable burners, often are stainless steel, and cleaning it would be so much easier. But I had to stop and remind myself that I should really appreciate my terrible stove.

Why? By all objective measures, this stove is terrible. However, the apartment is nicer then my previous one. If I am honest, I am much happier with my overall living situation now then I was previously. I have a balcony, a great location, a room with no mold, and an entryway! But I also have to deal with an incredibly outdated, uneven, permanently disfigured, white stove. However, when I widen my perspective and look the whole situation, the stove isn’t so horrible compared to all the other benefits. (Point 1: Widen perspective)

I also dream about the day I can have a larger kitchen with an open-concept floor plan and windows that bring in sunlight. As someone who loves HGTV, I can say that I have thought about the beauty of this dream kitchen in quite a bit of detail. However, the cost of this kitchen is far beyond my current financial capacities.

In thinking about my future, I will probably be finished with my schooling and working full-time. Likely my schedule will not be as flexible as it currently is, so I will be home less often. This will diminish my ability to enjoy my dream kitchen. Also, this dream kitchen will likely not be in my current (small) apartment with a beautiful balcony view. This dream kitchen will also create more cleaning for me to do due to its larger size. And so, if I am truthful about this dream kitchen, it comes with quite a few legitimate downfalls. This leads to my second point, which is that there are always compromises to every decision. (Point 2: There are always compromises)

Lastly, I know this seems odd given all the complaining I have just done about my stove, but I actually enjoy the act of cleaning. I find the immediate results of having something go from being dirty to clean gratifying. It may be the nature of my profession, or the way of the world, but most moments in my day I can’t immediately alter. When I’m cleaning my stove, I can focus my attention on the task at hand and tune out the world for a little while. That is not to say that cleaning the stove is extremely gratifying because it’s not, but when I choose to see the positives in the cleaning and be in the present moment, the entire act is better. (Point 3: Think positively and in the moment)

My life is not stress-free enough that my stove is the biggest problem I have. However, it is a part of my daily life and I believe there are legitimate lessons to be learned from this comical analogy. We can all do more to think more broadly about our current situation, realize that there is not a perfect future with no issues, and have a more optimistic outlook while being in the present moment. This perspective can be helpful in matters of dating, friendship, occupational distress, and other life situations. Because, while my kitchens may change over my lifespan, if I am not able to do these three things, I will never fully be happy. Let’s try to enjoy today, dirtiness and all, and not wait for tomorrow!

By: Sara Pishdadian

Sara Pishdadian is a graduate student studying Clinical Psychology at York University. You can follow her on twitter to hear more about her research interests https://twitter.com/sarapishdadian.

The Selfie Culture – An Invitation to Take a Break

“Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It is a practice…a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real, the choice to be honest…the choice to let our true selves be seen.”
– Brene Brown

I meet many young people who answer the following questions in the following way. ‘Do you compare yourself much to others?’ ‘Yes, all the time.’ ‘Does it happen on social media?’ ‘Yes, constantly. On Instagram mostly.’ There is something going on in society today that is creating a lot of pressure for young people when it comes to their appearance, self-image, and emerging sense of self. While it would be wrong to make a direct link between social media use and rising anxiety levels, it would be even more foolish to believe that the growing use of social media, among young people, is not having an impact at all.

The selfie culture has become a normal part of life for teens and many pre-teens growing up in the 21st century. However, the constant posting and viewing of selfies can prevent a young person’s journey towards discovering who they really want to be in the world. When I speak to young people in therapy about selfies, a lot of what they are trying to achieve with their posts is approval from others and a sense of self-worth. But what if seeking approval from others was let go of for a while. What would fill that space? From asking young people, it is my understanding that a break from selfie taking and thus from Instagram, leads to lower levels of anxiety, which creates space for a more enriched relationship with the developing self.

There is freedom in switching off from the constant viewing of celebrity air-brushed pictures. It allows space for a more coherent view of what it means to be ‘you’, a person of value in your own right, a person who does not need the approval of others in order to know their worth. There is something very freeing about making the choice to be authentic. However, many young people are faced with the pressures of trying to fit in and needing to be like somebody else (i.e., the popular ones or the rich and famous ones). In idolizing these superficial features in others, young people can lose sight of their own value and never feel fulfilled with themselves.

Teenagers are at a sensitive stage of their psychological development. They are in the stage of identity development, which makes them extremely self-conscious and constantly in tuned with feedback from others, especially their peers. You can imagine then how difficult it must be for teens to take a break from the selfie culture, as it gives them so much feedback and information about themselves and others.

This Summer might be the perfect opportunity for you to take a break from this selfie culture and focus on yourself. Even coming off just one social media site for a while can have an impact on how you begin to feel about yourself. If you believe that Instagram boosts your self-esteem because of the positive feedback you receive, it is worth noting that it’s not healthy to become reliant on social media for self-confidence. Confidence should come from within and not be influenced by anyone or anything. Anyone who believes that their worth is dependent on the feedback they get on their selfies is at risk for negative psychological consequences. So be careful and take a break. Your self-esteem will thank you for it.

By: Anne McCormack

Anne McCormack is a Psychotherapist based in Dublin, Ireland. She is the author of ‘Keeping Your Child Safe on Social Media: Five Easy Steps’ available here http://www.easons.com/p-4740342-keeping-your-child-safe-on-social-media.aspx.

Talking to Loved Ones about Unhealthy Lifestyles

When someone has an unhealthy lifestyle, their habits don’t just affect them personally, but can affect the people around them as well. It’s not only hard to tell someone that they are hurting themselves, but it’s also hard to be the one hearing it.

Habits that seemed acceptable a few decades ago – smoking, consuming cholesterol heavy foods, failing to regularly hit the gym – have been openly denounced by medicine and public health. When the Surgeon General reported on the negative effects of smoking in 1964, it took the world by storm. People realized for the first time that with every match they struck against their cigarettes, they were making their lives a little bit shorter. As research on cholesterol gained traction in the 1950s and 1960s, people realized that their dietary choices might not be ideal for increasing their lifespans. The 21st century then brought with it the adage “sitting is the new smoking” – a sedentary lifestyle is doing us no good.

With science bringing forth these new and well-publicized findings regarding just how unhealthy our lifestyles really are, it may come as a surprise just how few people are willing to change. It’s difficult to plead ignorance with the dawn of social media, so it seems to hurt us more when we see that our loved ones are reluctant to make changes. How then can we, as individuals, call out our loved ones on their self-destructive tendencies without causing offence?

It isn’t easy to get a smoker to quit. The last time I tried, I didn’t get the results I was looking for. It’s far less easy to tell someone they are gaining an unhealthy amount of weight. How do we tackle this then? Here are a couple of tips to help you talk to your loved ones:

  1. DO wait for the right moment: Chances are that your loved one has already been exposed to the negative consequences of their unhealthy lifestyle. If they bring these up, there is no better opportunity to start a dialogue.
  2. DON’T shame them: The more you criticize and degrade your loved one, the more likely they are to get defensive and not listen to you.
  3. DO use empathy: Acknowledge how difficult it can be to change. Remind them that you are not perfect. You can use personal stories of a difficult adjustment you may have made in your own life. The concept of reciprocity can go a long way.
  4. DON’T monitor them: No one likes to be constantly watched. Instead, help your loved one make a plan of action and keep providing support and encouragement.
  5. DO exploit the media: Tread with caution when you do this. You want to use comprehensive and helpful resources to help your loved one move in the right direction. Make use of documentaries, self-help articles, and YouTube videos, but only after vetting them to make sure they are appropriate for your loved one’s needs.
  6. DON’T give up: Chances are the changes you want to see will not be immediate and your loved one is bound to slip up every so often. The key is to suppress your urge to express disappointment and frustration, as these are the moments they will need the most encouragement.
  7. DO provide incentives: People love incentives and prizes. Reward your loved one for their efforts, but don’t punish them for their transgressions.
  8. DON’T be a hypocrite: If you are committed to helping your loved ones, now is the time for introspection. You may have unhealthy habits that are different from (or the same as!) theirs, so you can work on them side by side. Seeing you make the effort can help mobilize them. If you love them enough to help them change, they probably want to do the same for you!

By: Sumayya Saleem

Sumayya graduated from the University of Toronto in Psychology. She is about to begin her Masters in Education in Developmental Psychology and Education at OISE. She is interested in counselling and increasing access to mental health services in third-world countries.

How to Have a Hard Conversation…With Yourself?

I initially started college as a physics major, but during my first semester of my final year of university, I decided to switch my career path to clinical psychology. The process of realizing that psychology was the best path for me took a lot of thought and I want to share with you the steps that I took to make this huge decision.

I like to think of the process that I endured as a hard conversation with myself. I believe we’ve all had this talk at some point in our lives, whether it was conscious or not. Feeling uncertain about selecting the best decision often feels scary, overwhelming, and confusing. On top of these negative emotions, people often fear the idea of change. Sure, getting a new haircut post-breakup is one category of change, but moving across the country to obtain your dream job is definitely a bigger and riskier change. For these reasons, many of us choose to continue with our current life path, as it’s routine and not uncertain. However, I challenge you to have this difficult conversation with yourself, as the rewards can greatly outweigh the challenge. Here are some steps I personally took when deciding on whether or not to switch my career paths:

  1. List out all the rewards (be it material, intellectual, spiritual, etc.) that the current goal engenders that are appealing to you.
  2. Articulate in detail why those rewards are personally appealing.
  3. Contemplate whether this change of heart is permanent. Specifically, is this change following a recent event that had an impact on you? For example, if you recently went through a breakup and decided to move across the country, there may be other reasons for this decision. Take time with carrying out your ideas and try to acknowledge if there are any hidden motives for your decision.
  4. List out the possible unpleasant or unwanted consequences of your goal and describe why those components are personally displeasing.

Essentially this list is an in-depth pros and cons list to help you determine the benefits and struggles that you may encounter from obtaining this goal or making a drastic change in lifestyle. However, making a pros and cons list may not be enough in assisting you with your decision on whether or not to pursue this change. You might also want to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the worst that could happen if I pursue this goal or change? Am I willing to experience this outcome and grow from it?
  2. What is the best thing that could happen if I pursue this goal or change? Will I be happy if I do not meet this outcome?
  3. What do those closest to me think about this choice? If they don’t support my decision, would I be able to accept it?
  4. How committed am I with to this decision and completing the required steps to achieve this goal?
  5. Will I be proud of myself if I make this choice? Does this choice align with my personal values and beliefs?
  6. What is the impact of this decision financially? Am I financially capable to do this?

Although these questions may be difficult to answer, they will help you determine if your reasoning is rational and provide you with insight into whether or not this change would be the best fit for you. Remember, you have the power to change your life at any given moment!

By: Ruihong Yuan

Ruihong is a graduate from University of Toronto with a major in Psychology and Physics. He is currently looking to gain either clinical or research experiences in psychology. His goal is to become a clinical psychologist with his own practice and research in order to help people improve their lives and explore the mysterious human mind.

Talking to Kids about Relationships

Talking to kids about relationships may seem like a challenging task, and it actually is. I do not have any children myself, but I did grow up in an environment where I was able to witness a lot of parent-child interactions. I noticed that parents often tell their children, in regards to romantic relationships, to “wait until you’re older”. Even though this may seem logical since kids are not going to be in a romantic relationship anytime soon, I believe there are many aspects of relationships that children should be told about before they are “old enough” to be in a relationship. They include but are not restricted to:

1. Know your self-worth. 
I believe that it is very important for kids to be explicitly taught what self-worth is. When kids are taught that they should give and be given respect, they will be more likely to enter and maintain healthy relationships in the future. Cultivating the habit of giving and receiving respect will pay off both now and later.

2.  Know that it is okay to say no.
It is important for kids to know that they do not have to accept anything that they are not fully comfortable with, whether it is a person that they do not like, or a whole relationship that they are not comfortable being in. When this is taught at a young age, kids will learn that sometimes they need to place their own happiness first. This will make it less likely for these kids to remain in an unhappy relationship when they are older.

3. Know that you have support.
Parents should let their kids know that they are always there to support them. Even though this may seem like a natural thing, yet you will be surprised as to how many parents do not explicitly say this to their kids. By hearing that they have their parents’ support, kids will feel secure and will know that they always have someone to lean on when times get tough. When these kids grow up and enter relationships, they will know that they have their parents there to give them relationship (and any type of) advice.

4. Know that everyone has their ups and downs.
When kids are taught that they should be considerate and mindful of other peoples’ needs, they will be able to have more realistic expectations of relationships in the future. These kids will later know that when their partner acts off sometimes, it is not necessarily because of them, but it could be because they simply had a bad day or a pending issue worth an open discussion!

Some parents might think twice before starting a “relationships conversation” with their child, which is completely understandable. Things can progress slowly, but there are long-term positive effects with starting the conversation at a young age. By teaching your children some basics that pertain to relationships, they will have a solid base when they grow up and become romantically involved with someone. This will make their transition into romantic relationships easier and more satisfying.

By: Ghinwa El-Ariss

Ghinwa El-Ariss holds an Honors Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Environmental Studies from the University of Toronto. She will be pursuing her Master of Science degree in Psychology at Trent University starting September 2017. She is passionate about Psychology and the Environment. She hopes that her blog posts help you learn a bit about her and her take on certain things. Most importantly, she hopes that you enjoyed what you read!

Merging Pathways – Liberty Village and Yonge & Eglinton Locations

“Speaking with a mental health professional is no longer associated to one experiencing a crisis. Having a therapist is now a part of a healthy lifestyle” – KMA client

In thinking about the differences between the population, age groups, and many different concerns that I see at our Liberty Village and Yonge & Eglinton locations, I realized how similar we all are in terms of our human behavior. We are all striving to be happy, content, and peaceful with our work and the many relationships in our life. Where we differ is in the path we take towards feeling better about ourselves. Some choose to find their path on their own and some choose to seek professional help.

As an intake therapist, I am fortunate enough to have spoken to many people of different cultures, age groups, and populations. The one thing I find that the people at both our Liberty Village and Yonge & Eglinton locations have in common is that all of them are seeking to speak with a professional in order to maintain a fulfilled life, regardless of their presenting concern.

Let us take a look at the statistics below with regards to the gender and age groups at our Liberty Village vs. Yonge & Eglinton locations.


Both locations have a higher percentage of females, but as you can see, the male population is not far behind. Clients of both genders are willing to connect with mental health professionals to help them grow in their personal and professional life.

 

The Yonge & Eglinton location is becoming a residential area with growing families and so I witness more couple clients compared to the Liberty Village location.

 

In terms of the population and age groups, statistics show that both Liberty Village and Yonge & Eglinton have a higher percentage of people between the ages of 20-25 years.

 

 

As an intake therapist, I am very proud to see that people are willing to talk about their feelings, insecurities, anxiety, depression, and challenges in their relationships. People are motivated to speak with a mental health professional to develop some strategies to maintain an emotionally healthy life style.

Hats off to all of you for trying to be the best version of yourself! It takes courage to talk about your feelings and thoughts and prioritize self-care.

Even though Liberty Village and Yonge & Eglinton are two different locations, I still choose to call them Merging Pathways because the challenges I see people face are all similar in nature with varying intensities and lengths of time.

Check out this article for more information about KMA Therapy: http://www.datingadvice.com/for-women/kimberly-moffit-associates-offers-constructive-relationship-counseling-in-toronto

By: Zainab Adil Gandhi

Zainab has completed her Masters in Psychological Counselling, specializing in Marriage and Family therapies. She is a member in good standing with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).

Zainab has had 6 years of experience in counselling with Adults, Couples, Parents & Children. She understands that for clients to speak to a complete stranger about their concerns is very challenging. Therefore, her approach to counselling and therapy is client centered. She works with empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard to make sure that the client is extremely comfortable and in a very happy space. It is important to her to establish a good rapport to be able to bring about a healthy change in her clients. She believes in the ‘Human Potential’ that each client brings with him/her. Zainab chooses to be a facilitator in the process, where she guides the clients with her education and experience.  Once she has made the client comfortable in the session, she then moves ahead to use a Cognitive, Behavioral or an Emotional orientation, depending on what the client is willing to receive at that point in time.

Zainab has experience working with issues such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, bullying, parenting challenges, marital concerns, divorce, building healthy communication, relationships, balancing work and life, and dealing with a death of a loved one. She loves to use a variety of visual aids with her clients, which will help them understand their concerns more effectively. Her ultimate goal is to make sure the clients can be independent and cope with their problems efficiently.

 

Learning to Take Care of Yourself

It was around January when I came to the decision that I needed to start doing what I wanted to do, for myself and no one else. I had spent the past year of my life consumed by work, graduate school applications, job searches and resumes. When I look back now, I realize that somewhere along the way I had stopped doing the things that I loved and stopped taking care of myself because I was so focused on being “successful” so soon after graduating from university. Ultimately, this took a toll on my health and well-being. My days were centered around emails, applications, and coffees. I lost sleep worrying about whether or not I had done enough to advance myself during the day. Ultimately, I neglected my own feelings and desires for my future. After experiencing one of the most overwhelming days of my life, I decided to take a step back and walk away from the routine I had gotten myself into for the past few months. I decided that something needed to change because my happiness had become so inconsistent.

The first thing I did was I bought a blank journal from our local bookstore and wrote down all the activities I wanted to try during my spare time. Soon after, I found a volunteer position at my old yoga studio, where I could attend as many classes as I wanted to in exchange for helping out the instructors a few times a week. As you will soon realize, I love yoga and I swear by its magic-like remedies. Practicing yoga is something that I’ve been doing since I was young to help with my anxiety, as it helps me find clarity. In addition to yoga, I began swimming again, a sport that I started soon after I learned how to walk. Equipped with a waterproof iPod, it has been my go-to activity when I’m feeling stressed. I also decided to take up rock-climbing, which to my surprise is something that I look forward to challenging myself with every week.

After filling up my time with activities I enjoyed, I proceeded to write down my goals for the future and how I was going to achieve them. Doing this helped me realize that some goals were too unrealistic and some were goals I had outgrown. It helped highlight the goals that felt intuitively right and it gave me a place to start. With advice from a friend, I then wrote down what I most wanted to achieve. After looking at my list, it became clear that I wanted to spend more time with my family and friends, so I now dedicate my Sundays to spending time with them.

Now don’t get me wrong, these changes did not happen overnight. However, I took the time to think about what I really wanted to change in my life in order to move forward in the best possible way. I had to learn how to clear my mind and dedicate time to learn about myself and figure out what makes ME happy. But most importantly, I had to learn how to accept the place I was in and not rush things. This doesn’t mean that I no longer have bad days, because I do, but rather that by making these changes I’m slowly learning what I need and I’m at a better place than where I started.

Going through this transition, I have realized that learning how to take care of ourselves is one of the most important skills we can have as individuals. Taking care of our bodies and our minds helps keep us resilient, independent, and motivated to overcome the struggles we are faced with and achieve the goals that we set for ourselves, without taking away from our happiness. So if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed or feel that your heart needs a little TLC, first take a break. Sometimes when we get overwhelmed, we aren’t able to see the big picture or think clearly about what we need to feel better. Sit and think. Make a list. Try new things (e.g., rollerblading down the lakeshore, joining a pottery class, anything you’ve ever been remotely interested in doing). If it helps bring your stress level down, it’s worth it!

Next, remind yourself that you can only do so much. This is so important. If something is weighing you down, sometimes letting go is the best thing to do in order to start feeling better. We often hold onto too much, try to do too many tasks, or set too many goals. Try to set one goal at a time, the one you want to achieve the most, and tackle it! Focusing on one goal helps you achieve it faster and better because you’re not exerting all your energy being stressed.

Finally, listen to your intuition. Your body knows how much it can handle and it will let you know when you’re doing too much and neglecting self-care. When you start feeling overwhelmed or stressed, that is your body letting you know that it needs a break. If you remain mindful of your own needs, than you’ll be happier and more productive in the long run!

By: Eliza Watts

Eliza graduated with a degree in Psychology and a specialization in research from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is a passionate mental health advocate whose goal is to help others through her own personal experience.

Loving You From A Distance

We had been talking about him going to Medical school for a while now, but nothing really quite prepares you for a long-distance relationship. For four months prior to starting this journey, I was in complete denial that it would ever happen. It only quite hit me on the last day, as we kissed goodbye, and I realised that I wouldn’t see him for a few months. Let’s just say that things didn’t look to bright from where I was standing at that moment.

The first two days were probably the hardest two days of my life. We occasionally communicated using video chat, but seeing his new sense of excitement towards his new island life somehow broke me down emotionally. Seeing him in an unknown place served as a constant reminder that he was no longer here, and I took it as being synonymous to me not being part of his life anymore. In just two days, I could already feel myself getting more and more distant. The thought of the distance leading to a break up was always in the back of my mind and it would cause panic attacks.

They say time doesn’t stop for anybody, and surely it didn’t stop for me. A week later, I felt much better. I still felt extremely distant, but I had more control over my emotional outbursts. We still spoke every night and shared a few texts here and there, but I constantly felt anxious not knowing where he was or how he was doing emotionally. This anxiety was surely irrational, since I have been with him for almost five years now sharing many milestones, but what made me feel anxious was the uncertainty of how he was doing emotionally. Every time I tried to talk to him about his feelings, I only got “I need time to express myself.”

To make matters worse, soon after he got settled, he decided to travel with a friend for a few days before classes began. Despite knowing this was all part of the package, I almost felt betrayed; how could he go out there and have fun knowing that I was sitting here desperately longing and crying for his presence every second? Feeling hurt, I constantly told myself that travelling was his only way of coping with the stress he was experiencing, and I should be supportive and not voice my own sadness. I’ve been told by many that the next 20-months will fly by in the blink of an eye, but me and my boyfriend have yet to discover how we are going to love each other from a distance.

It’s been three weeks now, and I feel like the harder I try, the more disconnected I feel. So, my strategy for now is to not read too much into what is going on in his life. We have great conversations every night and I continuously tell myself that things could be worse. One suggestion I have for people who are going through something similar is to avoid thinking about how long you are both going to be apart. I know I am guilty of dwelling on the 20 months that me and my boyfriend will be apart, but I have been trying instead to break down the months, telling myself that it’s only 3 more months until I get to see him again. In the meantime, I have many small trips, events, and outings to look forward to that will keep me distracted. It’s time for me to connect with myself.

Nikita Singh 

Nikita Singh is a graduate from the University of Toronto who is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. Her future goal is to have her own private practice specializing in marriage and couples counselling.

Tips on how to Survive a Long Distance Relationship

imagesMy husband and I shared a long distance relationship for a year before we got married. Most of what I am writing today is in retrospect of our experiences. It is undoubtedly tough to sustain a long distance relationship, but it is not impossible.

The challenge in a long distance relationship comes from managing our lives in the real world and making time for each other virtually, as well as keeping track of the time differences. As testing as it may sound, long distance relationships help strengthen the bond between a couple as it encourages effective communication, which is the foundation of any strong relationship. In a long distance relationship it can be easy to become attached to your phone, as it’s the only way of communicating with your partner. However, just like any other relationship, it’s important for you to set boundaries for yourself in order for you to form healthy habits.

Here are some tips that worked for us, and hopefully they come in handy for you too!

1. Break-Up with your Phone.

We tend to get busy with work and school, so when socializing with friends and family, take a break from your phone and enjoy their company. A lot of times, especially during the initial stages of a relationship, your partner becomes the center of your universes and all you want to do is to spend every waking minute talking to him/her. It helps to be mindful of the company you are in and not be on your phone all the time. Drop your partner a text saying you are out with company and will call him/her as soon as you are done.

Having some time alone, or “me time,” applies as much for couples in a long distance relationship as it does for any other couple. A lot of times, couples in long distance relationship struggle to understand the need for “me” time because they are not physically together. It is healthy to have some time alone to do what you enjoy and recharge, be it, watching your favorite soccer game or reading a book without checking your phone in-between. Having some time to yourself is just as important in a long distance relationship as it is in a regular relationship.

Long distance relationships, for the most part, give you the opportunity to prioritize your time well, allowing you to make time for yourself, your friends, your family and your partner.

2. Fighting Long Distance.

Having an argument with your partner can be emotionally draining as it is, but adding long distance to the equation can make it a lot more challenging. When having an argument with your partner in a long distance relationship, it is always better to talk it out over a video-chat or phone call versus texting. Texting, as convenient as it is, could be the reason why a lot of couples get into arguments because it allows room for misinterpretation.

As with everything else, long distance relationships have evolved with time. From writing letters and sending it by post to WhatsApp messaging, calling and video chats, technology has given couples the opportunity to be present without actually having to be present. What helped my husband (then boyfriend) and I to get through our distance was planning our next visit and what we would do together. This gave us the strength we needed to go on with our relationship and have something to look forward to.

 

Combating low self-esteem in relationships

imagesLow self-esteem is common in today’s era. Comparing ourselves to others happens every day, and realistically, whose self-esteem wouldn’t be hurt by this? With social media being a huge part of our lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the success of our friends, family, distant friends, and even people we don’t know — leading to harsh judgments on ourselves. However, what we don’t realize is how this can lower our self-esteem and inadvertently affect out relationships. So how can you tell if low-self esteem is affecting your relationship? Here are some key consequences:

  • When there is a negative relationship event, you (or your partner) take it personally (even when it may be a completely external force creating tension)
  • When there is a positive relationship event, you (or your partner) DON’T take it personally (credit should be given, where credit is due—feeling proud isn’t always a bad thing!!)
  • You (or your partner) doubts their value to others
  • You (or your partner) don’t have trust in your/their love and caring
  • You (or your partner) anticipate rejection and try to self-protect

So how can these affects be mitigated? Reassurance. Giving reassurance can boost feelings of security and lead to more confidence. The best way to do this is to reframe compliments in a more abstract way, making compliments more meaningful and more likely to be remembered. It is not uncommon for strangers to give you a quick compliment that can sometimes be hard to believe. But, when a compliment can be put into a sentence with background information, it shows that someone really put thought into it. When we know someone, like our partner, has thought about us, we feel flattered and reassured, giving us a boost of self-esteem!!

By: Rachael McAllister