Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Dealing with Confidence and Energy Sapping Friends

” Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you are in need. People who do not take advantage of you. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through” 

The people whom you have the most contact with and hang around will have either a positive or negative affect on your levels of self-esteem and confidence.
We all know those people who are positive, happy and joyful to be around.
How do they make you feel?
Yes, they make you feel the same! They can put zest into a boring atmosphere and can fill the room with positive, can do vibes that has a knock on effect on everyone else.
We also know of those people who could moan for England!
They never had the opportunities, they are always putting people down, they don’t like others to be successful, they are jealous and are negative thinkers - need I go on! Sometimes after spending time with these people everything seems so hard, life so difficult, you feel discouraged, as if things will never change for the better. 
These people drain your energy and bring you down to their level, a million miles away from the level that YOU want to be operating on. And remember gossip is never empowering and spending time with people who love gossip or interfering in other people's lives is a downer. It keeps you from moving forward, personal growth and development. 
Family members can be a lot like this also but you can always choose your friends, you can never choose your family! But you can choose not to get involved in the gossip. 
So what should you do to make sure that the people who you hang around with empower and support what you stand for rather than bring you down all of the time?
1. You have the power to choose who you hang around with. Ideally you want happy, vibrant and positive people. So choose your company wisely, people who have powerful intentions to succeed in life and make a positive difference in the world. 

2. If you have good friends who are negative and yet you still want to hang around them, make a point of letting them know how you feel – if they are a true friend they will respect you for this. If they are negative from time to time just acknowledge that this is what they are like and block out the negativity.

3. The same can be said with family. Your more mature family members have behaviours that have been conditioned for years and years and from different eras. Appreciate where they have come from and as in number 2 above, elicit and select the information that filters through to your brain.

4. Remember, that nothing has meaning in life except the meaning that you give it, and the importance you choose to attach to it. 

5. Remember also that other people's opinions of you are none of your concern. So don't worry about it. Don't worry about what they may or may not be thinking of you. Get on with your life. 

Patricia Benjamin
Life Coach
Love & Relationship Coach
Radio Talk Show Host
Facebook: Ask Patricia
Twitter: Ask_ Patricia
iTunes: Real Love Show

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Dealing with Disappointment!

There is a well known proverb which says "hope deferred makes the heart sick but when the desire comes its a tree of life!"

I think that's a great proverb because it has the problem and the solution at the same time.

It is horrible when the thing you hoped for, built all your hopes on, placed all your expectations on, fails to come to pass. Its like a kick in the stomach and almost wants to deflate you.  You ask yourself what do you do now?  Where do you go now, what happens next? Sometimes its hard to pick yourself up off the floor.

If if was a disappointment in love, it can be even more devastating.  Perhaps the person you thought was The One turns out to be anything but. You wonder what all the hard work was for.  All the investment you put into that relationship seems wasted.  Looking at someone like Khloe Kardashian you can see her pain, she feels she has given her everything to her husband Lamar and still it wasn't enough.  When it comes to loves, it takes two baby. No matter how much one of you might want it to work it has to come from the pair of you. One person cannot build when the other is intent on pursuing actions that will destroy.  Its hard, and indeed the heart will feel sick.  It may even feel broken. Some people feel like failures if their relationship or marriage falls apart.

For women, we many times use our relationships to define who we are.  Someone's wife, or someone's mother.  If this primary relationship fails or falls apart, we can almost lose ourselves. Lose who we thought we were. Actress Cocoa Brown says she stayed in a marriage too long because she didn't want to become a stereotype, another statistic, just another baby-mama.

But what if your disappointment was in your career. All the hard work, study, and then something goes wrong. Here a man is often affected in a deeper way than a woman.  I say this because men define themselves by what they do, not who they are, i.e their relationship.  A man will introduce himself as John Brown, city banker, or Alan Smith, fashion designer, but what happens if your career has failed to take off, or been sabotaged or seems to be suffering from inertia or going through an hiatus period - what then? Who are you now?

Or your disappointment could simply be due to people who have let you down, Perhaps finding out that the friend you thought you could trust has been talking about your behind your back or maybe you found out family secrets that have knocked you for six, maybe discovering that your political leaders are just that, politicians.  Finding out that church leaders you had believed in and accepted their teachings were less than pillars of virtue.

Nevertheless, disappointment is part of life. We all face it.  The main thing is to recognize that life goes on. Every pain is temporary. Over the last couple years I have had some deep disappointments and if I hadn't known had to sit quietly and gather myself, and my thoughts I am sure I would have lost the plot.

Its at times of seeming failure, abject disappointment that we learn life's deepest lessons.  Lessons that prepare you to succeed in life.  I have not read of one single highly successful man or woman who has not had days when they were literally on the floor wondering how they were going to get up again.

One thing I did in times of disappointment was to speak to other people.  But I had to make sure they were the right people.  The wrong people will just commiserate with you and help you to stay where you are, in a place of brokenness or inertia.  Others will give you advice with good intentions but its the wrong advice.  Yet others will share with you openly their own stories of pain, disappointment and failure and cause you to know you can still make it, just like they did.

When you are feeling disappointed, find someone who will inspire you, who will show you that its all part of the process.  Success is a process, or journey.  And so is love.  Anyone who has been married for any length of time will say it takes work and consistent work.  I have been married this July 30 years and I say yes my husband and family mean everything to me but it takes emotional, spiritual, mental and physical investment, you cannot have a successful marriage based on hype and wishful thinking.

Success in life and career will have its curve balls, its fabulous days and days when you wish you had never gotten out of bed, yet as the Proverb says, when the desire comes it is the tree of life.

The disappointment that was meant to floor you, let me say, will be used to build you. I say to the depth that you were taken, provides the depth of the root of your tree of life.  Meaning the degree to which you were lowered will be the height of your altitude.  In fact it will be the mountain on which you stand.  So learn the lessons of life well, use them to grow by, for success has its price.  You have to be willing to pay it.  Love has its price, and you have to pay it. Whatever disappointment you have faced in love, learn the lesson, don't let your pain be in vain.  Don't let your pain make you bitter, let it purify you, allow it to make you better.

Because one day your tree of life will come, whether in life or in love.  So don't give up, don't lose your faith, don't lose hope.  Its not an if, its a when.  Your desire will come.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Do Men Forgive Sexual Betrayal as Readily as Women Seem to - Plus Effects of Porn on Relationships

This week's Real Love Show asked the question whether men forgive sexual betrayal as easily as women seem to.  I say "seem to" because this cannot be easy. This came about because Lord Jeffrey Archer is back in the news as he promotes his latest book.  The journalist wondered whether he would have stood by Mary if she had humiliated him in the way that he had done her over the years with various sexual indiscretions including using prostitutes.

I remember talking with friends about forgiving your spouse if they betrayed you sexually with someone else. One guy told the story of a couple where the wife was so in love with her husband and so wanting to please him and make him happy, that she had given him permission if he ever met someone he really liked, to sleep with her.  Just so long as he didn't do it in front of her. Apparently the husband was so grateful and appreciative that he said he doubted he would ever do such a thing as he had such a wonderful wife. A young lady sitting in the group said, wow wasn't that amazing and  she supposed it must work the other way round so that if she liked another man her husband would turn a blind eye.  Well, I nearly collapsed at this one especially when I saw the guy's face who was telling the story.  He seemed so completely shocked and taken aback and took some time to recover.  I'm quite sure no such reciprocal agreement existed!

I am concerned that a woman would think it okay to give her husband permission to sleep with other women. Is there an element of insecurity that tells her its going to happen anyway so just allow it? What are her expectations of marriage?  Some women feel that although he cheats, so long as he comes back to them each time,  its okay.  I can never align myself to this thinking.  If a man isn't man enough to stay faithful and commit to one woman and one family then he just doesn't need to get married. He is not ready. When he is ready, then step up.  Why on earth would you make vows to be faithful to one person "so long as you both shall live" and then sleep with all and sundry?

It seems to me that the humiliation is the same whether it is the wife or the husband that is betrayed and if you can forgive, it will take time to heal, although things will never be the same.  Some people say they become stronger.   No doubt due to the work involved in putting the marriage back together again. Although I would question if there really is a marriage where there is persistent adultery over the years.

Are those vows really being taken seriously?  It is up to the couple to decide. I understand if either party falls from grace once but to do so repeatedly is "having a laugh" or you have a serious underlying problem.  If if turns out to be a such a problem, it needs to be sought out and dealt with. A Counsellor or Relationship Coach is worth their weight in gold here.  A marriage is a serious investment and any help needed should be taken.  Living with a partner who is persistently adulterous is neither good for the spouse or any children who grow up witnessing this. Its bad for the marriage as it eats away at its very fabric which includes trust, honour and respect. It is bad for the spouse whose self-esteem and self-worth is attacked every time. It is bad for the children as it teaches young boys to have no respect for women or indeed the institution of marriage and it teaches young girls not to trust men.

The Show also looked at porn and its effects on a marriage.  I would have a problem if my husband found it necessary to ogle naked women in magazines or felt he simply had to watch explicit movies, porn or otherwise. Why would you want to fill your mind with such images? I am quite sure if I started reading magazines full of naked pictures of men he would not be impressed. A healthy marriage doesn't require porn. All it requires is two people who are into each other. When you started out, you didn't need external stimuli, just being with each other was enough.

Speaking to guys who use porn, they all tell me one thing, that regular sex becomes boring.  Well, its no surprise if you are going to fill your head with all kinds of kinky images and feel you have to reproduce that. One guy told me he had to spice this up after a while by bringing in threesomes, no surprise the third person would be another girl, not another man. I wonder how he would feel if she suggested a threesome but recommended another man! I am pretty sure his ego would have something to say!

With society being so sexualised you have to set the boundaries to what you will have infiltrate your marriage.  You have to protect your relationship.  You have to protect your marriage.  Everything does NOT go.

Sex does not have to become boring  It becomes boring if you are boring.

Sex is an important part of any marriage and it always requires that you work on it. Which means working on the relationship in general.

We also touched upon the high rate of sexual immorality in today's church.  Perhaps there is a connection to the high level of porn addiction with people in the church.  Both men and women.  Both pulpit and pew. It would be difficult to practice christian principles as in no sex before marriage, or no adultery, if you are taking in the influences of porn,  and allowing it has be said in some cases perverse images to fill your spirit and mind. If you take it in, its got to have an outlet.

I remember somebody giving me a porn magazine when I was around  15. I saw the first couple pages as they flicked it open and I just turned my back. Insulted! Why would this man, who should know better, give this magazine to me? What did he take me for? The image that I saw however fleetingly was not of a beautiful woman but a woman who was being exploited.  In conversations I have had with men over the years, some say if a woman wants to be a prostitute or a stripper or wants to pose naked, its empowering, its making her money and the men are the idiots for paying for it.  And there was nothing wrong with it.  I asked them all the same question, if it was their mother doing it to provide bread for the table, or their daughter doing it to make ends meet, is that okay? Is there anything wrong with this picture?  I have never had a positive answer yet. Why is this?

Don't we all know inherently whether something is good or not?

+Stephan Labossiere was with us on the show and gave great tips on how to detox from porn addiction.  Including ways to wean yourself off, getting your partner to help you when it comes to online porn and setting up systems that prevent you accessing them, and more.

A blog dedicated to dealing sexual addiction coming next.

Patricia Benjamin
Life & Relationship Coach
Facebook: Ask Patricia
Twitter: Ask_Patricia
iTune: Real Love Show
Mixcloud: Ask Patricia

Friday, 7 March 2014

No more sex

Remember the time when you both could scarcely keep your hands off each other? The times when you felt you couldn't live without each other's love? When all you wanted to do was cover her with slow kisses? When all you wanted was to lay your head on his chest?

What happened to all the eroticism?When did all the intensity dissipate? When did the deep longings for each other's touch start fading? 

Surely it was supposed to get even better with time. Like a fine wine. Wasn't the love meant to grow stronger? Weren't her breasts always meant to satisfy him? Wasn't he always supposed to be the object of her desire?

If you're finding yourself no longer dangerously in love with your spouse, the exciting truth is, you can be again. 

Falling in love is something you can do over and over again. With the same man. With the same woman. 

Let's look at a few things that often get in the way. 

1. Disappointment. 

If life has not gone quite the way you expected and your partner hasn't lived up to some of your private expectations it is a passion killer. You may need to ask yourself if your expectations were realistic. Were you expecting your husband to act the way your father did? Or did you think he would always have the answers? Have you found him to have feet of clay? Did you think your wife would do the things your mother did, the way she did? Have you found her unable to be your definition of the perfect wife?

Has life been full of struggles, challenges, with a demanding family life, money worries? 

All these can take the shine off life. And this is not necessarily a problem if you develop coping strategies that you both employ. However if you fall into the trap of blaming each other for things that go wrong, know this, a house divided against itself will not stand. Together you can face life. For better or worse. A love that has been tested, been through the fire, and has endured, becomes very precious. More precious than silver, costlier than gold and more beautiful than diamonds. 

2. Lack of Intention.

Nothing just happens. The most beautiful orchid or rose needs attention. Special attention. Love needs an environment. An environment is created through words, attitude, action, music, atmosphere. 

Do you have an environment that sets a scene? A love scene? Yes, life is tough, it's demanding, but this just means you must be more intentional in setting up an environment where your love can flourish. 

So forgive quickly, forgiveness is a skill all couples must learn to preserve love. Words create an atmosphere and if your words have been thoughtless, unkind, harsh, then these emotions and feelings fill your home. Have the grace to say sorry. Have the grace to forgive.

Music is one of the most powerful ways to change or create an atmosphere. Find beautiful songs that celebrate love. Play them. Listen to the words and hold each other. Be intentional. Shut out the world. Close the door and turn off the light!

3. We Don't Talk Anymore!

Don't be lonely in your marriage. If you're not talking to each other you will be susceptible to an emotional affair.  We all need to talk, that's the way God planned it. Communication is how we literally commune with each other. If we don't  commune there is no union. One reason couples don't talk is a lack of trust. No one wants to open up from a deep and personal place and fear it will be used against them at a later time. Or thrown back at them. Neither will they want it shared with friends. 

Another reason for lack of conversation and therefore intimacy is unresolved conflicts, things that are not being discussed because they're too painful, go deep. Here I would recommend counselling or relationship coaching. When something is left unattended it will eventually contaminate  the relationship and the physical health of the person holding on to the pain. Don't leave it. It won't go away. 

These are just a few reasons why sex can disappear but worth checking to see if they apply. 

If they do apply, begin to address them. Then you will find the sex hasn't gone anywhere, it's still there.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Where do broken hearts go?

How can you mend a broken heart? Those aching words uttered when it feels like life can never ever be the same again. You ask yourself what now, what's the meaning of life, how can you possibly go on. Everyone around you tells you to get over it. Get over him. Get over her. As if it's that easy!

If only your emotions would listen to your brain. If only your heart would listen to the words of advice and counsel. But your heart seems to have other ideas. 

But get over it you must. You cannot sustain such angst and hurt forever. 

The first thing to accept is know that it's going to hurt. To accept that it's going to be painful. It's going to be hard. If this was the love of your life, so you thought, perhaps you've gone through a broken engagement and you feel like everything is upside down, do not expect to forget all about it overnight. 

This is the time to do a Toni Braxton and let it flow, let it flow and let it go. Don't try to suppress your tears. It's alright to cry. Tears are there for a reason. They carry release. So yes, let it flow and let it go. 

Another thing to bear in mind is that there is a good reason for your breakup. Whenever you are tempted to think its all a big mistake and you need your ex back, take out your journal (don't write one? start now) and write down all the things that went wrong. All the things that made you sad while you were in the relationship. Remind yourself of the straw that broke the camel's back. There is a good reason for this. When we are feeling sad and playing all those sad lonely love songs it's very tempting to remember just the good times, it's called selective memory, and you just remember the good bits. All of a sudden the good bits seem even more rosy. So, remind yourself of the reasons why you broke up. They are still the same. Nothing has changed. And yes, you did make the right decision.  In times like these you need to be selfish. That is, put yourself first. That's right. Your peace of mind. Your peace of heart. Your personal happiness. Tell me, if you don't put yourself first who will. You matter and right now it's your time to heal. 

Your time to forgive. 

Forgive. Yes forgive yourself. If you feel you did anything to contribute to the breakup or that things could have gone better, fair enough, everyone makes mistakes.  It's all part of it, that's how we learn. But please don't beat yourself up. That gets you nowhere.

Know that you have love in your future. And this relationship has taught you some lessons no matter how painful. 
A note here; do not rush into a new relationship. Do not believe the old maxim that the quickest way to get over a man is to get under a new one. That's rebound hell.  Computer says NO.

Do also forgive your ex of anything they did that hurt you. Don't be bitter. Don't be ugly. It will make you old before your time. Forgive your ex and forgive yourself. 

Remember, life goes on. The world is still turning on its axis. Remember your friends, your family, the ones who love you. Well now is the time to soak up that love, your real friends will be there for you. Don't isolate yourself but call them, visit them, go out, do not sit at home and feel sorry for yourself, and most of all make sure you have deleted all texts, messages from your ex. 

Do not ring your ex. Do not receive your ex's calls. Do not text your ex. Do not check them out on Facebook or any other social media.

Allow the wound to heal. Let your broken heart mend and it won't heal or mend if you're forever revisiting the past. 

If it gets difficult, speak to a counsellor, a relationship coach, don't let things build. 

One day the pain will be less. It will go away.  And you will love again. 

If you would like life or relationship coaching do email me for details. 

Patricia Benjamin
Life & Relationship Coach
Radio Talk Show Host
Facebook: Ask Patricia
Twitter: Ask_Patricia
iTunes: Real Love Show

Relationship Don't Dos

On this week's Real Love Show a couple of relationship issues came to light which I thought needed attention. One concerned a lady in a relationship becoming too involved too quickly.

Scenario 1 - having dated for a mere 5 weeks the young lady age 23 gives her new boyfriend of the same age, an expensive silver bracelet with both their initials engraved and the words "love you forever"! The young man is very taken aback and hardly knows what to say. He feels it's just too much as they are just getting to know each other. 

Scenario 2 - After a number of expensive gifts including a weekend in Milan, a surprise birthday gift to him from her, he asks that they slow down as it's only been 3 months and she gets very upset and angry.  

Scenario 3 - A woman age 41 has been seeing a man for 8 weeks. They get along well and she likes him a lot. She has now given him a key to her house and takes delight in providing wonderful meals for him and doesn't mind helping him with laundry as he often works nights. She feels she is a good woman and can make him happy. She is now concerned as he seems to be taking her for granted and she doesn't like it. 

I would like to offer some food for thought to both these ladies and to anyone else male or female that can relate to this type of behaviour. 

You cannot buy love and you cannot hurry love. Desperation and neediness is neither attractive nor desirable in a partner. Nobody values something they get too easy. It's like easy come easy go. We all know when you work for something you appreciate it. That includes relationships. 

Number one is to value yourself. Now the type of behaviour shown here is typically of someone who has low self-esteem. The low self-esteem could stem from past relationships that eroded their self-confidence and could have included being cheated on, or being verbally or mentally abused and made to feel inadequate or less than. 

The older lady may feel the pressure of being lonely or the biological clock or past relationships that were also negative in some way. 

When we want love we have to prepare for love. This starts with loving yourself. Treating yourself with respect. When you respect yourself a partner will do the same. You don't have anything to prove to anyone. Just be yourself. You are enough. However, you may have areas that you have not addressed in your life that are causing vulnerabilities or weakness when it comes to negotiating a love relationship. 

I would recommend you take a look at my earlier blog - The 28 Day RealLove Challenge - which takes you through a process of finding out and getting clarity on who you really are, helps you create a compelling plan for your wonderful self and identifies areas for change when it comes to self and relationships. 

In the meantime realise that to come on too strong is another way of sabotaging a relationship. Relax and cool off. Never make another human being your whole life. Or your entire focus. Get a life of your own. That phrase "you complete me" is pure Hollywood and you cannot put your happiness in someone else's power. You are responsible for making yourself happy. It's your life. 

A man or a woman is much more attracted to someone who has a life of their own, isn't clingy or needy, and who seems to be pursuing life. 

Start living your life like its golden. Love you, love your life!
Patricia Benjamin
Life and Relationship Coach
Radio Talk Show Host
Facebook: Ask Patricia
Twitter: Ask_Patricia
iTunes Real Love Show