relationships

1-Minute Read: Have You Been Hurt in a Relationship?

recite-Hurt in a relationshipI have spent many years researching and trying to understand confusing, painful and difficult relationships.  I have had my share.  We all have.  I have challenging family relationships.  I have been divorced.  And yes, I have been hurt.

We will always have challenging people and relationships in our life.  Personalities and life experiences play a big part in all of our relationships.

Never underestimate the value of understanding what is really going on in a relationship… as well as your part.  Put some time into it.  This will assist you in moving on with your life — with or without the challenging person.  Sometimes a solution is as simple as learning how to create healthy boundaries.

There is no shortcut in dealing with a painful relationship.  It hurts.  You will cry.  You will be angry and scream “This is unfair!”  But in the end you will reclaim your peace of mind.  

Peace of mind is what I help women with.

If you or someone you know would like to help in reclaiming peace of mind after (or during) a hurtful relationship, please let me know.

We were created to feel empowered in all of our relationships.


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: 5 Rules to Healthy Arguing

5 rules 2You might be thinking “Healthy arguing?! What is this woman talking about?” It’s the art of managing how you conduct yourself during a disagreement or argument which proves to be beneficial to everyone involved.

So, as promised in my previous newsletter, here are the rules to healthy arguing.

  1. Choose your setting. You should have a say so as to when and where you are while you talk about something important or emotional. It is okay to say “I am not in a calm place to be discussing this, can we talk tonight after the children are asleep”?

  2. Set time limits. My suggestion is that an intense argument should not last longer than 30 or 45 minutes, but you will need to figure out what works best for you. It’s okay to end a discussion (for the moment) and return to it at another time — even if nothing has been resolved. Sometimes it is not easy to identify a start point and an end point. Arguing is a process.

  3. Have realistic expectations. When you sit down to discuss an issue, be clear that you may not come to an agreement or resolve the issue. I realize that many people prefer to have an argument resolved. I do not think that resolving an issue during the first debate is the goal. It is the hope. Being heard and communicating effectively is a more realistic goal. There is great value in knowing how to lovingly hold the tension in a relationship — even when you haven’t solved an issue.

  4. Use “I statements” (often). This means speak with your feelings and own them. For example, “I feel hurt when you accepted the dinner invitation without checking with me.” It’s harder for someone to argue with how you feel… and how you feel is valid — ALWAYS. The idea here is to avoid the blame game which is a common trap in an argument.

  5. Speak respectfully. This should be self-explanatory but just to be sure… no put-downs or cut-ups. No finger-pointing. No throwing or breaking things. Expect this from your partner also.

I know this seems easier said than done, so if you would like to roll-play let me know and I’ll be happy to help.


Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

Read What People Are Saying About Michelle Kelley.

One-Minute Read: Life Experiences Are Never Wasted

 recite-p2g94dWe ALL have to deal with challenging and difficult situations, people and relationships in our lives. If our expectation is that life should be effortless and others have it easier, then we will certainly be disappointed.

Some of us are dealing with loss (death or divorce) or with painful transitions or scary health situations. Whatever you are dealing with, it is important (at some point) to “step away” and view your situation from different angles.

• What are you learning from this experience?
• Are you deepening your compassion?
• Are you becoming less judgmental?
• Are you realizing that you are not living your passion?

At times it’s very helpful to depersonalize our situation. We tend to get very attached to our situations, whatever they are.

Please remember your situation does not define you — you define you!

• Your divorce does not define you.
• Your illness does not define you.

If you are struggling with a difficult life situation and you would like support and guidance in bringing out the meaning or need help getting unstuck…then please reach out to me and schedule an appointment.


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

Read What People Are Saying About Michelle Kelley.

We all deserve to have peace in our relationships and in our hearts.

Middle aged coupleAs a counselor, I specialize in working with women and I have found there are a lot of women who are stressed out, overwhelmed or frustrated in their lives or relationships.

Is the world a more stressful place now than it used to be? Yes, it is. That’s why women need more support and guidance than ever before.

We’re not supposed to figure this out all by ourselves but that’s what a lot of us do!

When I work with women in my counseling practice, the first thing I do is help them gain clarity as to what the issues are. We are usually the one in our family who tries to keep it all together. It can be nerve-wracking and tiring.

The next step is to help women see the choices before them.  We all have choices in our relationships and lives. Once we see those choices we start to develop confidence. And we want to feel confident.

We want to come from that place where we feel good about ourselves so that we can ask for our needs to be met in our relationships. We want to communicate clearly. Being in relationships can be very challenging and without the right tool set, it can feel like we’re swimming upstream.

This is a journey for all of us.

If you are struggling in your life or relationships, please give me a call.

No one should have to go through difficult times alone. I would love to help.

My name is Michelle Kelley and my goal is to help you navigate through the rough spots in your life and relationships. We all deserve to have peace in our relationships and in our hearts. I can offer you quick, proven strategies to help you get the relief you deserve. Please don’t wait any longer. Call me today (any time of day) at 703.505.2413.


Michelle Kelley

Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

Read What People Are Saying About Michelle Kelley.

It is necessary to start asking for change, for respect, to be heard and to be validated.

Skeptical Woman Looking at Man in CafeMany women struggle to break free of their “people pleaser” personality. Women who are “people pleasers” often choose not to voice their thoughts and opinions out of fear of not being liked or fear of confrontation.

I recall my own silence, especially as a young girl, and the pain it caused me. I can truly understand the phrase, “If I only knew then what I know now.” But there is no way that I could have known then what I know now. I had to live through my experiences and deal with the consequences. Only then was I able to move forward.

When girls or women lose their connection to their voice, and the ability to express their wants and needs, their feeling of personal empowerment suffers. A girl or woman who has been silenced has suffered an assault on her spirit.

Perhaps you can remember an instance when your voice was not validated or heard.  How did that make you feel? What effect did that have on your confidence?

When your thoughts and opinions are not validated, you will eventually experience a disconnection between you inner voice and you inner truth, and the messages you communicates to others.  You may begin to shut down emotionally.  You may end up traveling down the road of self-medication, drugs, abusive relationships and emotional problems.

It is necessary to start asking for change, for respect, to be heard and to be validated.  I often share my experiences and lessons learned in hope that some may avoid the seemingly lengthy amount of time it can take to learn how to make good choices.  A girl in one of my “Heathy Relationships” classes told me that she didn’t realize that she could play her part differently. In other words, she didn’t have to put up with any type of mistreatment or bullying. I gave her permission and the tools she needed to stand up for herself. You can and should do the same.

Here are 4 tips to honor and claim your voice:

  1. Create a list of your strengths.  Own them.  Be proud of them.  Don’t wait for others to validate your strengths. Validate yourself.
  2. Do you have a voice in decision making?  You have a right to be a part of this process.  You have to give yourself permission first.
  3. Revisit (reflect upon) a hurtful statement that was made to you.  How would you use your voice now?  What would you say differently?
  4. Take care of yourself (emotionally as well as physically). Too often women put themselves last in this area.

Women need to be conscious about the choices they are making in friendships, romance and life. We are not flowers in a field. We are supposed to be active participants in all areas of our lives.

I recently read a quote by Meg Ryan which stated, “If you empower women, you can change the world.” Many women are beginning to initiate positive change in their relationships.  Ultimately the positive effects will reach men, families and society.

We are in a time of great change in our personal relationships; let the change begin!

Please reach out to me for assistance if you’re ready to learn how to ask for respect and make changes in your life.  You may contact me via email or phone 703-505-2413 to arrange an appointment.


Michelle Kelley

Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

Read What People Are Saying About Michelle Kelley.

Self-Esteem Influences All Areas of Your Life

portrait of buoyant girlI find it interesting — yet sad — that many women and girls I work with in my counseling sessions have an expectation that their self-esteem should be higher; and if it is not, then they feel shame (a silent emotional killer for women and girls).  In our culture we have created an unrealistic standard for women – that we should be super woman and overly confident, and to admit ‘less than’ is often seen as failure.

Failure?  Failure is such a harsh word and yet it is one that women and girls often embrace too quickly.  Allowing negative, false labels to stick to you is one way to send your self-esteem spiraling downward.

Low self-esteem could mean that you have experienced (perceived or real) an emotionally traumatic situation, relationship or childhood.  There are many possible causes of low self-esteem.  You are a member of the human race, after all, and on your own path.  

It’s time to spread the message that it’s okay to embrace and admit that your self-esteem is not where you would like it to be.

Thankfully it is now widely accepted that having good physical health is important and should be actively pursued.  Yet why don’t we have the same expectation for emotional health?

For example, why is the negative stigma about counseling still hanging around?  You know the one I’m talking about “If you go to counseling then there must be something wrong with you”.  Even if you don’t feel this way, chances are that someone you are close to does.

Counseling is an opportunity to pursue a greater understanding of your emotional self and your relationships.  Isn’t that a good thing?  Of course it is!

So how do you create healthy self-esteem?  I can tell you what doesn’t work — ignoring or denying the issue.  Denial never solves anything! It’s best to dive in.  Do some research.  Go see a counselor.  Talk to your trusted friends.   Just don’t keep it a secret to fester and magnify.

See, self-esteem influences all areas of your life.  For women this means your marriage, your family and your work.  For girls this means your choices in friends, activities and academic performance.

Healthy self-esteem is an essential component of emotional well-being. 
Emotional well-being is what we should all strive for.

Our lives are more likely to flourish if we have a healthy emotional life… and self-esteem is an indicator of our emotional health.  

Sharing your healthy self-esteem with others is a wonderful gift to give them and the world.

If you would like more information on how to create healthy self-esteem or if you would like to work with me as your personal coach, please contact me via email or phone 703.505.2413. I am here to help!


Michelle Kelley

Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

Read What People Are Saying About Michelle Kelley.

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Testimonials

I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I left your office so inspired today.
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AnnaMay
To say Michelle changed our lives would not be an exaggeration. She was very empathetic and non-judgmental... She didn't make our daughter feel badly... She didn't make my husband and myself feel like incompetent parents.
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Linda
I definitely owe my newfound confidence to Michelle. Without her, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to come out of my horrible situation as such a better version of myself.
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Grace
People don't understand Michelle doesn’t just offer advice… which they seem to be afraid of hearing. I convey the message that the decisions you make are ultimately your own but Michelle will help you find clarity and sort through emotions.
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Chris
We felt comfortable knowing that Michelle would be the kind of counselor that would help our daughter see the good in herself, but also question some of her choices and actions.
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Patricia
You have brought back the communication ability that I thought that I lost. You helped her understand what we were feeling and she is such a better person for seeing you.
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Maggie
Michelle, you are so right about [my daughter] and how she thrives off of feelings of accomplishment. All seems to be good now. She amazes me every day with the way she is learning to handle tough situations.
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Cynthia
With Michelle’s guidance, I was able to accomplish in approximately 8 months what I hadn’t been able to over the past 15 years.
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Elizabeth
I am forever grateful for Michelle's help.
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Anne
Thank you, Michelle, for giving me my voice and a new lease on life.
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Nancy
Retired Arlington County Teacher
She helped me focus my attention toward problem-solving issues.
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Laura Clancy, Owner
MuffinToppled® Fitness Coaching
Michelle is the best life coach I ever had.
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Marina
Michelle is an excellent listener and her insights and advice were always right on target.
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Ann
(mother of a teen girl)
She helped me in so many ways!
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Kelly
Michelle Kelly saved my life. What more can I say?
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Stephanie W.

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