In the Detail

A guy often has the uncanny ability to know just what to say to a girl when courting her. He may whisper sweet nothings into her ear, send her a cute little text message, write a little cute note, or even serenade her. He also knows what to do that’ll impress her. A fellow may take her out to dinner, a movie, or dancing. He knows to give her a gift. All ‘noble’ gestures to get what he wants: the girl (and it works).  

All too often in my counseling practice I am visited with the same complaint by women with regards to their significant others; “He doesn’t do the things that he used to do.” Why is it that after a period of time some men often stop saying and doing the things that they have once said and done to get the girl? The short answer… “It’s a lot of work.” That being said… keep doing it. Gentlemen, it is a lot of work to show one’s love and affection toward one’s significant other. Perhaps you show your love by providing shelter, food, and protection; all noble, but these acts of love only meet the most basic of needs. Those things are only good for survival and who wants to only survive? Human beings need more to be happy. Women need more to be happy. 

A little goes a long way. It doesn’t take much to brighten your significant other’s day and to communicate to her that she is appreciated and loved.  A simple, ‘I love you’ may be just enough. However, “the devil is in the detail”. If a man has decided that he wants to be in a relationship, it probably behooves him to do it thoroughly and well. There is no half-assing a relationship.  In the paraphrased words of singer-songwriter, Oscar D’León, “Take her to the movies, buy her flowers, bathe with her, bring her breakfast in bed, treat her with much affection, whisper sweet nothings into her ear, and love her. She deserves it.” Do these things and when your girl, woman, fiancé, wife, significant other is asked how you and she are doing; she’ll undoubtedly respond, “Somos Felices”.

Dr. Roy A. Salgado, Jr.

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me,...I, I, I, I, I

Mario Moreno Cantinflas once said, “I love…, you love…, he loves…, we love…, you love…, they love…; were it not just a conjugation; but a reality.” All too often in today’s society it appears that we think of the aforementioned as only a conjugation. The ‘culture’ today seems to celebrate indulgence and reinforces immediate gratification. The devices that we use seem to promote the notion of egocentrism; the names of the products that we use have the first person singular pronoun in the names.

Frequently, I am challenged with the task of intervening with families once their interpersonal dynamics have been compromised. I am invited to facilitate a change in the family system and to intervene accordingly. Lack of communication, an unwillingness to listen, to empathize, or to unconditionally love the other appear to be factors in many presenting issues.  Parents don’t listen to their children. Siblings don’t empathize with one another. Spouses don’t love unconditionally. 

Spouses, parents and children, siblings; if you want to be heard, listen. If you want to be understood, empathize. If you want to be accepted as you are, love unconditionally. It’s a sacrifice. It’s a lot of work. It’s difficult. The payoff, however, is great. “When you do for others; others do for you.” Be the first to break the habit of screaming me, me, me, me, me…, I, I, I, I, I. Serve the other. Think, “What can I do for you?”

Parents tend to ‘know’ what their kids ‘ought’ to do. Children have humorous notions of what their parents ‘owe’ them. Husbands are quick to state what their wives’ ‘duties’ are in the home and wives with much certainty rattle off what husbands are ‘supposed to do’.

Parents, preoccupy yourselves with what it is that your role is to be as a parent. Your children will quickly pick up on what is expected of them as a result. Spouses, steadfastly start to work on being the best spouse that you can be. It’s amazing how quickly your other half will respond to meeting your needs. What is needed in our society is a paradigm shift. Diligently work to meet your loved ones’ needs.

If I, you, he, she, we, and they get in the habit of doing this on a consistent basis the aforementioned conjugation will turn into a reality for those who apply it. As such we will be passing along to subsequent generations a legacy, one in which the recipients of our love can emphatically declare, “íSí, somos felices!”

Dr. Roy A. Salgado, Jr.

Digital Detox

People today are more ‘connected’ than in all of history, yet many relationships appear to be compromised, fragmented or even broken. Electronic devices and social networks appear to have created an illusion of connectivity when in fact many struggle to interact with others in meaningful and healthy ways.  Some individuals find their self-concept influenced by whether or not a post or a comment on a social media site is ‘liked’ or not. Some couples report challenges in their relationships due to ‘friendships’ on said sites (i.e. an ex). Some families may be in close proximity to one another, yet light-years away when it comes to knowing what’s on each other’s minds or in each other’s hearts. Many of us today are more ‘disconnected’ from our loved ones than ever.

In an effort to reconnect with loved ones… disconnect from your devices.  Yes, it is difficult and impractical to throw out our devices altogether. Twenty-first century life often requires that we use these tools on a regular basis. These devices are just that, however, tools to be utilized responsibly and for the purposes for which they were created. They are not to become impediments in our lives, but rather instruments to facilitate aspects of our lives. Many today have replaced time with loved ones for time with these devices. Keep in perspective that our devices are tools that have been created for work and pleasure. They do serve a purpose and these purposes can be good. Too much of a good thing, however, can be toxic. Even something as essential as water, if consumed in excess can be toxic for the human body.  These devices are no exception.

It is recommended that individuals turn off their devices an hour or two prior to one’s bedtime. This appears to allow the brain a more optimal time for rest during sleep. Well rested individuals function more effectively and more efficiently throughout the day. Additionally, it is recommended that when in the proximity of others (i.e. at the dinner table) that all devices be put to the side. Often times a typical scene today consists of individuals a few inches or feet from one another, but more closely ‘connected’ to someone miles away. Be more mindful as to how and when you use your devices, you may find yourself and your loved ones saying “Somos Felices”.  

Dr. Roy A. Salgado, Jr.

Eat, Play, Read: Your Kids Will Love You for It

‘I don’t know how to get my child to listen.’ ‘I don’t know how to keep my child out of trouble.’ ‘How do I get my child to love me?’ These are a few of the cries that some parents often make in regard to some of their children.

 If you are one of these parents, then this piece has been written for you. If you are the parent of a young child who has many years of development before him or her, then this piece is also written for you. Follow this recipe and your children will love you for it.

 All children need to have their basic needs met air, water, and food along with clothing and shelter.  If these basic life preserving conditions are consistently met, then you are halfway there. Children also need empathy, acceptance, and understanding; in other words, LOVE. How can you as a parent efficiently provide this to your children?

 Eat with your children. Sharing meals with one another offers an opportunity to engage while meeting a basic need; it also provides a structure in which parent and child can spend TIME together talking about recent events and an opportunity to process thoughts, feelings, and reactions to those events.

 Play with your children. Dr. Landreth, a well-known play therapist, states that Play is the language that children use to communicate and Toys are their words. Playing with your children offers you an opportunity to witness firsthand how your children experience the world, what they are thinking, how they are feeling, and how they in turn respond to their experiences. It offers parents an instant opportunity to address concerns in the moment and to be proactive in their children’s lives.

 Read to your children. Reading to your children offers moments of tranquility. While reading, your children are offered an opportunity to practice listening skills, being still, paying attention, and focusing. Additionally, it exposes children to new words expanding their vocabulary. Children who have an extensive vocabulary are able to verbally express themselves more effectively and are less likely to resort to maladaptive behaviors such as cursing, screaming, fighting, or hitting. When children resort to such maladaptive behaviors it is often linked to an inability to verbally express their thoughts and feelings using words.

 By eating together, playing together, and reading together parents are helping their children to develop skills that are related to effective communication.  In turn, open communication builds strong relationships. When this is in place; “Somos Felices.”


Dr. Roy A. Salgado, Jr.

The "Somos Felices" Project

The “Somos Felices” Project

I fondly recall, my great-aunt read a poem that she had composed for my grandparents in honor of their 60th wedding anniversary. She talked about love and joy. She beautifully painted a picture in which my great-grandfather sat proudly at the head of his dining room table in their home in Honduras.  She describes a bountiful table at which my great-grandfather proudly sat accompanied by his lovely bride, my great-grandmother and all of his children.  My grandmother technically is the eldest sibling of five. She, however, was raised with her cousins as well. All ten of them grew up under the same roof with my great-grandparents as the parents and patriarchs of their great big happy family; ten brothers and sisters growing up with much love and affection.

She went on to say how my great-grandfather would simply sit back at the table and observe his greatest accomplishment, his family. She quoted my great-grandfather as frequently declaring, *“í¿Verdad, que somos felices?!” … to which my great-grandmother would consistently respond back in her unique way; *“Si, somos felices.” The simplicity and elegance of my great-grandfather’s words along with the complexity and intricacies of what it takes to accomplish such a feat left an indelible mark on me his great-grandson.  I never sat at that table, yet I sit at that table and am nurtured by it every day. I never heard him say those words, yet I carry them with me in my heart, mind and spirit every day. I never knew my great-grandfather, yet I am the recipient, beneficiary, heir, and steward of his joy and love every day.  My great-grandfather’s words were spoken nearly a century ago; in another time, in another land, in another language, in another culture; yet his declaration has transcended time, borders, language, and culture.  We his descendants sit around our tables with our families and we share in his sentiment. In our relationships with one another, in our treatment of one another, and in our love for one another we emphatically reply on a regular basis to his declaration, “íSi, somos felices!”  We as heirs to this declaration are entrusted with his legacy of promoting this as a promise to our children. We are stewards of this declaration. May our children’s children come to realize this inheritance and experience their legacy as we experience it; may they too declare “íSi, somos felices! 

*”Isn’t it true that we are happy?!”                                         *… “Yes, we are happy.”


Roy A. Salgado, Jr., Ph.D., LPC-S, LMFT-S, NCC