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We all want tohappiness is like a butterfly be happy. In fact, most of us have great expectations of happiness.

It doesn’t always work out the way that we expect though, does it?

There are break ups. There are illnesses. There are financial difficulties. Real life has problems. Everybody has. Problems are not the problem…the problem is expecting to not have problems or always thinking that life will be smooth sailing…

“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
― Jodi Picoult

Happiness is not a Guarantee in Relationships

I grew up with movies and cartoons where boy meets girl, there is conflict, boy loses girl, and then…lo and behold…boy gets girl back. In real life, most likely, if boy loses girl (or girl loses boy), there is a whole world of hurt that has to be travelled through.

How many Hollywood scenarios are written and played out like this? There is no wonder why we have those kinds of expectations of our relationships. In fact, if you are an avid movie watcher or television watcher, chances are that you have seen these expectations laid out in plots for years.

I am the type of person that likes to read the last page of a book before I read the book. Surprised? 

I don’t like to read through a book and then it has a bad ending…because when I read fiction, I read it for entertainment. It’s one of my quirks…expectations that I have about the books that I read.

In real life, we don’t have that luxury…because we don’t have a crystal ball to say that this relationship will turn out this way or that.

Because we don’t have a guarantee for how relationships will work out even though you might have done everything right in the beginning. There is a certain amount of trust involved in venturing into the land of relationships, isn’t there?

Can You Really Be Happy if Things Didn’t Work Out?

If you have those expectations of a situation…a relationship…a career…a project…and you weren’t happy with the results, can you be happy again?

Yes. You can be happy.

It might take time…there might need to be time to grieve for the lost dream. Because that is why it can be painful. There was an expectation of what life would look like in that future that you imagined…and it didn’t work out…

Even though there might be a sense of failure…here is the good news. There is no failure. There is only feedback. Now you know what didn’t work…and because you know what didn’t work…you can make different choices…

And because you can make different choices, based on knowing what you know…you can create a different future…that includes what you want. Take a look around you and see what real happiness looks like…not the Hollywood version of happiness…

 “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Let go of that unrealistic expectation of happiness…it only exists in the movies and on the small screen…

See that happiness is in the moment…it can be fleeting…so notice it when it’s there…and bask in it…and so I ask you, what does happiness look like to you? Because that is all that counts…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner


Wow…have youmagically transform overwhelm into calm ever had one of THOSE weeks…when just about everything goes wrong or threatens to go wrong? With it comes overwhelm.

The dog runs away, there is a break up; a notice comes in the mail that you weren’t expecting…one would be enough to deal with. What happens if there is more than one crisis to deal with in a short period of time?

I wish that I had a magic wand for those situations…but I don’t…and neither does anyone else. In those moments of stress and crisis, overwhelm needs to be taken by the hand and lead down a different path. So, here are some things to do that will give you a temporary way to deal with the overwhelm in a crisis situation.

Physical Tips for Dealing with the Overwhelm

  • Wall push ups
  • Deep Breathing
  • Up your magnesium content (bananas, chocolate, supplements)
  • Have a cup of tea (l-theanine)
  • Take a walk to up your endorphins (walk fast for a minute, then stroll, do it again every 5 minutes). Walking while the sun is shining is best to get more vitamin D.

Mental Strategies for Beating Overwhelm

  • Make a list
  • Prioritize your list. Put a number by each item, in order of importance
  • Which of these items can be stricken off your list?
  • What is the most important action on your list?
  • Take Action. Do the most important item on your list FIRST.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes and do it…after those 15 minutes, take a break and lay down…
  • Be Lazy

If the Overwhelm is Caused by an Upcoming Event

Here is a simple exercise based on NLP techniques, if you are feeling overwhelmed by an event that is in your future. Imagine…if you can…that you have travelled to that time in your future that is 15 minutes AFTER the event…that’s right…and look back…see that event over and done…completed…successfully…and see how you feel now…just let it all go…because it is done…

Does that help? You might need to do this more than once…and it will dial it down…because when you can imagine that it is over…and you have done it…you can just let it go…feel the sigh….yes…that’s right…

This is a simple technique and it will help you get rid of the overwhelm…because quite often we create overwhelm by imagining a negative outcome…don’t we?

When You are no Longer in Crisis Mode and Overwhelm

Come back and see what the cause of it was…and then…in order to prevent it from occurring again, deal with the negative beliefs…then if a situation was to arise that in the past might have caused you distress and overwhelm…it won’t have as much of an impact…will it?

Because if you use these small steps when you are knee deep in it…and then come back and deal with any underlying negative beliefs when you can…when you get to the root of that emotion…you will magically transform overwhelm into calm…and no magic wand will be necessary…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner


I stayed in my first marriage too long. I was afraid to leave because I had a fear of being alone.

So I stayed, even though I knew it was better for both of us to make that clean break. It took more time than it should have to leave…

“Being alone is scary, but not as scary as feeling alone in a relationship.”― Amelia Earhart

When You Stay in a Relationship That Doesn’t Work

If you are staying in a relationship that doesn’t work…and you’ve tried it all to repair it…you don’t have core values in common…there has been an issue that couldn’t be resolved…then what are you saying to yourself about your own value?

When you are in that kind of relationship, you can actually feel more alone…more disconnected…than you might feel when you are actually alone. When the Fear wins, you lose. Fear of being alone and staying in a broken relationship make it difficult to:

  • Create the future that you want
  • Have a healthy self-esteem
  • Feel what real love is
  • Be happy
  • Be fulfilled
  • Respect yourself

Being in a relationship can be part of our identity…how we identify ourselves, even though it is a role in our life…not who we really are. When the day finally came when I made that decision to end my first marriage, I wasn’t sure who I would be when I was no longer a wife.

That night, after the moving out was done…I remember being in my room in the dark…being afraid of what the next step was…a part of me glad that I was moving forward and another part of me being terrified…and wondering if I could undo that decision.

And yet…if I hadn’t made that decision, the life that I have now wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have met my husband, Shane…or had my son, Will…and so…even though it was a hard decision, it was a right decision…that led to a life so much better than one I could even have imagined.

Afraid of Being Alone Forever?

It might seem like that…and if you choose to be alone forever…then, that is a choice…I know that there were points that night when I thought that I needed to take him back…when I thought “How am I going to raise the kids” and “Oh my God…I am alone”…and I really, really felt the depths of that loneliness.

So ask yourself…what is the worst thing that could possibly happen? Would it be so terrible being alone…even if it is only for a while? I learned a lot about myself while I was alone…for that period of time when I was just by myself…so take advantage of that time…and find out who you are…and repair the relationship that you have with yourself.

Being Alone is an Opportunity to Heal Yourself

If you have a relationship with yourself, you never really are alone…you might not be in an intimate relationship with another person but if you take the time to heal the relationship with yourself, you will never FEEL alone.

And isn’t that what we all want? To feel connected with ourselves…to feel that we are enough…all on our own.

Take the lessons from that relationship that you let go of…now or in the past…and see what you needed to learn…what was it? Was there more than one lesson in that relationship? Take those learnings and use them to create that new future.

Being alone is a beautiful opportunity to take care of yourself. Take the time to heal. Do the internal work. Let go of the negative beliefs. And see yourself happy…in that new life…even if you are alone…and let go of any fear of being alone…because you never really are…are you?

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner


“Please” and “ThankRelationship tips 5 please and thank you you” are more than good manners in a relationship. In a recent post that I wrote on the 7 Warning Signs You Are Being Taken for Granted, I suggested that the absence of these words, “please” and “thank you”, were one of those warning signs.

Let’s imagine a relationship between two people…let’s call them Mike and Sally. They have been together for three years and both of them believe that they are meant to be together. Lately, though, Sally has been very short with Mike. For example, Sally says to him on garbage night “Take out the garbage. It has to be put out tonight.”

When Sally talks to Mike like this, she isn’t being respectful, is she? There is a spirit of ordering Mike around…when you say, “Please”, it adds a measure of respect to the request.

Words have Power

Words do have power. Words can create feelings, words can create our reality…words reveal our past and where we are in the present. And because words have power, “please” and “thank you “are powerful words. They are not just pleasantries, niceties…those words that we think we hear all the time…

They convey that the person we are speaking to is important. It might not seem that way, since in some instances we hear it so often that they are words that we take for granted. Just because you hear them from a sales clerk as she takes your credit card…and you might hear it from a waiter as they collect a tip that you have left them…does not mean that they are not important words.

Words of Acknowledgement

Please and thank you are words of acknowledgement. When you use them, you are recognizing the action of the person…and recognition of a person you have a relationship with is critical. Each day, there needs to be acknowledgement. Otherwise, you take those actions and that person for granted, don’t you?

Just because the garbage needs to be taken out, doesn’t mean that Sally should talk to Mike like that. So, “Please, could you take the garbage out?” is a more harmonious way to approach the task at hand and it shows respect to Mike, as a person.

“To say thank you, is in recognition of humanity” Toni Mont

Recognize those small things…

Saying Thank You is Expressing Gratitude

At its simplest terms, saying thank you is one way of expressing gratitude to the person you are in relationship with. A truly heart felt “thank you” can convey a depth of emotion that is unparalled…for isn’t all love based on a gratitude, a thankfulness for the existence of the other person?

When was the last time that you actually said to someone “Thank you for being you” and you really meant it?

“I find that the more willing I am to be grateful for the small things in life, the bigger stuff just seems to show up from unexpected sources, and I am constantly looking forward to each day with all the surprises that keep coming my way!” Louise L. Hay

Open yourself up to more surprises in your life…in all of your relationships…expand upon saying “please” and “thank you” and being aware of the emotions that come up when you actually feel the impact that those powerful words have. It is a very simple strategy…and you know…sometimes…those simple strategies…the small things…can be the ones that have the most impact…try it and see…just what happens…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?”  Sherie Venner 


We all likeSeeking approval from people will have you on an endless search a thumbs up…it’s nice to know that people appreciate something you’ve done…

However, if you find yourself needing that approval…or desperately seeking approval…or being a people pleaser and being more concerned with what they think of you…that is a problem.

That becomes an empty feeling…because the approval of others never will fill that void in your life, will it?

“Seeking approval from people will have you on an endless search for unnecessary validation.” Unknown

When you spend so much of your energy seeking approval from others or being a people pleaser, there is a tendency to do things that you might not otherwise have done. You say “Yes” when you really wanted to say “No”.

You may make agreements that aren’t always in your best interests. All because you look for validation outside of yourself…instead of inside…

Looking for Approval in all the Wrong Places

  • Parents
  • Partners
  • Friends
  • Children
  • Teachers
  • Colleagues

Whose approval do you really need? Your own. That’s right…

Does that mean that you can just go out and do whatever you want without a thought to what is in the best interests of others? No.

Looking for approval or being a people pleaser is something different…it is feeling that you are less than…that in order to feel good about yourself or your actions, you need to hear it from someone else…someone else has to say “Good job” or “You’re wonderful” because you surely don’t hear it from yourself…

And when that need for approval interferes with your life…when you have to have that outside approval…that feeling that people are pleased with you…your life doesn’t work as well as it could…because, after all, it is your life…and it doesn’t matter what others think…your approval is all that is needed. You need to be pleased with how your own life is turning out…don’t you?

Evaluate Those Life Areas Where You Seek Approval

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How is it working for me?
  • What is missing?
  • What works?
  • What doesn’t work?
  • Is there anything that I want to change?
  • What needs to happen in order for me to feel that area of my life is fulfilling?

And answer these questions based on what YOU want…not on any ideas you might have that by doing things THAT way…that you will have the approval of someone else…because in the long run…no one cares as much about how you live your life as you do…and that is really the way it should be. Because we need to mind our own lives…our own business…just because it is ours…

And think about it…

Letting Go of the Need to Please

It is actually a little easier than it seems. It is all a decision…a decision that can happen in an instant…if you choose it that way…just a switch from thinking about what others want you to do…and is that real, anyway? How do you know what they want you to do? A lot of it is just in our imaginations…which is great…because there, it is easy to make changes…because it is just your imagination…isn’t it?

Knowing your core values and knowing what you want in your life are steps to letting go of the need for approval and the need to be a people pleaser. Knowing that you are good enough is, too…and you can know that…because you already are…good enough…and since you already are good enough, then you don’t need the approval of others, do you?

Then you can be pleased about how your own life is turning out…because you created it the way you wanted it to be…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner