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We all knowTo avoid criticism say nothing do nothing be nothing Aristotle that criticism hurts…a lot…for most people.

Yet, for others, it isn’t a big deal…at all. And that might seem strange…and yet…it’s not.

There are those people who say that criticism is good for us…that we learn from constructive criticism.

Don’t we love to read critiques and reviews about movies, books, plays, and shows? In a way, gossip is criticism…it is making a judgment on the actions of other people.

And judgments hurt.

When we stand in judgement and criticize…we do so without all the facts…because we don’t know what lies in the mind of the other…

Criticism Hurts So Much Because of This

The real reason criticism hurts is because we believe that it’s true. Think about that for just a moment…and you might see what I mean…

Imagine this. There is a young girl with blonde hair. She is very proud of that blonde hair, brushes it for 100 strokes every night…she looks at herself in the mirror and smiles when she sees that hair.

Then one day, she goes to school. The children there start to make fun of her and say that her hair is black and it should be a different color. They begin to criticize the color of her hair. Now, she isn’t stupid.

She knows…beyond a shadow of a doubt… that she has blonde hair. She has been told by her parents that her hair is blonde. Her siblings tell her that is the color…and so did people in authority…her teachers, her grandparents…the media show pictures of people with hair her color…and they have called it blonde…

So she knows that the words that they speak aren’t true…she doesn’t question the color of her hair…because she knows…deep down inside…that she knows what color her hair is…

“I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” Charles Schwab

If You Believe the Criticism is True

If you have been criticized…then you believe…on some level…that the criticism is true.

Now…let’s be clear here…that doesn’t mean that I agree with people being critical…and I have doubts that there is constructive criticism…because when we feel that we are being criticized…we often become defensive. When you are on the defensive, you don’t learn well.

There is an old saying “If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.” Dorothy Law Nolte. I believe that is true.

“How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.” Benjamin Disraeli

Dealing With Criticism

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I really being criticized? When we are too sensitive…because we have dealt with so much criticism in the past…we can mind read and think that a suggestion is a criticism when it’s not…it’s like there is a hair trigger response that feels like everything is a criticism…so look at your responses…do you feel like everything is a criticism?
  • Is there any truth to this? If there is…then you need to deal with the issue…if there isn’t…then don’t accept the criticism as being true…then it becomes the other person’s issue…
  • If I took a step back…would that change my perspective here? It often does…change perspective…when you take a mental step back and look at the big picture.
  • What would be a constructive solution here? If you are a criticizer yourself…think of reframing that…and offer constructive solutions after you have listened…and understood.

A Simple Exercise

Imagine what this situation would look like through the eyes of another person…someone that you admire…a mentor…someone who is alive or someone who lived in the past.

Mentors and coaches can help us see things through a different perspective. There is an exercise that I use and you might like that. I imagine that I bring a problem or a criticism to a group of mentors…in my imagination…

That group consists of people that I admire…who have done great works…and I imagine that I discuss that problem with them…and then I listen for an answer…

This is a powerful exercise…because what it really does is tap into that intuition…those gut feelings that know what is right…

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”― Aristotle

In our lives, we can’t avoid all criticism…we can only choose how we react to it…

The real truth about criticism is that it only hurts because you believe that it is true. So your choices are to make a change if it is true…or let it go if it isn’t…and change that belief that you have…because it’s not serving you…is it?

And do you know what that little girl would do to deal with the criticism of the color of her hair? She would laugh…because she would know…beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t true…and you can do that too…

How have you dealt with criticism in your life? Have you been successful…or not? Let me know in the comment section below…

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


Downton Abbey.These Relationship Lessons from Downton AbbeyIt’s an amazing story…full of relationship lessons.

It was everywhere I looked!

I saw Facebook status updates about the most recent episode. It was on Twitter feeds.

I started seeing spoilers in the magazines that I read. I was curious!

Downton Abbey was populating the social media universe and the rest of the internet, too!

A good friend said that I had to watch it. She lent the DVD’s of Season One and Season Two to me because, by now, Season Three was being broadcast here in Canada.

I sat down with my husband and daughters. From the first opening scene, we were hooked on Downton Abbey.
And the thing is, it’s not because it’s a beautiful period drama (and it is!). And it’s not because of the wonderful acting or the exquisite setting. It’s the story. It’s about the relationships between these very, very interesting characters.

These 9 Downton Abbey Relationship Lessons

Warning! Spoiler alert ahead if you haven’t finished Season 3!!

  1. Nobody is perfect. What makes these people so interesting is that they are flawed. There is no illusion of perfection in how they are portrayed, from the Grantham’s and Crowley’s upstairs to the lovely folk downstairs.
  2. Agreement is necessary. It was hard for Lord Grantham to relinquish control and come to an agreement with Matthew and Tom about how the estate was run. Yet, an agreement was necessary for Downton Abbey to move forward and be successful, in the future.
  3. Stop waiting for your prince/princess to come. It was heartbreaking to see Lady Edith left at the altar. Yet, the next morning, when she said she was going down to breakfast, she was moving on with her life.
  4. Life is full of ups and downs. The family and staff of Downton Abbey have more than their share of ups and downs, especially Mr. Bates!
  5. It’s important to listen to your gut feelings. Nowhere is this more evident than when Lady Sybil is in distress and dies in childbirth. If Lord Grantham had listened to his wife’s gut feelings, there was a chance, even though it was a slim one, that she would survive.
  6. Support your family members. Yes, they do, in the long run, at Downton Abbey.
  7. Live in the now. I am so glad that Mary and Matthew had that one bright last moment of happiness with the birth of their baby boy…before Matthew died in that horrible car crash. It was heart breaking. None of us know how long we have, though…do we?
  8. Be grateful for what you have and rejoice in it. I love the example of Anna Bates…how she is grateful for her life and the love she has with Bates…even when the circumstances were so terrible…
  9. Don’t keep secrets. Parts of the family of Downton Abbey were keeping secrets about Lady Mary…and that was a mistake, even in those times when a scandal like that could rip a family apart. Once they shared that secret amongst themselves, you could see the family being strengthened.

So those are some of the relationship lessons that I see in the wonderful writing and acting of the players in Downton Abbey. It is definitely one of my favourite shows, now.

How about you? Have you seen these relationship lessons or any other? Are you a fan of Downton Abbey, like I am?

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

Image courtesy of Richard Muncton @ flickr.com



In a way,Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle we all are fighting a hard battle.

Life comes with many challenges, doesn’t it?

The challenge can be a hard battle with our health…with how well our bodies and structure function…with the relationships we have with ourselves…or for a lot of people, the relationships that they have with others.

We fall into problems when we think that everyone else has it better than we do. They might…in certain areas…at certain times…

Let’s imagine that there are two neighbors. Jill looks like she has it all. She has a great relationship with her husband. They look so happy together. Their home is paid for. Their children have all grown up successfully
Then there is Jane. She is a single mom who has two children; one has special needs and needs a lot of extra attention. Jane has a job that she tolerates; it pays the bills but doesn’t give her any emotional satisfaction.

Jane looks at Jill, envying her, thinking that she wishes she could trade her life for Jill’s. She is envious of how happy her neighbor is and how financially secure. What she doesn’t know is this…Jill has fibromyalgia and lives with chronic pain. And what she doesn’t know is this…Jill envies Jane.

Jill envies the ease with which Jane moves. She envies how she can play with her children….riding bikes with them on the weekend and playing ball in the back yard.

We all have our hard battle to fight. Some of them are obvious. Some of them are not. Some of those battles are obvious to the world. Often, mental illness, stress, depression, anxiety…that kind of hard battle isn’t often visible to other people in our lives, is it?

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Plato

Developing Empathy in a Hard Battle World

When you have empathy for another, it means that you can imagine what it feels like to be them. When we have that empathy, then we are less likely to stand in judgment over another. We can feel their pain…just enough…

There is an exercise for that, based on NLP techniques that I would like to share with you. And you might ask, why would I need to feel empathy? Because when you can understand…even just a little bit…why the people in your life might act the way they do, it makes your relationships stronger. Understanding is always a good thing.

This NLP Exercise for Empathy

Imagine this….think of that one person that you would like to understand on a deeper level….because that is what empathy is….and imagine that they are standing in front of you…just like that…and take a deep breath…just because you can…that’s right…

And now…imagine stepping into their body….and looking through their eyes…and seeing what they see…and feeling what they feel…and hearing what they hear…see the world in that different way that they do…because we all see the world differently…don’t we?

And now…imagine what a day would be like in their life…there is an old saying….walk a mile in my shoes…what would it be like to walk a mile in their shoes…and when you’ve seen enough…step back out and into your own self…and see the world through your own eyes….and ask yourself…am I seeing things in a different way, now? Take a deep breath….that’s right…

Everyone is fighting a hard battle…and once we understand that…we can be more tolerant and let go of judgements…and then, we can stop being so hard on ourselves…as well…can’t we?

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



RekindlingHow Rekindling love in your relationship
love…for some people that sounds like a monumental task.

They are overwhelmed with life. They have so many responsibilities.

There are jobs to do…houses to keep…children to look after…and for some…even parents to look after. It can seem like a lot, can’t it?

In the midst of this, there is your relationship. It often takes a back seat to all of the other things that seem so pressing at the time.

Time has a way of passing…and before you know it…you might be sitting there…next to someone who now seems like a stranger to you…

It doesn’t need to be that way.

Rekindling  Love in Relationships that Have Lost Their Spark

I’ve spoken about having values in common. I’ve spoken about taking time to be with each other. I’ve spoken about love strategies and not taking each other for granted.

Yes, these are all important…and what if you’ve done it all? You love each other but you feel more like friends. Or even worse. You feel like roommates…sharing a living space…sharing family…but that intense feeling of love is gone…

You know that you love each other. Yet, you don’t feel like you are “in” love. Do you know what I mean?

Is there anything that can be done? Absolutely…

I am making an assumption here. That assumption is that the foundation for a great relationship exists…that yes, there are values in common…that there was love…that there is respect…and even friendship…

In that case…rekindling love can be very simple…and it doesn’t have to do with flowers on Valentine’s Day or chocolates…although these are very nice…and have their place…: D

This Simple NLP Exercise for Rekindling Love

As a couple, take time out of your busy lives…and revisit memories…

If you have videos or pictures of the times when you were first together and romance was at a high…set aside an hour or two…and go down memory lane. Reminisce together about those times…and smile at each other…as you do…and feel those feelings of love…

And when you’ve done that…pick one of those times…a moment when you felt that you passionately loved each other…and see that picture in your mind…of that time…of that specific time…and see what you saw….all of those colors…make them brighter…and make that picture bigger…and full of life…hear what you heard…those words that you heard that let you know how loved you really are…

And feel those feelings…of love…of romance…when your heart beat just that little bit quicker when you were in the presence of the one you love.

Feel that feeling spread out from your heart and out….warm like the sun…touching the heart of the one that you love….and when you’re ready…step into that picture…in your mind…and just feel that….that’s right…and when you fully and completely remember it all…then know that you can have that feeling…right there…anytime you want it…

That love was always there…you just needed a reminder…and now you have it…that’s right…

And remember this…as well…”Where there is love there is life. Mahatma Gandhi”

Where there is love there is life

Rekindling love in your relationship can be just that easy…if everything else is in place…it’s just remembering…and making that memory strong again…because what we focus on expands…doesn’t it?

If all else is right with your relationship and it just needs a jump start…then this rekindling love exercise is something you can use…when you need to…

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




Relationship mistakes.5 epic relationship mistakes
Both men and women make them.

Smart men and smart women. They don’t set out to make relationship mistakes…and yet they do.

It’s easy to see the relationship mistakes that other people make.

Have you ever been watching a movie…and you could see just where the character was going…and that they were making a big mistake in their relationship.

Didn’t you want to yell at them as you saw them on the screen making those mistakes…“Don’t do that!”?? I know that I do…sometimes…; D

And in real life, we can see it in other people’s relationships…just like watching a movie…you can see it unfold. It’s as clear as day. You want to warn them. You can see that they are walking off a relationship cliff.

Yet, when it comes to seeing our own relationship mistakes…that is a different story.

These Relationship Mistakes:


Epic Relationship Mistake #1: Being Taken For Granted

We all need to feel valued. We all need to feel important. Each of us need to feel significant…especially that the people we are in relationship with feel that we are important.

If you feel that you are being taken for granted…or you are taking your relationship partner for granted…think about what your life would be without that partner…imagine what you would feel like if they were gone…

We only have the guarantee of now. Life is short. Let the people in your life know that you love them and appreciate them. If you don’t know the warning signs of being taken for granted, click here.

Epic Relationship Mistake #2: Breaking Trust

This is a big one, isn’t it…because without trust, there really is no love. Keep your word in your relationships. Be faithful to yourself and to your relationship.

What if the trust issues you have aren’t that you’ve broken trust…what if they are that you’ve put your trust in the wrong person?

Because that happens…trusting someone that you don’t know…really know…putting your faith in their words and not their actions. So…make sure that the person you are putting trust in, is worthy of it.

Epic Relationship Mistake #3: Putting Your Life On Hold

Have you ever heard a story like this? Let’s imagine this relationship between Lisa and Barry. Lisa decided when she was a young bride to put her career on hold, work two jobs, and put her husband Barry through law school.

She worked hard and so did Barry. They took the time to raise two children during the time frame. Lisa was very proud of Barry after he finally finished school. Lisa then thought that the time was right for her to return to school.

She approached Barry and suggested that now that he was working, it would be wonderful if she could get back on the career track that she left, early in their marriage.

Imagine her surprise, when Barry said no…that he wouldn’t support her the way she supported him…don’t put your own life on hold…make sure that you are fulfilling your own hopes and dreams…

Epic Relationship Mistake #4: Falling in Love with A Person’s Potential

What you see is what you get. No matter how much “potential” a person has, if you don’t love them for who they are right now…in this moment…if you think they will be “better” or “improve” down the line…you have unrealistic expectations.

Love them for who they are, not for who you think they will be. You deserve that too…to be loved for who you are…now…

Epic Relationship Mistake #5: Keeping Secrets

In a relationship, there must be honesty, transparency, and no secrets. If you find yourself doing that…keeping secrets…you must ask yourself “Why?”

If you keep secrets because you don’t feel safe to share what you are thinking…or you don’t feel physically safe…that is a problem…isn’t it?

Learning From Those Relationship Mistakes


The only real mistake is the one from

And remember this: The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. – John Powell

We all make mistakes…and we can learn from those relationship mistakes. When we can recognize them, we don’t need to repeat them…or carry them into the future with us…we can leave those mistakes in the past…where they belong…and move forward into a brighter…more brilliant future.

Ultimately, you are the one in control of your life…and how you feel…and what you do in your relationship does make a difference…doesn’t it?

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