If you've been following Positively Present for a while, you've probably noticed that I don't do too many interviews or guest posts these days, but when I saw that Lori Deschene, creator of Tiny Buddha, had written a book about loving yourself, I just knew I wanted to interview her and find out more about the book. In my mind, loving yourself is one of the most important things you can do to live a positive and present life, which is why I think this book is such an essential read for anyone striving to be more positive and present. Read on to learn more about Tiny Buddha, Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself, and Lori!
1. Can you tell us about Tiny Buddha and what led you to start the site?
Prior to launching the site in 2009, I’d spent several months writing for a different blog that I tried to model after other personal development sites I admired. At the time, it seemed that most of the popular ones focused on one person’s expertize, creating a leader/follower dynamic between the blogger and readers.
Since I felt I’d come a long way since struggling with depression, an eating disorder, and shame-induced isolation, I originally planned to do the same thing—to set up a corner of the web where I could help others through my experiences and lessons. I quickly realized that didn’t feel right for me. I didn’t want to position myself as a “before and after” story, and I didn’t want to establish myself as some kind of expert or guru.
I wanted it to be okay to be perpetually in the middle, always growing and learning. I wanted to share myself openly—successes and struggles. And I wanted to learn from other people who were open to doing the same. That’s when I decided to create tinybuddha.com as a community blog, where we could all be both students and teachers. It’s not about any one person having it all figured out. It’s about an ever-growing group of people sharing our experiences and lessons to help ourselves and each other.
2. What does self-love mean to you?
I think self-love encompasses a wide range of thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and choices. I structured the chapters in Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself to address what I believe are the most important pieces of this formula, including:
- Releasing shame about our past and the limiting beliefs that keep us stuck
- Seeing ourselves as beautiful and valuable, with all our flaws and weaknesses
- Accepting ourselves more and judging ourselves less
- Forgiving ourselves for our mistakes instead of being hard on ourselves
- Minimizing the need for approval to feel more confident
- Letting go of the comparisons that keep us feeling inferior
- Feeling complete so that we no longer look to others to fill a void within ourselves
- Finding the courage to share our authentic selves for deeper connection with others
- Learning to take care of ourselves instead of putting everyone else's needs first
- Believing that we're valuable so we can live lives we love
3. What advice would you offer someone struggling with self-love?
First, realize there’s nothing wrong with you for struggling in this way. The vast majority of us do! It has a lot to do with the beliefs we adopt as children, when we’re highly suggestible and not yet able to challenge the assumptions we form based on what happens around us and how others treat us.
Secondly, think of developing self-love as a journey, not something that should happen overnight. It’s often a process of two steps forward and one step back, and that’s okay. Accepting this instead of expecting perfection (and then beating yourself up over that) is a huge step in being more loving toward yourself.
And lastly, open up to others about your challenges. The more you let others in, the less alone and ashamed you’ll feel. This will help you empathize with yourself as you’d empathize with a friend who’s doing her best, but struggling at times.
4. What is an "inner critic" and how to you best silence it?
Our “inner critic” is the demanding, unsympathetic internal voice that narrates life with a negative filter, judging, criticizing, and berating everything we do (or don’t do). I haven’t yet learned to completely and permanently silence mine. I have, however, learned to limit its power over me so that it’s less pervasive, less convincing, less harmful, and sometimes even helpful.
Meditation is one of the most effective tools I’ve found for this, specifically guided meditations with positive affirmations. When I make time to sit in stillness, it allows me to slow my thinking so that there are less thoughts—self-critical or otherwise—cluttering my head. Then, guided meditations with positive affirmations help me replace negative beliefs with more empowering ones.
Now when my inner critic gets loud, I often ask myself: “Are there any seeds of truth in here that can help me grow?” instead of feeling down on myself. I wrote “often” because I don’t always do this; I am a work in progress and I still struggle at times. Ironically, accepting this and cutting myself some slack when I get insecure helps me take power back from my inner critic. It’s stopping a cycle of self-flagellation by giving myself permission to be human and imperfect.
5. What do you on a daily basis to embrace self-love?
Some of my daily self-love practices include:
- Meditation and deep breathing exercises
- Alone time (whether it’s taking a bath, reading a book, or going for a walk)
- Journaling (writing for no one else but myself with the intent of identifying lessons from my struggles)
- Celebrating small victories and identifying reasons to be proud of myself
6. What can readers expect from the book?
Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself includes 40 unique first-person stories from people who’ve struggled with shame, insecurity, and perfectionism, along with relevant tips and advice. I could relate to so many of the contributors, and yet I felt much more admiration and compassion for them than I did for myself when I was in their shoes.
It serves as a reminder to see in myself the same light I saw in them. It’s there—just as it’s there in everyone who picks up this book. I hope readers find strength in it, and recognize, through the stories, that they are so much more than their greatest mistakes and weaknesses; and they are beautiful, not in spite of their challenges, but because of them.
To check out the book and pick up a copy for yourself, visit Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself.