I am a huge fan of Lori and Tiny Buddha, as most of you may know. So I was beyond excited when I got an email asking if it would be okay if she featured one of my Tiny Buddha posts in her upcoming book, Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself. It was a no-brainer.
The excitement continued when she asked if I would be interested in posting a Q&A with her on this little blog of mine. It was another no-brainer. I've always wanted to interview Lori, but never had a relevant theme or topic in mind. Now I have one!
So I sent Lori some questions about self-love, and she got back to me with these wonderfully insightful responses. I hope they inspire you as much as they inspired me.
1. What initially inspired you to write Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself?
It's something I've planned to do for awhile---start a series of "Tiny Buddha's Guide to" books, drawing from the many inspiring stories on the site.
Self-love seemed like the perfect topic to start with, since this is the core of all personal growth and the foundation for loving others and loving life.
It's also the foundation of my greatest struggles.
For a long time, I thought my life was a mess because of my depression, or my former eating disorder, or my lack of purpose, or my lack of money, but at the heart of all those troubles was my unwavering self-loathing.
2. We all struggle with loving ourselves sometimes, and no one ever truly arrives at a place of complete self-acceptance. It's human nature to be hard on ourselves. How do you deal when loving yourself is hard?
Reminding myself of this truth is the first thing I do. Sometimes I get hard on myself for getting hard on myself, which is incredibly ironic when you think about it.
It's piling judgment on top of pain---emotions on top of emotions---and it's a surefire way to get stuck.
Beyond that, it varies. Sometimes I'm proud of how I deal. I get outside and out of my head and take good care of my mind and body. Other times, I shut down and guard myself until I feel better. I'm a work in progress!
3. Do you ever struggle with looking for truth in the less than flattering things people say or think about you? If so, how do you move past that?
Absolutely. For a long time, I interpreted every criticism or judgment as proof that I was a fundamentally bad person. I literally feared other people's perceptions of me because I saw each one as a mirror.
I became a chameleon, trying to be whatever I thought people would accept. And later, I adopted the "indisputably good person" persona, thinking no one could possibly judge me if I tried really hard to be a short, blond Dalai Lama.
I feel I've made tremendous progress here because I now realize that being disliked by some is a sign that I am being real---and creating the possibility of being liked by others who actually appreciate me for who I am.
4. Why do you think the voice in our head that tells us we're not good enough is often louder than the voice that tells us we are?
Most of us form this belief young, based on interactions with our parents, teachers and peers.
We assume it means we are not good enough when someone hurts us, or fails to meet our needs, or compares us to someone else.
Once we've formed this belief, we go through life looking for further evidence to support it. It's as if we're wearing "I'm not good enough" glasses that filter everything through the lens of that understanding.
Aside from that, we're now dealing with a whole new set of challenges with social media. There's no shortage of reminders that other people are falling in love, getting married, having babies, traveling the world, launching businesses, or otherwise doing something that seems better than what we're doing.
It's like that Steve Furtick quote: "We struggle with insecurity because we compare our behind the scenes to everyone's highlight reel."
I know I've been there!
5. You're very open about your personal struggles in your writing, and that honesty helps people feel connected to you. Do you believe that having the courage to show your flaws and scars contributes to a greater feeling of self-love?
I think so. Every time I've shared something that I once held in secrecy and shame, I've felt a tremendous sense of relief and an increase in self-acceptance.
I shared one personal story in this book that I formerly assumed I'd never share publicly. But putting it out there reminded me that I have every reason to be proud of myself. I am not someone who needs to hide my experiences or myself. I am someone who deserves to be seen and can help other people by doing it.
6. I'm a quote nerd. What is your favorite quote about self-love?
One of my favorites is: "What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful." ~ Brené Brown
It reminds me that I don't need to be anything other than what I am. I just need to embrace and embody it.
7. What helps you minimize the comparisons you make to other people?
It helps me to remember my own unique values, priorities and needs. My professional life is one area where I struggle with comparisons. I've gotten to know quite a few other bloggers-turned-authors, many of whom have gone on to become well-known self-help gurus.
At times, I've wondered if I'm somehow less than because I'm not leading workshops and seminars around the world and creating this type of notoriety. Then I remember that I'm not doing that because it doesn't align with what I want for myself.
It's not the path I want to follow, so it's irrelevant if other people are doing it and doing it well.
Of course, there are times when I compare myself to others who are walking the same path and seem to be doing it better.
It helps me to remind myself that no matter where I am in life, there will always be someone else who seems "ahead" of me. If I obsess about getting "there," I'll never learn to appreciate here. And here is all there is.
8. Do you ever find yourself seeking permission or validation before doing or saying something? How do you free yourself from that?
Yes, I do seek validation at times. It's usually when I'm feeling bad about myself or feeling unconfident in a choice I want to make. It helps me to ask myself, "What do I wish that person would say to me?" Then I tell it to myself.
10. What's next for you and Tiny Buddha?
For me personally, I am about to realize a long-held dream of living a bi-coastal lifestyle with my fiancé, so we can spend time with both of our families (his in the San Francisco Bay area, and mine in the Boston area).
For Tiny Buddha, I'm working on the next guide-to book and a series of apps, but primarily focusing on spreading the word about this book. I'm proud of the end result, and I believe it will help others feel less alone and more confident about their worth.
Readers can pre-order the book (and receive the self-love bonus pack of related eBooks, eCourses and workbooks, valued at over $150) at:
Big thank you to Lori and to you for reading. Be sure to check out the book!