Self-love and Acceptance with Lori Deschene from TinyBuddha.com (Part 1)

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This post is an interview with Lori Deschene from TinyBuddha.com to celebrate the release of her new book Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself: 40 Ways to Transform Your Inner Critic and Your LifeI'm so delighted to have one of my previous guest posts for Tiny Buddha included in the book and even more excited to share Lori's words of wisdom with you over the next two days in parts one and two of her interview.Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself is available for pre-order now. Purchase the book before October 8th and receive a free self-love bonus pack containing $150 worth of digital products (including my new book From Coping to Thriving: How to Turn Self-care Into a Way of Life).

H: Hi Lori, thanks for joining me on the blog today. Would you be willing to start by introducing yourself and Tiny Buddha for any readers who aren't familiar with your site?

L: Thank you for having me! A little in the way of an introduction, first about me; then, about the site…My name is Lori Deschene and I am a writer, dreamer, traveler, adventurer, daughter, sister, and girlfriend, to name just a few descriptive words.For most of my younger life, I defined myself as someone who struggled with depression, insecurity, and an eating disorder. After that, I then spent years hiding myself in shame, feeling terrified of being seen for all my flaws, mistakes, and weaknesses.While I’ve always been self-reflective—a consequence of starting therapy at age 12—it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I really embraced personal development and understood the power of growing through my challenges.This is part of what of motivated me to start Tiny Buddha in 2009 as a multi-author blog, where anyone can share what they’ve been through and what they’ve learned.Over the past four years, it’s grown into a vibrant community with more than 650 contributors and over 1.5 million monthly readers. It’s a place where people are brave in sharing their experiences and feelings to help themselves and others.I think it’s also a space where we can feel less alone with our struggles, and more empowered to heal and grow through them.

Tiny Buddha's Guide CoverH: Tiny Buddha is a treasure trove of personal development topics. How did you choose "Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself" in particular as the subject of this book?

L: I was originally planning to write a different book about what it means to “win” in life. Shortly after I signed my contract, I went through a series of life challenges—a major surgery, a robbery, financial struggles, and the death of my grandmother.It was an emotionally draining time for me, and one of the most difficult I’d experienced in years.After telling my publisher I wasn’t going to be able to write the book, I started being a little hard on myself, especially since I’d already announced the project on the Tiny Buddha blog.As time went on, I began to reevaluate what it means to take good care of myself, and I thought about a goal I’d had to write a series of “Tiny Buddha’s Guide to” books, sharing stories and insights from community members.Since I had just gone through a time when I really needed my own love and compassion—and since I’d spent my younger life mired in self-loathing—I realized I wanted to start with a book focused on self-love.I think it’s something we all struggle with at times, and yet it’s so important for our happiness. Everything we do in life is a reflection of how much we love ourselves.

H: At the end of each section, you offer your top four tips about each topic. What are your top four tips for loving yourself

L: -Identify, appreciate, and harness the strengths in your “flaws.”For a long time I thought my emotional oversensitivity was a massive flaw—but I wouldn’t be able to do the work I do if I didn’t feel and experience the world in the way I do.I still work on how I respond to my emotions, but I’ve challenged the perception that there is something “wrong” with me for being the way I am. The only wrong thing is thinking I am fundamentally inadequate, because it’s simply not true.-Know that your mistakes only define you if you let them.Formerly, I believed that I was the culmination of my worst mistakes, which meant that I had no choice but to feel ashamed of myself. Now, I see my mistakes not as the building blocks of who I am, but as stepping-stones to who I can be. They are my tools for growth and learning, and therefore incredibly valuable.-Realize you are beautiful not in spite of where you’ve been, but because of it.I used to think I had to hide the truth of my past, but I now recycle my former struggles and pain into something useful for others. My past isn’t something I need to hide; it’s something I need to share to make a positive difference in the world.-Recognize and honor your values, needs, and priorities.This is really the biggest one for me. When I honor my values, needs, and priorities I am able to be true to myself and to act with integrity—and this is the foundation of my self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect.

H: In one chapter, you say "Perhaps the biggest challenge isn’t learning how to repair ourselves, but rather learning to accept that we all deal with uncomfortable situations and emotions in life." What has helped you with shifting from a repair mindset to an acceptance mindset?

L: I was in my mid-twenties when I hit a big turning point in terms of my perception of myself. Up until that point, I’d spent most of my life building a long list of reasons to feel ashamed of myself.Since I saw myself as pathetic, worthless, and unlovable, I eventually isolated myself in a tiny dorm-style apartment miles away from my friends and family—ironically, in NYC, one of the most crowded cities in the world.One night when I was feeling particularly hopeless and disgusted with myself, I found a quote that challenged everything I formerly believed: Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.Suddenly I considered that I didn’t have to view myself as a weak person who’d experienced a set of difficult circumstances and then made a seemingly endless string of poor choices. I could be the strong person who finally decided to learn and grow through all of it.From this understanding, I then considered that maybe I didn’t need to change anything about myself; I only needed to change how I saw myself and what I did in response.**********Come back tomorrow for the second part of Lori's interview, when we'll talk about vulnerability, self-care, and the most common misconception about self-forgiveness. Don't forget to pre-order your copy of Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself: 40 Ways to Transform Your Inner Critic and Your Life before October 8th to make sure you get your free self-love bonus pack.