Self-love and Acceptance with Lori Deschene from TinyBuddha.com (Part 2)

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This is part 2 of 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 (click here to read part 1).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: I found the way you described your personal experiences in the book incredibly moving and inspiring. What would you say has been your biggest challenge in your personal development and how have you learned to accept and process that challenge?

L: Thank you so much. My biggest challenge has been shame. After more than a decade of bulimia, and countless self-disrespecting choices, I felt terrified of judgment and rejection—but mostly I was afraid that I deserved those things.I’ve worked through this, and continue to work through it, by breaking down the walls of secrecy. In sharing the things I’ve felt tempted to hide, I’m able to let go of the belief that these things make me unworthy of love.It also helps to connect with others who’ve experienced similar things. I am always compassionate toward other people when they’re hurting, and this helps me remember that I deserve that same understanding and compassion.

H: I know from experience that being transparent about my journey and lessons learned so far can leave me feeling vulnerable. How do you experience vulnerability and what helps you sit with this feeling?

L: I experience vulnerability in two diametrically opposed ways, depending on the day and the specific circumstances surrounding it.Sometimes I feel a cathartic release, a sense of freedom, and a deep sense of pride in my willingness to be fully seen. Other times I feel terrified, panicked, and convinced I’d feel safer if I resisted the urge to be so honest.What helps me when I feel the latter is to remember that soon enough I will feel the former. The cost of feeling the highs is occasionally feeling the lows—and on the whole, it’s worth it.

H: Kristin Neff, the author of "Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind", suggests that self-acceptance, which is something mentioned a lot in "Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself", is more conducive to happiness than self-esteem. What do you think about this?

L: I think it’s fascinating, and it makes a lot of sense. Self-esteem is an evaluation of worth, where self-acceptance doesn’t require any self-judgment, whether positive or negative. It’s embracing ourselves for both the light and the dark, which I believe is the foundation of self-love.

H: A common misperception about self-acceptance and self-forgiveness is that when we practice these traits, we give ourselves permission to get away with anything. What is your experience with this?

L: I have to wonder, what’s the alternative? After you do something, can you not let yourself “get away with it”? Once it’s done, it’s done.I think it really comes down to finding a middle ground so you neither beat yourself up nor shrug it off. What’s important is to learn from the experience so that you can empower yourself to do something positive with the lesson.You can’t do that if you’re devoting all your energy to self-flagellation.

Tiny Buddha's Guide CoverH: One of the points you made in the book that resonated most for me was the idea that it's a positive sign if some people don't like you. Can you explain this powerful message?

L: Sure! This one was huge for me. For most of my life I “shape-shifted” around different people to seem like someone I thought they’d like. But ironically, I didn’t like myself when I did this. It’s hard to respect yourself when you realize you value what other people think of you more than you value your true self.Eventually I realized that if I stopped adapting to please the people around me, I would inevitably please fewer people. But that would mean I was no longer putting their opinions above my need to be authentic. And learning to be comfortable in my own skin would be far more valuable than losing myself over and over again in the fruitless pursuit of mass acceptance.If you look at gaining approval in this way—assuming you’re not being rude, inconsiderate, or thoughtless—it can then be a positive sign if some people don’t like you.

H: What are your favourite self-care activities, and how do you make sure you have time for them? 

L: Hot baths. This is a big one for me—and one I find time for on most days—because it allows me to relax, unwind, and connect with myself.Deep breathing. This one’s easy to find time for because I can do it while driving, while doing dishes—while doing anything, really. So long as I am not engaged in conversation, I can take time to focus on my breath and clear my head.Journaling. I often do this first thing in the morning before I get into my day, or last thing at night, when there’s nothing left to do. Particularly as someone who has written a lot for public consumption, I find it helpful and healing to have a writing practice that is all my own—unedited, unstructured, and solely for the purpose of working through my own feelings.Thanks so much to Lori for sharing her insights this week! 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.