I am truly honored to be included in this new publication from Lori Deschene – Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself. I’m one of the contributors to her book, chosen as one of the all-time most popular posts at tinybuddha.com. Needless to say, I’m over the moon with this distinction because I love Lori’s mission and her blog. I decided to take this opportunity to interview her about her work, her new book, and what she’s got coming up next.
Margie: I know that your blog, tinybuddha.com, has evolved over time. Tell me how this amazing site was created. What was your intent at the beginning?
Lori: 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 most of the popular ones focused on one person’s expertise, creating a leader/follower dynamic between the blogger and readers.
Because 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.
Margie: You have, indeed, created a beautiful community where everyone is invested in their own growth and supportive of others’, as well. And now, after four years, what is your primary mission or goal?
Lori: My goal has remained the same: I want to nurture a space where we can all receive help, support, and compassion, so we never have to feel alone with our pain. Most importantly, I want it to be a place that helps us not only survive, but thrive.
Margie: I love that! And now you’ve created this fabulous resource: Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself. Where did the idea for the book come from?
Lori: Thanks so much! I always wanted to create a series of “Tiny Buddha’s Guide to” books, exploring the site’s main themes and sharing some of the stories and lessons from the blog.
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 been my greatest challenge. When I was younger, I found countless justifications for my persistent misery—the relationship I didn’t have, or the friends I couldn’t make, or the job I couldn’t find, or the things I couldn’t afford.
But really, I was miserable because I had never developed respect, appreciation, acceptance, and love for myself. I think it’s common to assume outward achievement will somehow help us foster these things, but in my experience, it’s the other way around.
When we start to value ourselves, we are then able to transform our life so that our time feels more valuable.
Margie: Oh, yes! This is so true. It feels counter-intuitive, but it is the way to transform our life experience – to start with ourselves. As they say, ‘it’s an inside job’.
So tell me a bit about your own journey to self-love. Given the struggle many of us have, or have experienced, with self-love, what’s one thing you’d love for people to know is possible for them? Or, in other words, what would you say to someone who is currently struggling—besides, “read my new book” (which I highly recommend!)?
Lori: My self-love journey started from the further possible point—at the deepest level of self-loathing. A chain of painful events from my childhood and adolescence contributed to my vision of myself as a worthless, unlovable person.
I first began struggling with depression and bulimia when I was 12. I started therapy shortly after, and lived in this bubble of getting better-but-not-really until my early 20s.
After spending years over-medicated (and often self-medicated), I then left my hometown in an attempt to outrun myself and my pain. A few years later, I ended up afraid, alone, and ashamed in NYC—where I eventually found yoga and started making far more strides in my healing process.
I look at my experiences as a journey of two steps forward and one step back. I still struggle with being a perfectionist, seeking approval, and fearing judgment at times; but I now know that accepting myself means accepting my humanity. I will never be perfect, but I don’t ever need to be.
As for what I’d say to someone who is struggling: We all struggle, so try not to exacerbate your pain by judging yourself for it. You’re doing the best you can, and that’s something to be proud of.
Margie: Thank you for that, Lori. You are amazing and I’m glad you’re here to share your journey. Let me switch gears. I know that you must spend a great deal of your time writing—which you do with such insight and authenticity—but I’m curious to know what other activities make up your day.
Lori: I actually don’t do as much writing these days as I did before. There was a time when I wrote a blog post every day. Now, I focus more on helping other writers shape and share their stories.
Beyond that, my day usually involves responding to emails and comments, working on new projects (for example, my recent eCourse and the first Tiny Buddha app, coming soon!), eating out, enjoying time in nature (whether hiking or biking), and watching movies with my fiancé.
Margie: Sounds like a delightful life you’ve built for yourself. And congratulations on your engagement! I’d love to know what’s next for you. What’s on the horizon for you and tinybuddha.com?
Lori: I’m hoping to launch more “Tiny Buddha’s Guide to” books, and also a series of apps. Beyond that, I’d like to take Tiny Buddha off the web, with live events, but I’m not yet sure what they might entail. I do know, however, that I’m excited to figure it out!
Margie: That’s a great direction to take your work. I’ll be on the lookout for more information about your live events. It would be so fun to meet in person!
How do we purchase your new book, Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself?
Lori: Here’s the link to the book sales page: http://tinybuddha.com/guide-to-loving-yourself.
Margie: Thank you for your time, Lori. It’s been a pleasure! And I can’t wait to receive my copy of the book. Being selected as a contributor is the highlight of my year.
Lori: Thank you for having me.