Important Note: The winners for this giveaway have already been chosen! You can purchase Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions on Amazon.com. Also, be sure to subscribe to Tiny Buddha for free daily or weekly emails!
Happy almost 2012!
It’s been an exciting year for Tiny Buddha. For one thing, the community has grown, but what I find most exciting is that the number of people sharing their stories and engaging with other people has increased exponentially.
During the first year, I published two posts from the community per week. In January of 2011, submissions slowed down, and I wondered if perhaps I’d need to take a new direction with the blog.
In February, however that all changed, and posts started coming in so frequently that I was able to publish one per day, and oftentimes had to ask people to hold off on submitting so that I could catch up.
That has remained steady all year, and I’m excited to see that countless insightful, helpful, loving conversations have unfolded in the comments, some which included me and others that did not.
Tiny Buddha is what it is because people are willing to be honest about their experiences, and in doing so help others and let them know they are not alone. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll contribute a post in 2012!
I have learned so much from everyone who has shared themselves here. So here are the top 10 insights of 2011 (based on page views and comments):
1. Anyone can be a hero.
I wrote this tiny post, Choose to Be a Hero, after hearing Dr. Phil Zimbardo speak. His research has revealed that we all have the potential for good and bad, and it’s largely influenced by our situations.
So what exactly makes a hero? Simply put, a hero is someone who chooses not to watch and wait in the face of a crisis. You don’t need to save someone from impending death to be a hero. You just need to speak up when your instincts tell you someone is being mistreated. The world is a better place when we all look out for each other.
2. We can choose to decrease our pain by letting go.
I wrote the post 40 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Pain in 2009—and it remains one of the top three most visited posts on the site. It offers 40 things we can do, right now, to help ourselves let go frustration, bitterness, stress, and even past relationships.
We can’t change that life involves pain, but we get to choose what we do from moment to moment—and we can always choose to do something that helps us live peacefully in the now.
3. It’s okay to walk away from something that hurts you.
Kelly Reynold’s post Knowing When to Walk Away from Unrequited Love struck a nerve with a lot of us. It’s never easy or simple to move on when we feel attached to a person or a relationship we hoped would be, but sometimes it’s the best thing for us.
As Kelly wrote, “Loyalty and commitment teach us that we are not to walk away from people that we love…But if your relationship, be it friendship or romantic love, is unbalanced and one person is hurting, how much is enough? How many pieces are supposed to break and how damaged can we allow ourselves to get before we…accept that this type of love isn’t healthy?”
From there she suggested “Love and relationships require work and responsibility. We have to learn when to stretch and when to break.”
4. Learning to complain less can make us happier.
Lauren Stewart offered 10 concrete things we can do to minimize the urge to complain, from regular venting to practicing gratitude. I suspect this one resonated so strongly because complaining can feel instinctive, and yet it’s highly unproductive. It can also leave us feeling negative and depleted—but fortunately, there is another way.
5. We can deal with anger most effectively when we resist the urge to immediately act on it.
Earlier this year, when a reader sent me an email attacking my character, I decided to create a healthy roadmap for dealing with anger. I outlined 20 things we can do to deal with anger, encompassing sitting with it, exploring it, responding from a place of calm, and then learning from it to make positive changes in the future.
6. Criticism can actually have benefits—25 of them to be exact!
Since Tiny Buddha has received more attention this year, I have received more criticism—some constructive, and some, not so much. I decided to focus on the benefits of receiving criticism, and compiled them in the post How to Handle Criticism Well: 25 Reasons to Embrace It.
7. Peace is often a matter of asking ourselves the right questions.
Lynn Zavaro contributed more than a dozen posts this year, the most popular of which was 6 Questions That Will Make You Feel Peaceful and Complete. The first, a three-part question: What if there was nothing I needed to fix in me? What if there was nothing I needed to change? What if I was perfect just the way I am now?
8. We have more to appreciate than we may often realize.
At the start of the year, Celestine Chua compiled a list of 60 Things to Be Grateful for in Life. Some of them are things we occasionally take for granted—like our senses and our legs. Others are somewhat unexpected, like disappointment and fears. All remind us to look around and realize we’re fortunate, even on the days when we struggle.
9. We can let go of fear if we stop the stories in our heads.
Sometimes we start making comparisons in our mind, and that leads to a host of unhealthy, fear-based choices. In her brave post Let Go of Fear by Stopping the Stories in Your Head, Angela Gunn shared how her internal stories can lead her to shopping, overeating, and mindlessly surfing the web and watching television, and also offered a few tips to take control of our minds and our suffering.
10. We always have the choice to reinvent ourselves.
If you ever feel stuck or trapped in your life, know that you can consciously choose to reinvent yourself and your reality. The future does not have to create you—you create the future. That was Melissa Kirk’s message in the post 5 Steps to Reinvent Yourself. We have a say about who we become, and it starts with what we choose to do.
To celebrate the New Year—and another year of Tiny Buddha—I’d like to give away 3 autographed copies of my book, Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions. You can enter the giveaway by:
1. Leave a comment noting what you’d like to see from tinybuddha.com in 2012.
2. Tweet: RT @tinybuddha Tiny Buddha Book GIVEAWAY & Top 10 Insights of 2011 http://bit.ly/uxmKxS
If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can still enter by completing the first step. You can enter until midnight PST on Monday, January 2nd.
I have some big plans for 2012, including some plans to expand the site, and I’m hoping to also create some mutually beneficial partnerships. Specifically, I’d like to create some tools, apps, and products related to peace and mindfulness.
If you are a developer or a distributor interested in partnering with Tiny Buddha, please contact me at email(AT)tinybuddha(DOT)com with a specific idea. I look forward to connecting with you!
And lastly, a request: If you have already read my book, Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions, will you please leave me a review on Amazon.com? Those reviews make a big difference when potential readers are deciding whether or not to purchase. I would appreciate your support.
Wishing you a peaceful, healthy, happy 2012 friends!
Photo by brockamer