“Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted—it is an intimate date with yourself.” ~Paul TP Wong
I’ve found journaling is a polarizing activity. People love it or hate it. (If you are in the latter group, don’t worry, you’ll still get a lot out of this!) Personally, I’ve hit both ends of the spectrum at different points in my life.
I spent many years in a place of self-loathing. I truly believed I was just not blessed with being born a likable person. And this belief fueled decades of social anxiety, avoiding parties, coming up with lame excuses to …
EDITOR’S NOTE: You can find a number of helpful coronavirus resources and all related Tiny Buddha articles here.
“The difference between despair and hope is just a different way of telling stories from the same set of facts.” ~Alain de Botton
When I was told that the man I loved had a terminal illness, I instinctively reached for my journal. When I was asked to evacuate my home ahead of a category-5 cyclone three short weeks after his funeral, the first thing I threw into the back of my car was a large box with my journals.
That was …
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~Melody Beattie
A few years ago I had an ulcer and I would get dizzy after almost every meal. There was a point when I was afraid to eat. I lost twenty pounds when I didn’t need to lose weight.
I wasn’t sleeping well.
I was a complete wreck inside.
It took me two and half …
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” ~C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
The day I was told that the man I loved was going to die from cancer, I did two things: I made a pact with myself never to have more than one bottle of wine in the house. I knew the risks of numbing pain and I knew that it didn’t work. Then I went to a stationery shop and bought a supply of fine moleskin journals.
My journey through grief started the day the pea-sized lump behind my husband’s ear was given a …
“In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself. The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather—in many cases—offers an alternative to it.” ~Susan Sontag
My first journal was born into existence when I was twelve. I remember carefully choosing my favorite comics, pictures from magazines, and the odd scribble I’d drawn. Tongue stuck out in concentration, gluing them strategically on an unused exercise book. …
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
It’s a voice we’re all familiar with, and one that we all find challenging. Yes, the inner critic is the part of our internal dialogue that can make or break our day.
At its best, our inner critic helps us live in a way that’s true to our values, questioning decisions that we might regret later and keeping us on the straight and narrow. At it’s worst, however, an inner critic rampage can bring down our mood, self-esteem, and sense of self-worth.
Much of my own self-work has …
“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” ~Shakti Gawain
Keeping a journal has many positive benefits. Journaling can help with personal growth and development. By regularly recording your thoughts you will gain insight into your behaviors and moods.
Journaling can be used for problem-solving and stress reduction. It’s been proven to improve mental and physical health. It can lead to increased self-esteem.
Dr. John Grohol, CEO of Psych Central, estimates that one in three people suffer from a mental illness. Anxiety disorders, mood disorders and substance abuse can be …
TRIGGER WARNING: This post references sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.
“Spirit carved by Nature
Here I am.
toward my own profundity.”
That exhaustion you feel when your body is fighting something, the feeling of being completely drained to the point where you can barely move your body…. that’s how I felt when I was living with trauma.
Over the years it had piled up inside of me—the sexual assault I survived one night after I’d just turned twenty, the physical and emotional abuse that went on almost daily when I lived with …
“To truly heal, we need to create a healing space—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” ~Lynn Keegan
Growing up, I never understood the importance of taking care of myself. I thought my body was invincible, and I treated it quite poorly. I stayed up late, I ate out a lot, I partied, and didn’t have a care in the world.
In my early twenties this all began to shift for me. I began experiencing all types of symptoms. My body was doing things I was embarrassed to share with anyone.
I started having eight to ten bowel movements per day, I was …
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin
In the past, I often felt like I didn’t belong in groups of women.
Sometimes I felt like something was wrong with me, like I was othered in one way or another: too sporty, too quiet, too serious, too emotional, too dumb, too smart, too wild, too normal, too sexual, too prude.
Other times, I felt like something was wrong with all of them. Girls’ nights and bachelorette parties? The screeching voices, the loud laughs, the mundane conversations about makeup, …
“You and your purpose in life are the same thing. Your purpose is to be you.” ~George Alexiou
We all play a pivotal role in society. But I’ve toyed with the New Age spiritual notion that we all have a unique purpose on Earth to fulfill—a purpose for which we have chosen to be here.
I used to wonder if I could only be happy if I found this one resounding and elusive purpose.
If I knew my soul’s purpose, I believed my life would suddenly have endless meaning and vitality. Once I found my purpose, I would leap out …
“When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are not pretending, we are not hiding—we are simply present with whatever is going on inside us. Ironically, it is this very feeling of authenticity that draws people to us, not the brittle effort of perfectionism.” ~Maureen Cooper
Most of my life I have been really good at following the have-tos and oughts of perfectionism.
I have to keep the house clean. What will the company think?
I ought to be pleasant and pleasing. Stop being stubborn. Worse yet, stop being angry.
I should not have told that long story …
“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” ~Mary Dunbar
“I don’t want to sit by Teresa. She doesn’t talk.”
I was ten years old and at a fundraising dinner for my travel softball team.
It was that dreaded moment after I had gotten my plate of chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans, and had to choose a seat at a big table.
I sat down next to my teammate who I looked up to. She was two years older than me. She was …
“Sometimes people wound us because they’re wounded and tell us we’re broken because that’s how they feel, but we don’t have to believe them.” ~Lori Deschene
I’ve always been proud of how I can handle life so well. I’m great at managing responsibilities and taking care of others, but I’m not so great at being aware of my own needs. It’s part of being a highly sensitive individual and growing up with parentification trauma.
Overcoming parentification can take years. If you’re like me, you might not even realize it’s something you experienced until you’re well into adulthood. More people should …
“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared, or anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a ‘negative person.’ It makes you human.” ~Lori Deschene
In November, I was on an emotional roller coaster full of sudden unexplainable fits of anger, hysterically crying for no reason, barely sleeping, feeling urges to physically kick, hit, and scream.
One of the main triggers was when my partner would go out without me.
He’d go out with his friends to play pool and I would immediately shut down, shut him out, and turn …
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Bernard M. Baruch
As a young boy, maybe in fourth or fifth grade, I came to the realization that I was an outsider.
I didn’t like playing video games after school, I played basketball while the other boys played soccer, and most of all, I didn’t like the unpleasant and sometimes bullying tone that had formed amongst my good friends.
One good friend in particular—let’s call him Theo—I considered to be my best friend.
For years, we celebrated birthdays, …
“The more you value yourself, the healthier your boundaries are.” ~Lorraine Nilon
I want to talk about the direct correlation between boundaries and self-love. Because when we truly love ourselves and have a healthy self-worth and self-concept, setting boundaries becomes a natural extension of that.
Without boundaries, we either become walled off and protect ourselves from others, which creates a sense of deep isolation and loneliness, or we become enmeshed with others. We often find ourselves living on their side of the street, working overtime to manage, fix, caretake, or be needed by them, all while neglecting ourselves and our …
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” ~M. Scott Peck
Have you ever been in a situation or a stage in your life where you’ve felt physically stuck, as if you’ve fallen into some kind of invisible quicksand that you can’t get out of?
Or maybe it’s felt more like you have a thick, invisible elastic …
Do you sometimes see people running around enjoying life and wonder what you’re missing? Sometimes I used to think I must be a horrible person. I had so many things going for me, and I still couldn’t be happy. I would ask myself, is there something wrong with me? Am I a narcissist?
Then sometimes I would decide I was just going to be happy. I would fake it until I made it and just accept that’s who I was. But it wouldn’t take long for me to feel overwhelmingly depressed.
I had a little dark hole that would …
“One of the greatest awakenings comes when you realize that not everybody changes. Some people never change. And that’s their journey. It’s not yours to try and fix it for them.” ~Unknown
In 2021 my father died. Cancer of… so many things.
Most of the events during that time are a blur, but the emotions that came with them are vivid and unrelenting.
I was the first in my family to find out.
My mother and sister had gone on an off-grid week-long getaway up the West Coast of South Africa, where there’s nothing …