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How to Start Speaking Up: Find Your Voice and Be Heard

“Your voice is the most potent magic in existence.” ~Michael Bassey Johnson

In a noisy, crowded world, in a culture that promotes service to others and putting others’ needs before our own, how do we find the courage to share our own voice?

I’ll admit, I’m still navigating this journey. There are times when a writer can write from a place of knowing. A place where they feel like they have something figured out and want to share it with the world. This is not one of those times.

This is a sharing of information from a place where I …

Finding Happiness When Your Big Dreams Didn’t Come True

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“Everyone who gives up a serious childhood dream—of becoming an artist, a doctor, an engineer, an athlete—lives the rest of their life with a sense of loss, with nagging what-ifs.” ~Glenn Kurtz

Childhood dreams are a funny thing, aren’t they?

Our adolescent years are filled with nearly unlimited imagination of what we can achieve growing up. Some people become doctors, presidents, and professional athletes, so why can’t we? It just depends on hard work and occasional lucky breaks to get where you want.

Reality slowly starts to set in as you grow into your teenage and adult years. Maybe those

4 Things You Need to Know About Your Hurting Inner Child

“She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will all be okay.” ~H. Raven Rose

The first time I heard about inner child work was in a random article I found on the internet.

It caught my attention because I was struggling to develop loving and compassionate feelings toward myself. Although I understood the role of limiting beliefs and unhealthy habits in my healing process and how to overcome them, I couldn’t feel love and empathy for myself.

Most of the time, I was either very harsh toward myself …

The Powerful Realizations That Helped Me Heal from Chronic Illness

“No one is more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you more than you do.” ~Dr. Paul David Tripp

Living with chronic illness can seem like an insurmountable challenge. I felt completely broken and helpless. Amidst my tumultuous journey, I found that mindset is critical to restore vitality.

For years I dealt with debilitating fatigue, severe joint pain, vertigo, loss of balance, and sleepless nights. I pleaded for help over and over, usually in tears. Oftentimes, people blamed my physical symptoms on my mental health. “You need to get more sleep.” “You are probably …

What Toxic Shame Feels Like: 9 People Share Their Experiences

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change.” ~Carl Rogers

My heart races as I raise my hand, eager to contribute yet terrified of the attention it brings. When the teacher picks me, the entire classroom turns toward me, putting me in the spotlight. I feel exposed. Shame floods over me like hot lava, twisting my stomach into knots and flushing my face with heat. I try desperately to stop it, but the throbbing intensity only grows. 

I mutter words I can barely comprehend, feeling like a stranger in my own

Insights and Advice from a Former People-Pleaser

“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” ~Herbert Bayard Swope

In December 2023, my people-pleasing ways were spiralling out of control.

I found myself experiencing extreme levels of stress in my muggle job, which involves supporting a senior team and helping run a business. I would be on high alert, overly sensitive to any perceived criticism, and unable to relax and get out of my head. A classic chronic stress response.

One night I realized: I’m trying so hard to please so …

How to Get to the Amazing Life on the Other Side of Your Fears

“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others!” ~Marianne Williamson

Have you ever felt trapped by fear, unable to break free from the shackles of insecurity and doubt? It’s a shared experience that often holds us back from living authentically and pursuing our true passions.

Fear comes in many forms—fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown. Yet, at its core, fear is a prison of our own making, constructed from limiting beliefs and negative self-talk.

But what if I told you that confronting your fears could lead to liberation? What if

3 Simple Words to Help You Feel Present, Grounded, and Nourished

“The little things? They’re not little.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

Remember Halloween, 2018? No? We wouldn’t, either, except that it happens to be the day our mindfulness journey—and our lives—changed forever.

First, some background. We (Deborah and Willow) met when our boys played on the same fifth-grade soccer team. We connected quickly through our shared love of books, writing, dogs, hiking, and strong coffee.

Something else we had in common: We were both failed meditators. To be honest, we were a bit embarrassed that we couldn’t make a mindfulness practice stick.

Thank Goodness We WEREN’T Paying Attention 

Now, back to the story. …

How I Broke Free from My Toxic Need to Achieve

“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.” ~ Ivan Nuru

“Honey, we’re gonna call you an ambulance.”

The woman on the other end of the phone at the hospital call center sounded stern as I lay on my bathroom floor in my robe, writhing in pain, barely able to speak.

I never knew you could hyperventilate from pain, I remember thinking.

It was December, and I’d just returned home from a stressful international work trip with jet lag and exhaustion as my souvenirs. The sensitive, introverted parts of myself I normally shoved under the …

Hope for the Grieving: You Will Make It Through

“No darkness lasts forever. And even there, there are stars.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin (the Farthest Shore)

Everyone with a close relationship with their mother has felt it at some time or other or expects to feel it in the future. That dreaded moment when you will have to say goodbye to them. For some of us, it happens early in life, through illness, a parting of the ways, or other transitions; for me, it began in my mid-fifties, and even though I had plenty of time to ponder it, I wasn’t prepared.

I was always very close

How to Find Tiny Miracles, Even During Hard Times

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein

In my cancer journey, miracles showed themselves every step of the way.  Large and small, some of more significance than others. But all amazing, leading me to heartfelt gratitude for each and every one.

In my most trying times, I held on to the focus of what was going right. I was putting into practice my learnings from positive psychology. That’s not to say I wasn’t terrified of my cancer diagnosis …

3 Simple Steps to Create More Joy in Your Life

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~Carl Jung

“Should I move back?” was the question I asked myself. It was 2018, and I had moved to Berlin eight months prior. And everything had gone wrong. So wrong.

I moved here for a relationship, but that relationship ended. I also moved for different work but found myself in a toxic environment. I had very little support from the community after my relationship ended. And I found myself horribly ill and in a hospital.

The easy thing to do would have been to move back to London. It was still

How I Used Self-Help to Justify a Toxic Relationship and What I Now Know

“You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” ~Ayn Rand

The first person who introduced me to personal development was my ex. He once said, “It’s like you’re already doing some of these things.”

What a compliment, right? Being a high-level person on the path of constant evolution, self-revolution, always changing and growing. Who wouldn’t want to be that?

Beyond the compliments, I also felt a kinship with many personal growth concepts because they reminded me of some aspects of psychology and philosophy. If I could watch Seligman’s TED talk about positive psychology, why couldn’t …

Break Free from Busyness and Uncover the Magic of Life

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“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~John Lennon

For as long as I can remember, I have been living in a never-ending to-do list. I was constantly thinking about what needed to get done, how I could multitask, or how I could be even more productive. Even on the weekends, I loved planning out my entire day, usually focusing on chores and other not-so-exciting things.

To be honest, I thought this was a perfectly normal way of operating. I would pride myself on my productivity and my ability to stay on top of …

A Little Hope and Encouragement for Hard Times

“If your path demands you to walk through hell, walk as though you own the place.” ~Unknown

Trigger warning: This content contains references to self-harm and suicide.

It was in the spring semester during graduate school. I was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment and working nearly full-time hours at night.

The anti-depressants weren’t working so well. I was keeping up with my therapist, but I suppose it was too much.

I felt too much. It hurt so much and couldn’t handle it. You could list out the symptoms of depression, and I had them all.

Unable to deal with …

Finding Magic in the Dreams That Didn’t Come True

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.” ~Steven Pressfield

I was born a decade too late in 1975 in a small Pennsylvania town. By the time I was old enough to buy a record, the legendary rock and roll culture of the 1960s and 70s was a distant memory. To some, it might have even seemed uncool by then. But to me, a teen in the late 80s, the era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll was everything.

I spent hours writing song lyrics in my flowered journal, watching MTV, …

The Surprising Way a Breakup Can Help Heal Your Heart

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart … Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakens.” ~Carl Jung

There is nothing quite like an unwanted breakup to rip your heart open and bring you face to face with your deepest shadows.

At least, that’s how it was for me.

Nearly six years ago, on a typically warm and sunny Saturday October afternoon in Los Angeles, I was lying on the floor of my apartment, wallowing to my then-boyfriend on the phone about how everything in my life seemed to just be hitting walls: My career …

How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship and Know When It’s Time to Leave

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“Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction.” ~Rumi

Have you ever found yourself questioning the health of your relationship, unsure if what you’re experiencing is normal or if it’s veering into toxic territory? It’s a common dilemma that many of us face at some point in our lives.

But how do we know when it’s time to walk away?

Toxic relationships can be insidious, often starting out innocently enough before gradually morphing into something destructive and harmful. The warning signs may be subtle at first, but they can become impossible to ignore over time.

Flashback to 2016, I …

Retreats for Highly Sensitive People and Introverts

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go on a retreat to some magical location where you could deeply connect with yourself and forge lifelong relationships with likeminded people? Then did you immediately wonder if it might feel a little overwhelming to you as an introvert or highly sensitive person?

As an HSP introvert who loves travel and new experiences, I have long had my eye on Melissa Renzi’s retreats, which are specifically designed for people like me—and I’m guessing a lot of you.

In addition to being a Tiny Buddha contributor and this month’s site sponsor, …

The Beauty in the Broken: How to Celebrate the Fragility of Life

“Sometimes you get what you want. Other times, you get a lesson in patience, timing, alignment, empathy, compassion, faith, perseverance, resilience, humility, trust, meaning, awareness, resistance, purpose, clarity, grief, beauty, and life. Either way, you win.” ~Brianna Wiest

Last month, I was feeling super fragile.

I was deep in the woes of another round of covid type symptoms, along with an onslaught of chronic health conditions that were flaring up left, right, and center. I was one month into a new job, and after the initial excitement, I was starting to feel wildly overwhelmed.

I spent two weeks waking up …