“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” ~Ernest Hemingway
If I’m honest, I don’t think I listened to another person until I was in my thirties. I wasn’t really listening, not completely. It’s not that I’m super selfish or vain; I was just so busy doing the mental gymnastics that I thought I had to do to keep up in conversations that I missed what was actually being said to me.
I grew up in a family where it felt like nearly everything that was said had another, unspoken meaning. I remember feeling really confused as a child, …
“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” ~John Steinbeck
Around six years ago I started to meditate. I had a spiritual awakening, and life started to look really different.
I have always been a feeler and reader of emotion, but this was different. It was like I was synchronized with everyone around me, as if everyone else was connected to me in some strange and mysterious way.
It later …
“Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy.” ~Tony Robbins
“I’m not great at relationships.” This is something I used to say all the time, to others and myself.
I’d had quite a few unhealthy friendships that ended in dramatic showdowns when our combined issues proved toxic.
My romantic relationships weren’t any less volatile—largely because my deep-seated shame affected the type of men I attracted and compromised my ability to be there, with and for others.
But even after making significant progress with my insecurities and working through some painful experiences from my past, I realized I …
“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.” ~Tony Robbins
I am always making up stories about what others think of me or what they really meant when they made that comment. And I typically make up the worst case scenario. According to my brain, everyone is mean-spirited and ridiculing me.
This is not an uplifting way to live one’s life. The pessimistic stories I create are generated in part by my low self-esteem, and by convincing myself they’re true, I continue to fuel it. My constantly negative perceptions …
“Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” ~George Orwell
Reading the above title, you may be thinking, “Why should I accept people who are trying to harm or cause me trouble? They are the last people I would want to accept!” I know I used to feel that way.
It’s clearly unnerving to think about accepting those that we feel are toxic, and even more challenging to do so.
However, when I look back, I now realize that I suffered unnecessarily from my refusal to accept such people, both in terms of greater personal anguish and poorer results.
This became …
“Selfishness is not living your life as you wish to live it. Selfishness is wanting others to live their lives as you wish them to.” ~Oscar Wilde
My mother is a huge control freak. I am told she got it from my grandmother, who basically ran everyone’s life.
Regardless, growing up, I noticed that she really struggled with relinquishing control of what we were all doing with our lives.
It was partly out of love because she just wanted what was best for us, and partly because she feels a sense of panic when she doesn’t know what’s going to …
“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” ~Vicki Harrison
Most grief books are written to help you mourn the death of a loved one and learn how to deal with their absence in this world.
Death is probably the most challenging thing a human can face. It breaks us down. It brings us to our knees. Some people are so significant in our lives that the mere thought of living without them feels incredibly overwhelming and incapacitating.…
“The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” ~Elbert Hubbard
Are you afraid of receiving criticism?
Even if it’s minor or well-meaning, criticism can feel like a punch in the gut.
And if you let it, criticism can leave you feeling down and resentful for days or weeks after.
As the music director at my church, I occasionally receive negative feedback from members of the community.
After services one Sunday, a congregant came up to offer some critique of my music selections. At first it felt like a full-on attack. I didn’t even have …
“Curiosity will conquer fear more than bravery ever will.” ~James Stephens
Earlier this year I wrote a pretty honest and open article about how I was trying to be less judgmental.
As with anything new, there’s a learning curve. Letting go of judgments hasn’t become a natural and automatic part of my life quite yet, but a skill I’ve recently learned that’s making a huge, huge difference can be summed up in one word: curiosity.
Let me explain: I recently finished Brené Brown’s newest book Rising Strong. It’s all about getting up after a hard emotional fall, and what …
“We would do ourselves a tremendous favor by letting go of the people who poison our spirit.” ~Unknown
My husband and I both have living grandparents. My daughter has met the grandparents on my husband’s side, but she hasn’t met mine. Some think I’m cruel for not taking her to meet my grandmother because I had an excellent relationship with my great grandparents.
Some ask why I haven’t contacted her in the two years since my only child was born. I could give a long drawn-out response and try to explain why I gave up on a relationship with my …
“To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” ~Mother Theresa
There comes a point when every couple arrives at the same crossroads. They ask: Is this relationship still the most important thing? Are we doing this well? Do we still love and support one another? Are we still open, honest, and giving?
Often these questions come after years of marriage and a slow realization that mediocrity has set into the relationship.
For those who’ve had a bumpy road and have developed a keen awareness that relationships take work, the questions come earlier and a little …
“Even in the loneliest moments I have been there for myself.” ~Sanober Khan
My life coach once suggested I give myself the love I needed, which saddened me profoundly. Was that not supposed to be the job of “the love of my life,” whom I would find one day? In fact, I had not met anyone who completely gave up on the idea of finding love, no matter how long they had been single.
I myself was happily single for years and yet deep down, there was still that expectation of finding love one day.
Recollecting my moments …
Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it! Today is a perfect day to take the Tiny Buddha love pledge if you haven’t already. Over 1,200 people have taken it over the last ten days.
I created this pledge to help us all be more loving, to others and ourselves. After you take the pledge by entering your email address here, you’ll be entered to win one of three free copies of Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges, which includes stories and daily activities to help us all give and receive more love.
Tiny efforts can make …
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” ~Scott Adams
I was ten years old and growing up in a home that I can only describe as hellish. Among other things, our father forced us to stand against the wall for long periods of time until we shook from exhaustion. On one such day, he sent me to McDonald’s to buy him a cup of coffee.
I was happy to get out of the house and escape my punishment momentarily. As I headed to McDonald’s, I wondered what …
“To forgive is somehow associated with saying that it is all right, that we accept the evil deed. But this is not forgiveness. Forgiveness means that you fill yourself with love and you radiate that love outward and refuse to hang onto the venom or hatred that was engendered by the behaviors that caused the wounds.” ~Wayne Dyer
When we have been deeply hurt or betrayed by a friend, loved one, or even an acquaintance, it can be incredibly difficult to let it go and forgive them. Some acts seem almost unforgivable, but really not much is.
My belief …
“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.” ~Byron Katie
As I was listening to other women talking in my support group for battered women, I had a life changing moment.
I caught a glimpse of myself and where I was at in life. It was a defining moment that turned around how I felt about myself and changed the cycle of my relationship with men.
“I played a role in my abusive marriage; my ex-husband was treating me how I was treating myself.”
His anger and how he showed it belonged to him; …
“Cognitive bias is the biggest self-imposed obstacle to progress, not only for oneself but in the end, for all mankind.” ~Unknown
On a beautiful Pittsburgh morning in 1995, McArthur Wheeler decided to rob a bank. Not just one bank, but two. McArthur had a secret plan, one that he thought would make him exceptionally successful. It involved something very sour, a lemon.
McArthur had just recently discovered the “invisible ink,” a substance commonly used in elementary science class. Lemon juice, when used as ink on paper and dried, only appears visible when heated. Unfortunately for McArthur, his ingenious plan involved …
“Don’t let the fear of what people might think stop you from speaking your mind. Speak up, you deserve to be heard.” ~Unknown
I used to suffer from immense communication problems that manifested as passive-aggression. I had no idea how to get what I needed, and I often failed to express my desires.
My maladaptive response was to remain positive at all times, while burying my feelings and casting them into the back of my mind. It wasn’t the greatest time in my life, but it served as a valuable lesson more than a decade later, when I cleared …
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s a weird paradox.
In a world where technology and social media seem to bring more of us together more of the time, recent research indicates that more of us are feeling lonely more of the time too.
People sometimes deflect their feelings of social nakedness by making a joke of it.
“Look at me: Norma No Mates!” they say when admitting again to having no plans for the weekend.
But it’s no laughing matter.
And I get it. I really do. I’ve been Norma No …