Category “love & relationships”

If You’re Afraid to Ask for Help Because You Don’t Trust People

“Ask for help. Not because you are weak. But because you want to remain strong.” ~Les Brown

I sat in the doctor’s office, waiting—linen gown hanging off me, half exposed—while going through the checklist in my mind of what I needed help with. I felt my breathing go shallow as I mentally sorted through the aches and pains I couldn’t seem to control.

Fierce independence and learning to not rely on others are two of the side effects of my particular trauma wounds, stemming from early childhood neglect and abandonment. During times of heightened stress, my default state is …

3 Things I Realized When I Stopped People-Pleasing and Let Myself Receive

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.” ~Brene Brown

The honest truth about needing to please is that we do it to make other people happy. We will sacrifice everything and anything to put a smile on another’s face and lighten their load, while ours keeps building.

The only problem is that while helping others makes us feel good, it’s almost addictive until we are burnt out. And giving and pleasing others starts to come from a place of resentment.

I’ve been there!

There was a time when I used …

How I’m Coping with Grief by Finding Meaning in My Father’s Death

“Life has to end, love doesn’t.” ~Mitch Albom

Before we dive into the dark subject of death, let me assure you, this is a happy read. It is not about how losing a loved one is a blessing but how it can be a catalyst to you unlocking big lessons in your life.

Or maybe it is—you decide.

To me, this is just about a perspective, a coping mechanism, and a process that I am personally employing to get over the loss of a loved one.

My dad and I were best buds till I became a teenager. Then my …

20 Inspiring Acts of Kindness and Giveaway Winners for HumanKind

Last week I ran a giveaway for Brad Aronson’s HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time—a heartwarming book that highlights ordinary people doing extraordinary things and offers practical tips for everyday kindness.

I had ten books to give away—four for the blog, three for Facebook, and three for Instagram—and I invited you all to share an act of kindness you’d recently received or witnessed for a chance to win. The four blog winners, chosen at random, are:

Please email me at email (at) tinybuddha.com so I can get a book …

Sick of Toxic Relationships? Love Yourself Enough to Walk Away

“There comes a time in your life when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who do not. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” ~José N. Harris

Letting go of relationships that impact your well-being and make you feel unsafe may seem like a simple act for many, but for those of …

Sometimes People Don’t Say Sorry—Why It Pays to Forgive Nonetheless

“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” ~Roberto Assagioli

When I was a little girl, I used to wonder what my father was like. Was he a nice man? What did he look like? Did he think about me? Did he love me?

But, above all, I wondered why he left.

I used to make up stories about him. One time I imagined him as a voyager traveling to foreign lands and picking up small gifts for me in every new place he visited. He met with the locals and would learn new trades …

HumanKind: The Inspiring, Uplifting Book We All Need to Read (Giveaway!)

A while back I shared a quote by an unknown author that reads:

“You know who’s going through a lot right now? Literally everyone. Just be kind.”

It got me thinking about all the struggles we assume other people don’t have—because we’d never guess from the looks of them.

You’d never guess that your confident colleague struggles with PTSD from childhood abuse and neglect.

You’d never guess that your boisterous brother-in-law beats himself up because he doesn’t earn enough to get his family out of debt.

You’d never guess that your collected cousin cries in the bathroom every day because …

4 Simple, Heart-Opening Exercises to Fill You with Joy, Love, and Light

“Why are you so enchanted by this world, when a mine of gold lies within you?” ~Rumi

Happiness, love, and joy—we spend our lives in search of them. We often look to external things to fulfill our desire to experience them. A relationship, a trip abroad, a career, or maybe that shiny new car. We can spend our lives chasing these desires and believing that once we check everything off our list of life accomplishments, we will experience them all.

But what if I shared with you that all of this—happiness, love, and joy—exists in you right now? That …

7 Lessons That May Help You Find a Fulfilling Long-Term Relationship

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha

“You’re not in love with me, you’re in love with the idea of being in love.”


Kate (not her real name) and I had met online before Internet dating websites—let alone apps—were even a thing, and ours was a long-distance relationship.

I was twenty-four, and she was twenty-three.

Initially bonding over our favorite musical artists, we soon found ourselves sharing all kinds of personal stuff with each other—first over AOL Instant Messenger, and then via countless hours on the telephone.

I remember being …

Why Other People’s Comments Hurt Us and How to Let Them Go

“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.” ~Tony Robbins

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Wow. That one takes me waaay back. All the way to the elementary school playground. A place where I attempted to use it as a shield. As juvenile as this saying is, I would search for comfort in its words for years to come.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how old we get. It’s good to feel a part of something, to be understood, and …

Why I Never Let Anyone Support Me Until the Day I Almost Died

“Why don’t you get up and make the coffee, while I stay in my sleeping bag and plan our ascent route?” I half-heartedly ask my climbing partner Hank.

He just looks at me with that unassuming, “give-me-a-break Val Jon” look of his. It’s three o’clock in the morning, cold, dark, and damp, and neither of us wants to leave the comfort of our tent. But we’re committed to this climb, so we don our parkas and gloves and confront the bitter cold.

In silence, Hank and I gather up our gear and join the rest of our climb team assembled …

A Guide to Saying No Without Guilt: 7 Steps for People-Pleasers

“You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.” ~Unknown

Why is it so hard to say no? The uncomfortable buildup of emotion I felt while contemplating dropping the ‘n’ word used to have me rushing around town, home, and work for the people I loved in a heartbeat.

I remember one day I was on the cusp of complete overwhelm with the responsibility of being a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and business owner. Hanging up the phone with a potential new client who was keen to work with me, I was wired. I …

The Chaos of Life After Loss and the Love That Never Dies

“We need to grieve the ones we’ve lost—not to sustain our connection to suffering, but to sustain our connection to love.” ~Jennifer Williamson

Ken was only forty-seven years old when he met his untimely death.

It was surreal, my brother-in-law was gone from our physical world.

As a family, we felt the motions moving through the initial telephone call summoning us to the hospital to the time we surrounded him as he took his last breath. It was if we were all caught between two worlds, one of cruel reality and one of complete disbelief. You read about it …

How to Feel Comfortable Setting Boundaries and Why We Need Them

“Avoiding certain people to protect your emotional health is not weakness. It is wisdom.” ~Unknown

The word “boundary” often conjures up negative thoughts. After all, it’s usually an indication of something being restricted.

However, deciding to set boundaries is one of the most empowering things you can do for your mental well-being.

Growing up I always put the needs of others before my own, and not much has changed in my adult life.

While I enjoy the idea of being a mediator in some ways, or the person that other people come to in times of need, it gets exhausting …

How I Stopped Shrinking to Please People and Started Reclaiming My Space

“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and herself only.” ~Maya Angelou

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. I’ve grappled with the unshakable feeling that I am not enough no matter what I do.

As a child, I was labeled by my family as being “too much.” Too bossy, too selfish, too energetic, too emotional. So I did what many little girls do when faced by those messages: …

Why Judging People Hurt Me and 5 Things That Helped Me Stop

“It’s very easy to judge. It’s much more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods.” ~Doe Zantamata

In the past, judgments kept me safe. They reassured me that I had worth. That I was right. That I was good. I believed I knew the “right” way to live.

I felt I could clearly see the truth of matters. I didn’t understand why others weren’t always able to grasp the truth that I saw. However, the real truth was that my inner world was full of turmoil.

Since adolescence, …

Why We Don’t See Other People Clearly and How to Start

“If I had the chance I’d ask the world to dance, but I’d be dancing with myself.” ~Billy idol

Spending long periods of time alone—as I’ve done while traveling solo over the past year—is an eye-opening experience.

Without the distractions of my normal routine and relationships, I’ve been able to take a good look around inside my very own head. And the more I do this, the more I realize that what I experience as my world is just a reflection of my own psyche. In reality, I’m dancing with myself all the time.

This crucial awareness is usually hidden …

How Overthinking Ruined my Relationships and How I Overcame It

“Overthinking ruins you. It ruins the situation. And it twists things around. It makes you worry. Plus, it just makes everything worse than it actually is.” ~Karen Salmansohn

I grew up with parents who believed a kid shouldn’t have friends and should be indoors always. Because of that, I never had real friends in my childhood, except those I met in school and church.

Since my early teenage years, loneliness has been my forte, and I have learned to pay too much attention to details. When people talk, I look at them, how they react, their facial expressions, etc. I …

A Simple, Super Effective Shortcut to Loving and Respecting Yourself

“Love is loving things that sometimes you don’t like.” ~Ajahn Brahm

You’ve probably heard the saying “You can’t find love until you learn to love yourself.” What this really means is that when you love yourself, you’re also fully able to accept another’s love for you because you know that you deserve it.

Unfortunately, some people misunderstand this saying to mean that you’re basically not worthy of love unless you love yourself. And that’s a load of toxic rubbish.

If it were true, any number of people with trauma or certain mental illnesses would never stand a chance of finding …

Why Belonging Is So Difficult for Survivors of Domestic Abuse

“Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” ~Brené Brown

Sitting there watching The Greatest Showman, with tears pouring down my face, I asked myself why does this song, in fact this whole film, make me cry so much? Why does it evoke so much emotion in me?

“I am brave,

I am bruised,

I am who I’m meant to be.

This is ME.”

“Look out cos here I come,

And I’m marching on to the beat I drum,

I’m not scared to be seen,

I make no apologies.

This is ME.”