“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” ~Amy Bloom
“Just look at yourself!”
“That chubby face, those massive hips and thighs. The stumpy legs.”
“No wonder he doesn’t love you anymore. No wonder he left you for her! She is so much prettier than you are.”
I stood in front of the mirror. Tears streamed down my face. My body was shaking uncontrollably as I stared at it in disgust.
Resentment and anger accumulated in my chest. Heavy, dark, and painful, the all-consuming emotions tried to crush me. My throat felt tight, I couldn’t breathe, my …
“See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” ~Dalai Lama
I was a perfectionist growing up, always trying to bang my flawed round-shaped self into a perfect square hole that couldn’t possibly contain me.
In my early twenties, I decided to focus on personal development—a positive thing, I assumed.
I figured if I worked on improving a little every day and nurturing a positive mindset, I’d feel a lot better about myself than I did when I got down on myself for my flaws.
I didn’t take into consideration that I might become a perfectionist about positivity.
“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle
At the end of the day, when I feel completely exhausted, it often has nothing to do with all the things I’ve done.
It’s not a consequence of juggling multiple responsibilities and projects. It’s not my body’s way of punishing me for becoming a late-life jogger after a period of laziness. It’s not even about getting too little sleep.
When I’m exhausted, you can be sure I’ve bent over backward trying to win everyone’s approval. I’ve obsessed over what people think of me, I’ve …
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” ~Cynthia Ozick
How often do you pause to appreciate what you have in life?
When I was young, I took things for granted. I believe many other kids did so, as well. After all, we were young and we didn’t know what life could be like on the other side.
One thing we took for granted was education. In my country, it’s compulsory for all kids to go to school, so it was a given. We never thought about how lucky we were to be educated.…
“You get peace of mind not by thinking about it or imagining it, but by quietening and relaxing the restless mind.” ~Remez Sasson
What’s the first thought that goes through your head when you wake up in the morning? Is it deliberate, or is it the default “Oh shi#$, it’s 6:00!”?
If that’s how you start your day, then it’s likely your day will be filled with anxiety and stress. It’s not exactly the most productive mechanism for getting things done.
Questions are quite powerful if used in the right way.
“Don’t wait for people to be friendly. Show them how.” ~Unknown
When I was a teenager, right around the time I knew everything, my mother used to tell me I only remembered the bad things.
When I told stories about my family, they didn’t revolve around family beach trips, barbecues, and vacations; they focused on painful memories and all the ways I felt my childhood had damaged me.
The same applied to friends and milestones in my life. I chronically remembered and rehashed the worst experiences.
In fact, straight through college I followed up every introductory handshake with a dramatic …
“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” ~Mencius
Remember when life was simple?
When your friends were the most important thing in the world. When a snow day was a perfect excuse to have fun, not a block of time when you felt guilty about being unproductive.
When the ice cream truck could make your day, no matter what happened before. Bad grade? Big deal—it’s snow cone time. Skinned knee—who cares, you have a screwball!
If only you could bottle that sense of freedom, fun, and enthusiasm for the little things, you could carry it …
“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” ~Socrates
When I started Tiny Buddha, my main goal was to make a positive difference. I think that’s a goal many of us share.
I’ve stumbled upon countless blog and books written by people who say their purpose in life is to help people.
I suspect it’s how most of us infuse our lives with meaning: trying to somehow leave the world a better place than we found it.
I recently read a somewhat old blog post by ex-Microsoft employee Scott Berkun that …
“Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” ~Jean Kerr
For most of my life, I was a fugitive from my feelings.
Psychologists suggest that we are driven by two connected motivations: to feel pleasure and avoid pain. Most of us devote more energy to the latter than the former.
Instead of being proactive and making choices for our happiness, we react to things that happen in our lives and fight or flee to minimize our pain.
Instead of deciding to end an unhealthy relationship and open up to a better one, we may stay and either …
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~Unknown
Maybe someone hurt you physically or emotionally. Maybe you’ve survived something else traumatic—a natural disaster, a fire, an armed robbery. Or maybe you’ve just come out of a trying situation, and though you know you’ll eventually recover, you still feel pain that seems unbearable.
Whatever the case may be, you’ve been scarred and you carry it with you through many of your days.
Most of us can relate on some level to that feeling. Even people who excel at taking personal responsibility have at least one story of having been hurt. Though some …
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt
When you’re young, anything seems possible. Whether you want to become a school teacher, a ballerina, or an astronaut, it all feels within your reach.
And you so easily get excited by it.
You can visualize in vivid detail what it would be like to hold your roses at curtain call, or how proud you’ll feel when you save the day—as a fireman, a soldier, or maybe even a superhero. You pretend your way through different roles and stay …
“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” ~Sophia Loren
Even though I got Joey McIntyre from The New Kids on the Block to sign my scoliosis back brace in the sixth grade, I still felt ugly wearing it.
I didn’t realize the irony back then, but in retrospect it seems a little funny that I grew crooked considering I convinced myself I was wilting in my sister’s shadow. (I also had braces and headgear, but that’s another story.)
I was a kid who wanted to be beautiful, but more desperately …
I’ve written about ways to get better sleep, and yet I am writing this post from a state of exhaustion.
Despite knowing all the right things to do, sometimes it’s difficult to follow through.
You can have the most calming, zen bedroom, and still toss and turn because of an ache or something on your mind. You can avoid stimulants and start unwinding early in the evening, and still wake up to the sound of a blaring siren at 2:00 AM.
Sometimes the best laid plan can fall apart when you can’t seem to remove that pea from under …
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault
I believe life is in the details. Ongoing small gestures can mean so much more than one grand display of love. Simple pleasures throughout the day can be far more gratifying that one amazing weekend. When you connect the dots between all these little joys, life seems fuller and more satisfying.
I’ve created a list of all the little things that fill me with bliss. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
1. Breakfast in bed. You don’t need someone to …
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” ~Samuel Johnson
Some people say there’s no such thing as a selfless act—that any time we do something to help another person, we get something in return, even if it’s just a warm fuzzy feeling.
I’ve spent a lot of time playing with this idea in my head. It doesn’t really bother me to know it feels good to help someone else. That, to me, is a completely acceptable type of selfishness. What give me cause for concern are the underlying expectations …
“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” ~Daisaku Ikeda
If you asked an eight-year-old version of me to list all the things I loved, it might have looked something like this:
- Ice cream
- Snow days
- Beach days
- More ice cream
- Saturday morning cartoons
In fact, I’m sure I could have created an inventory longer than my usual Christmas list, including a ton of things that either tasted, felt, or looked good.
It didn’t occur to me until later in life that some of the best things are …
“The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” -~Pema Chodron
These past few years, I’ve focused on education and passing the required exams to get into university. I had my mind set on where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I didn’t do well on my exams, so that didn’t quite pan out, but I’m happy.
I’m now studying for a bachelor’s degree in biology with the hope of later furthering it into research. I’m also located just around the corner from where I originally wanted to be. So all in …
“Appreciation is an excellent thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us, as well.” ~Voltaire
Halloween is the coming attractions preview of the holidays. Those little witches, ghosts, and goblins will soon morph into angels, wise men, and reindeer, and the candy you gave in October will give way to more expensive gift-giving in December.
While the old proverb tells us it is better to give than receive, countless people bemoan the absence of grateful receivers. Thank you letters seem to be a relic of the past and expressions of gratitude are often drowned out in a …
“Growth begins when we begin to accept our weaknesses.” ~Jean Vanier
I went out with my mom this Sunday, a beautiful, sunny, fall day in San Francisco. As we sat on a bench looking out over the bay and ate our vegetarian spring rolls, she reminded me of an incident that happened when I was a teenager when she and I had traveled to the Grand Canyon.
In a nutshell, I had gotten irate over a family that was feeding the ground squirrels French fries right next to a sign that said “Don’t Feed the Squirrels.” I went up to …
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb
Two years ago, after hearing Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project, talk about setting up one’s own blog, I went home and did just that. It had been something I had thought of doing, one day, when I would get over my “fear” of technology and decide I can do this.
Her talk made it sound so easy that I sat down and went for it. And I did it; I set up my own …