Always Well Within

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How to Set Your Love Free 365 Days a Year

Tiny Buddha's 365 Tiny Love Challenges

As you might remember, my guiding word for the year is “love.”  I sure wish I had access to Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges from day one of this year!

Lori Deschene’s brand new book provides the perfect antidote to the digital age, when so many people leave their time on social media feeling empty, inadequate, disconnected, and depressed.

What’s the answer?  Love!  Love for yourself.  Love for others.

That might sound frivolous, but love is not an unnecessary luxury. Giving and receiving love is essential to your well-being.  In fact, research shows a sense of connection can benefit your health, happiness, and ability to respond to stress effectively.

Deschene points out,

We all need to feel not just connected but deeply seen and accepted.  We need to feel that people get us, value us, and love us—flaws and all.  To meet these needs—and meet them for others—we have to open up, step outside ourselves, and priortize our relationships.  Be we don’t always do these things, perhaps because we get caught up pursuing everything that seems to be missing form our lives; or, if you’re like I was, you may not have fulfilling relationships because you don’t yet believe you’re worthy of them.

You may have shoved this need to the background, pretending it’s not important.  You may think love is impossible for you.  Or, like Descehne, you may think you’re undeserving of love.

But you deserve to be deeply seen and accepted, and this is a gift you can give to others as well.

Your Love Is Waiting to Be Set Free

Love already exists within you.  It’s a matter of setting free the love waiting to be released from your own heart.  Therein lies the brilliance of these 365 Tiny Love Challenges.  They will help you grow your love in small steps day-by-day.  By the end of a year, the warmth of your heart will glow without limits, and you’ll feel love coming back to you in bushels.

Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene, Author & Founder of Tiny Buddha

For much of her life, Deschene focused on improving herself and her situation so that others would value her.  Eventually, she realized she needed to accept herself as she was, get out of her head, and start loving those already around her.  You see, she realized that real love lies within and it’s not dependent on how you look or what you accomplish.

Deschene started to feel so much better when she began to focus less on herself and her own problems and more on loving other people.  That can happen for you too.

Even if you choose love, however, it can be hard to be consistent with a new aspiration and habit.  Deschene created this book:  “…to help us all remember to do something, every day, to make the world a kinder, more loving place.”

When you visit her popular blog, Tiny Buddha, Deschene’s vibrancy, positivity, and authenticity radiates from every word she has written. You would never guess the intense struggles she’s been through.  For more than a decade, Descehene was challenged by depression, bulimia, shame, and self-loathing. She felt alone and unseen the whole time.

Deschene’s journey of healing and transformation provides an inspiring testimony to the power of love.  Now she’s captured this potential in 365 Tiny Love Challenges.

How to Get Started with Love

So how do you get started with love?  This is Deschene’s advice for nurturing relationships, both online and off.

Make time. It’s easy to deprioritize our relationships when we get busy—I know, I’ve been there before. But we can always make a little time to connect with people, even if it’s just for a 15-minute Skype chat. Staying connected requires that we actively choose to stay connected.

Make an effort. We all want to know our friends care and will be there for us when we need them. Small acts of thoughtfulness can make a huge difference, whether that means sending someone a congratulatory email or offering to help them with their upcoming move.

Make yourself vulnerable. If we’re not being vulnerable and authentic, there’s not really much to nurture, because no one can relate to us if we don’t show them who we are. Equally important, being vulnerable gives others permission to do the same. Then you have two people opening up, sharing their honest feelings, and maintaining a trusting, mutually fulfilling relationship.

Make amends. In the past, I held on to every perceived slight and made a big issue out of minor things—largely because I was unknowingly looking for proof that people didn’t really love me. Now I strive to be more compassionate, understanding, and forgiving instead of sweating the small stuff, and my relationships feel much healthier and much less volatile as a result.

Make yourself a priority. If we want to be good for other people, we first need to be good to ourselves. In the past when I treated myself poorly, I treated others poorly as well. I was emotionally unhealthy, so I couldn’t be there for them emotionally. I judged and criticized myself harshly, so I judged and criticized them harshly. Once I started taking better care of myself, I was better able to take care of them.

It’s easy to stay busy and avoid connection.  People with relational trauma from childhood often have a push-pull relationship with connection.  They both desire and fear it.  So as you begin to open the door of love, be gentle with yourself.  There are many self-love challenges in this book too.  You may want to start there.

12 Aspects of Love

Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges is 485 pages of goodness that you’ll be able to use day after day and year after year.  The book is structured by 12 themes, one for each month.

  1. Kindness and Thoughtfulness
  2. Compassion and Understanding
  3. Authenticity and Vulnerability
  4. Releasing Anger and Forgiving
  5. Attention and Listening
  6. Honesty and Trust
  7. Kindness and Thoughtfulness
  8. Acceptance and Non-Judgment
  9. Releasing Comparisons and Competition
  10. Support and Encouragement
  11. Admiration and Appreciation
  12. Giving and Receiving

An inspiring short story or two starts each week, illustrating how people have put each of these qualities that define love into practice.  The monthly review offers an opportunity to consolidate your learning, your gains, and your transformation.

You can go at your own pace:  work with a challenge a day or a challenge a week or a challenge whenever you’re inspired to cultivate love.

You don’t have to feel isolated, unloved, unloving, or alone.  You don’t have to stay busy to avoid the longing you feel for love and connection.

Love is calling from within.   Take a chance and set your love free.

Note:  I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review.  My recommendation, however, is based on my own personal experience and opinion.  The links to the book are affiliate links.  If you purchase the book through one of these links, I will receive a tiny commission.  This helps me to continue writing on Always Well Within.  Thank you for your support!

*Sue Scott is the winner of the book giveaway!

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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36 Comments

  1. Sue Scott

    As a retired, single woman I find this hit a soft spot. I am fairly new to the place I live and, although I am active, it seems to take a while to find new friends. During this time it is very easy to with draw and criticize myself and others. This note about your book is very timely – thank you.

    • Hi Sue,

      It does take time to make new friends, doesn’t it. I’m this book will support you so you don’t withdraw and criticize yourself and others. I know that’s easy to do. At the same time, I’m sure the connections are out there waiting for you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  2. Donna Clark

    Hi Sandra,

    I’ve been great about maintaining female relationships but not opening myself up to finding a new male partner. My friends keep telling me I need to open up, the is was the theme of our last get together and now your post on self love and feeling worthy.

    I think it’s time although it’s not easy.

    • Hi Donna,

      That’s a big step, isn’t it? Sounds like you are ready! I trust you’ll start moving forward and opening to that love you so deserve.

  3. Sounds like a lovely book!! On my list!

  4. Jo Claire

    Hi Sandra!

    I found your blog during a time of deep sorrow and grief. I want to thank you for your writing and encouragement. I love Tiny Buddha also! Thank you for sharing this book with your seekers and followers! When I first asked the very wounded part of myself what I could do for her, the answer I got was “just sit with me.” The sample from the book above really touched me as I have learned that to love others you must practice love of self first and be willing to sit with yourself and listen to your own pain without judgment. I think these exercises are a great way to practice self love as well as love for others! I am definitely going to get it and am pleased you will get a commission for your love and work that you share! Jo Claire

    • Jo,

      Thank you. I’m very touched my words have been a support for you. And I’m very inspired by the help you were willing to give yourself in the form of being quiet and listening to what the wounded part of you needed. I can see why you resonate with the example, so many of us need just this personal attention to our self. When we can just be present for our self, transformations can take place, maybe tiny steps, maybe bigs ones, but positive change for sure. Thanks for sharing your story openly. I’m sure it will inspire and help others. I so appreciate your generosity and wish to support me. Wishing you well!

  5. joanna

    We need connection everyday, whether it be just sitting with someone to keep company or a quick call from faraway. Today I stopped by to see a friend, no call ahead, no text ahead. It was perfect. To me that is true connection, making the time.

    • Making the time is so important. Thank you for underlining that, Joanna. So many of us stay busy and don’t take the time for connection. I think this book will turn that around for people.

  6. Sydney anderson

    Sounds like a great book

  7. Sandra it sounds like a new book on my currently very long to read list , thanks for sharing , a great review. xxoo

  8. It was about 4 years ago sitting at the bookstore with my son a few months after his father died when I first read Tiny Buddha. Reading that book and later her blog was the start of me living again. I absolutely love the simplicity of the practice offered in this book to cultivate love, real love, in your life and you have done a great job of breaking it down, always.

    • I’m so glad the Tiny Buddha book made such a big shift for you, Kira. It’s inspiring to know that change can suddenly happen in any moment. This gives us all hope! Thank you so much.

  9. Your world changes for the better when you start to love yourself. Thanks for the helpful info on how to extend love and kindness to yourself in addition to the book tip.

  10. Love is what it’s all about Sandra. When I feel like something isn’t quite right in my world and I turn to love, it all negativity falls away. We get to choose every day…love or fear because they can’t and don’t live together.

    This sounds like a perfect book to dip into on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing and for your generous give-away. 🙂

    • I love how you are so clear on love, Elle. This feels so true to me. And it’s so simple to always have this choice in mind, love or fear. Thank you so much.

  11. Sandra,

    It’s amazing – sometimes things like love, concepts we encounter every day, we don’t sit and examine closely. Love is love, right? But look, just LOOK at all of those chapters! They’re all aspects of love. And as I look through them, I see I know them all. None are a surprise to me, but to think of them as pieces of love is kind of amazing. That makes me love this book right there!

    • That list of the elements of love is pretty awesome, isn’t it, Jessica! We do take love for granted and rarely stop to consider what it really means. I’m glad you feel inspired.

  12. Kristin

    Would love the opportunity to read this book. I’m stationed overseas and learning how to live with and accept a panic disorder I’ve struggled with for so many years. This past year, I’ve really dove deep into yoga and am starting to branch out more into mindfulness and meditation than just asana practice. This book sounds like just the addition I need. To be reminded to be the person who I was looking for, for so many years. I know I’m not alone in my struggle, and I can use that to heal others and myself 🙂

    • What an aspiring aspiration, Kristin. I’m sorry you’ve struggled for so many years, but it seems like you are moving in a wonderful direction now. I’m happy for you. BTW, I’m happy to include your in the drawing, but we’ll need a US address and not a PO box. Thanks for sharing so openly. Sending you a hug.

      • Kristin

        I’d love the opportunity to be included! Sadly, I only can receive mail via USPS APO box. We do not get physical addresses here. However, I’m sure that if I was lucky enough, I could have family from the states forward it on 🙂

        • Kristin,
          If you are the lucky one, I’ll definitely check on APO boxes just to be sure! I would love for you to be included too.

  13. Kimberly

    As a single mother of two teenage girls (19 & 13) self love, finding connections and finding and giving kindness are so key to staying sane and grounded. When I don’t feel loved and connected to others, the isolation impacts my ability to remain even tempered when dealing with ups and downs of the teenage years. I’d love to get a copy of this book! It sounds great…

    • Hi Kimberly,

      I’m all for staying sane and grounded. I know you love your girls and teenager years can be so chaotic! You deserve love, connections, and kindness. Isolation doesn’t help for sure. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  14. Such a beautiful book and give-away! Tiny Buddha has helped me through a day on more than one occasion.
    I’m an introvert that craves meaningful connection, and it hasn’t always been a easy road. But the more I become vulnerable and visible the more love I find to give and to receive. I don’t think the other things, such as compassion, can happen until we become vulnerable. Not only with others, but with ourselves – not hiding from those things that feel tender within us, or from the voicing what we really need or want. Vulnerability and self-care go hand in hand for me, because truly opening to loving ourselves and others isn’t always free of pain. As a matter of fact, to love guarantees it. Trying to shield ourselves from the pain also blocks the sweetness.

    • So insightful, Kimberly. I think you complete right about vulnerability and the way it must begin with ourselves before compassion can really happen. Yes, love isn’t always pain free. When love is true, we want the very best for the other, which may be painful for us, but there is a beauty in that pain. This touches me in particular: “Trying to shield ourselves from the pain also blocks the sweetness.” Thank you for this wisdom!

  15. I am realizing that connections with people are so much more important and now not working in an office, I find it harder to make the connections especially being an introvert. And relationships with family seem to be taking on a different feel at this time in my life….yes those connections are so much more important than almost anything else. This looks like an amazing book…thanks for having the giveaway.

    • Hi Donna,

      I’ve found it hard to make connections since I moved to Hawaii. I actually know quite a few people, but I don’t have any close friends. Being an introvert makes it challenging for me as well. I appreciate how much you value connections and your connections with your family as well. These are special for me too. I’m reflecting on connection this month to find the right way for myself. Be well!

  16. Kelley

    Ive recently been struggling with how to really connect to someone and keep that relationship going. I find it hard to really listen to someone without putting my two cents in and telling my story while they just want to tell theres.Tiny buddha has helped me get a little insight and move forward. I’m trying to be selfless and full of love.

    • Hi Kelley,

      I think this is how we’ve been trained in the modern world, to jump in and talk fast! It does take patience to be a good listener. You’re so aware of what you would like, I’m sure you’ll be able to develop this quality and deepen your connections.

  17. Lynn Gill

    I had a stroke and became paralyzed about 6 years ago. I cannot do physical things for others but I try to give back where I can- I think this book is a great idea! Thanks.

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