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.
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.
- Kindness and Thoughtfulness
- Compassion and Understanding
- Authenticity and Vulnerability
- Releasing Anger and Forgiving
- Attention and Listening
- Honesty and Trust
- Kindness and Thoughtfulness
- Acceptance and Non-Judgment
- Releasing Comparisons and Competition
- Support and Encouragement
- Admiration and Appreciation
- 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!
I appreciate your presence. If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free blog posts by email. May you be well, happy, and safe – always. With love, Sandra