Loving Yourself First
Podcast #15 — Aired January 30, 2014

To help make the world a better place, you must first love yourself. This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll talk about the importance of self-compassion and how to achieve it. Our guest this week is Lori Deschene, author and founder of Tiny Buddha, which is one of the most popular wisdom destinations on the web. Deschene will discuss how she pulled herself out of self-doubt into a life of self-love and how listeners can do the same. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

 

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Lori Deschene
Founder, Tiny Buddha
Author, TB's Guide to Loving Yourself

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha, a community blog that features stories and insights from readers from all over the globe. She runs the site as a group effort because she believes we all have something to teach and something to learn. Since it launched in 2009, Tiny Buddha has grown into one of the most popular inspirational sites on the web, with more than 2 million monthly readers. Lori is the author of Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions, Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself and the Tiny Wisdom eBooks series. She’s also co-founder of the online course Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the Hero.

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Joining us today is Lorie Deschene. Lori is the founder of Tiny Buddha, a community blog that features stories and insights from readers all over the globe. She runs the sight as a group effort because she believes we all have something to teach and something to learn. Since it launched in 2009, Tiny Buddha has grown into one of the most popular, inspirational sites on the web with more than two million monthly readers. Lori is the author of Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Lifes Hard Questions, Tiny Buddhas Guide to Loving Yourself, and the Tiny Wisdom e-book series. She is also cofounder of the online course recreate your life story, change the script, and be the hero. Lori joins us today to talk about how you, before you can show love to the world, how you can must show love to yourself first. Lori, its great to have you with us today on Better Worldians Radio. Welcome aboard.

Lori Deschene
Thank you so much. Its great to be part of the show.

Raymond Hansell
Well thank you for joining us. I have to start by sort of asking about your website and your books. They have a very interesting title that many people know about already, Tiny Buddha. So can you tell us a little bit about that name?

Lori Deschene
Sure. You know, Tiny Buddha started on Twitter before I launched the site so at first I saw the name as a metaphor for small pieces of wisdom, one hundred and forty characters actually to be exact. So that was the thought at first but over time, I became I began to see the name as sort of representative of the spirit behind the site. You know, as you mentioned in the beginning, it is a place where everyone is, you know, both a student and a teacher. Its a place where anyone can share what theyve been through and what theyve learned so really I think of it now as sort of an idea of the tiny Buddha in all of us. Sort of, all of us have this inner wisdom that we can access and the site is a place for us to share it and connect through it.

Raymond Hansell
A tiny Buddha in all of us. What a wonderful way to put that. How did you get started sending out these one inspiration quotes a day that this whole thing began with? How did that come about?

Lori Deschene
Well, you know, in the beginning I was actually kind of anti-Twitter. I wasnt really active on social media sites and I thought that with Twitter you had to narrate your life as it happened. You have to sort of say, I just cut my bangs or Im going out to lunch with so and so, and I thought to myself, I would rather tell people about my life when we met up and, you know, in person as opposed to sort of, you know, using Twitter as a digital bread crumb trail if you will. But eventually a friend of mine sort of opened my eyes to the possibilities with Twitter. You know, I thought it was all about answering the question what are you doing which is, you know, that is the question that was on there. But I realized that really anyone could decide what questions they wanted to answer with what they were tweeting. For me, I knew the questions I wanted to ask would be the hard ones like, you know, what does it take to be happy, or how can we move on and let go of the past? How can we love and accept ourselves, you know, flaws and all? I had spent most of my earlier life, a lot of my younger life in my teens and early twenties struggling with depression and self-loathing and an eating disorder and so I appreciated that I could use Twitter to share thoughts that helped me and were helping me. And in doing this, you know, in using Twitter in this way to share inspiring quotes and words of wisdom, I could do something small but meaningful to make a positive difference in other peoples lives. That was something that was huge to me to be able to do a tiny thing like that, especially since I was working at a couple of different jobs at the time, neither of which were very meaningful to me. This was a small step in a new direction so that is how I got started in tweeting the quotes.

Raymond Hansell
Okay. And this eventually evolved into the popular website Tiny Buddha dot com. Tell us about the site and what it offers to the and what it offers to the world.

Lori Deschene
Okay, sure. So as I mentioned before, it is a community blog and it is a place where anybody could share a story from their life and life lessons that came from it and when I launched the site, I had previously run my own personal developed blog for a very short amount of time which was focused more on my experiences and my insights and I realized pretty quickly I didnt like the feeling of that. I didnt want to have a sight where I felt like, okay, I have all of the answers and, you know, where it was kind of like me putting myself out there as some kind of personal growth expert. I really wanted to be able to share what I had been through and what I was learning but also learn from other people who dealt with maybe the same things. So for me it was very important to create a site where there wasnt sort of a leader/follower dynamic but more a sense of a peer to peer feeling, you know, as opposed to me creating authority and a sense of removal. I wanted it to be a place where it facilitated the sense of genuine connection. And I spent a long time in my life isolating myself, you know, feeling ashamed of some of the things I had been through, so it felt really important to me for this to be a place where we could all sort of share our shared experiences and bond over our you know, the things wed been through and in doing so feel less alone with our challenges. So that is the crux of the blog really, just a space for people to connect over their shared experiences and share their insights. And over time, now the site has community forums where people can, you know, share what they are going through and ask other community members for advice. And there is also a fun inspiring section where I share just uplifting artwork and videos and so that is the site.

Raymond Hansell
That sounds really great, peer to peer shared experience.

Lori Deschene
Yes.

Raymond Hansell
That is really wonderful, really, really wonderful. Now this week well be talking with Lori about self-compassion, so Lori, how does self-compassion fit into the rest of your mission?

Lori Deschene
I feel like my core mission with Tiny Buddha is to help people feel less alone with their pain and better able to grow through it and beyond it. I think that self-compassion is kind of crucial in this regard because a lot of times well cause ourselves to suffer by beating ourselves up over things that hurt. So basically we compound the, you know, difficult experiences by treating ourselves really cruelly in response to it instead of giving ourselves the kind of, you know, kind, supportive, loving, nurturing comfort we might get from friends and family. So I think that, you know, self-compassion in this way is kind of the foundation of healing and happiness because life is going to give us difficult things to deal with no matter what. Were going to encounter struggles and there is going to be pain in life but we can, you know, we decrease our suffering by changing how we treat ourselves in response to what were going through.

Raymond Hansell
I see. This is something you teach, self-compassion. I understand from reading a lot of your works and looking at what shows up on the website as well that self-compassion didnt come easy for you. Can you tell some of our listeners some of the struggles that you faced to get where you are today?

Lori Deschene
Sure. Self-compassion did not come easily to me because not only did I not love myself for most of my life, I spent the majority of the early part of my life absolutely hating myself, just a really deep sense of inferiority and self-loathing. When I was younger, I struggled starting around twelve with depression, bulimia, and, like I mentioned, just intense self-loathing. I had been bullied in school and I had some other things that happened when I was younger that led me to see myself as somebody who was fundamentally worthless and a bad person. You know, I spent most of my high school years in therapy but then as I moved on to college, despite all of this work I was doing on myself, really things only got worse. I spent most of my time in college, actually, just self-destructing and binging and purging and binge drinking and I was over medicated. You know, I always felt like I was a pharmaceutical guinea pig is the phrase I used to use because I was on all kinds of mood stabilizers and anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication, basically just tons of different things. Everything I was doing in my life was to make sure I didnt have to feel and I was in this sort of persistent state of numbness which was just this really explosive pain right beneath the surface. You know, I was holding on to a lot of anger toward other people and misdirected anger toward myself and it was actually in my senior year of college where things really came to a head. I spent my first I had my first stint in an eating disorder hospital. It was about two weeks that I was there and they ended up kicking me out because they thought that based on my resistance to treatment and my continued destructive behaviors that I was beyond help. So after that I went in and out of a number of psychiatric hospitals because there was only one eating disorder ward in my state and it wouldnt take me back. But none of these hospitals were really well equipped to handle the complex combination of issues that I had. I ended up spending three months in a residential treatment center for my eating disorder and that was really a big step for me. It was kind of, I guess in a way, the end of one journey and the start of another because I had finally become stabilized with all of the really dangerous behaviors but I was really just starting to peel the surface to get under the surface of the limiting belief and the pain and everything that led me to do the things I had done. So that was kind of some of the darker days of my eating disorder and my depression and then in my twenties I continued to struggle but in different ways. I guess what it was is by my mid-twenties I felt that I was starting to make progress, real progress, you know, slow progress but progress. I was starting to understand why I hated myself so intensely and, you know, it was becoming more and more in self-help and personal development and it was really about peeling apart the layers of what had contributed to my beliefs about myself. It was about six years after the residential treatment center that I started Tiny Buddha and I think it has been a long journey and as with all of us, it is ongoing. You know, you keep learning and growing and getting deeper to the core of the issues that make it hard for us to be kind to ourselves.

Raymond Hansell
Well were going to be peeling apart those layers with you. This has been an amazing journey. As people read your books, theyll come to understand more and I really encourage everybody to, as we proceed through the break, to listen in intently because there is really some exciting conversation coming up. We need to take a break right now. Id like to offer this challenge to our listeners. If you know someone whose acts no matter how small are making a difference in the lives of other people in the world, wed love to hear about them. Tweet us at hashtag Better Worldians so we can let the Better Worldian community know. Well talk more with Lori Deschene when we come back. In the meantime, you can learn more at Better Worldians dot com and follow our live tweets at Twitter dot com slash Better Worldians. Well be right back now.

Raymond Hansell
Hi. Were back live with Lori Deschene. Were going to talk more with Lori about self-compassion in just a moment and first wed like to share some big news here at Better Worldians Radio. Weve recently launched, as many of you know, our world-wide kindness campaign. In the process, were challenging better worldians around the globe to watch a two minute video that illustrates the power of kindness. When it reaches one million views, well release funds for surgeries that will allow ten kids in the developing world to walk for the first time. Please watch the video, share it with your friends at Color with Kindness dot com. Once again, that is Color with Kindness dot com. And now, lets welcome back Lori and MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Hi, Lori.

Lori Deschene
Hi there.

MarySue Hansell
You know, youve had such an interesting life journey, just really transformational. Im wondering, did you have a sudden light bulb moment when you decided to change your life or was it more of a gradual change?

Lori Deschene
I think for me it was really very gradual, especially since I started with, you know, I was twelve years old when I first started therapy and thats a really young age to realize you need to make some changes in your life. So that I think I always sort of felt like it was a journey of two steps forward and one step back but I do know that there was a moment where I had sort of a really big life changing epiphany. It was I was living in New York. It was a few years after I had gotten out of that treatment center where I spent a few months getting extensive treatment for my eating disorder and I had sort of gotten myself to a place where I was living a very isolated existence and I lived by myself in this seven by seven tiny little dorm style Manhattan room in a somewhat seedy, dangerous building. I was working as a part-time telemarketer and I didnt really have many friends and I was kind of hiding away from the world because as I mentioned, even though I had done a lot of work to reduce or eliminate my dangerous behaviors, I still had all of these fears and beliefs and limiting beliefs about myself and my place in the world. And I found a quote one night. I dont remember exactly where but I found the quote life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. That for me was huge because up to that moment in time, I kind of just you know, lost in these obsessive thoughts about all of the things I had experienced and everything Ive done and everything Id been through and everything that had happened to me and I was sort of defining and limiting myself with these stories. But at that moment, I considered that instead of being ashamed of where I had been, I could be proud of what I did going forward and I could focus on this moment and the choices right now and radically alter my perception of myself and the end result, what I chose to do. So that was a really big turning point for me. Now, finding this quote and having this epiphany didnt necessarily mean that my life changed right then right away, but that certainly was a turning point for me in my perception of myself and what I chose to do going forward.

MarySue Hansell
Thats really interesting that a quote really ignited that insight into you.

Lori Deschene
Well, it, you know, started my love for quotes. Its amazing sometimes the right insight hits you in a certain way and it can be a game changer.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah, I do love your quotes. I see them every day on Facebook. And, you know, in your book Tiny Buddhas Guide to Loving Yourself, you say that not everyone is going to have, you know, big struggles, the ones that were as tough as yours, but that everyone can find some practical wisdom, you know, in the books and on the website. Can you tell what that what that is a little bit to our listeners?

Lori Deschene
Well, I think the reason that everyone can find practical wisdom on the website and in the book is because we really all deal with the same universal challenges. I mean, theres different degrees and in different ways, but I see it all of the time on the site and if somebody will share their own specific story, maybe overcoming low self-esteem or a difficult childhood, or, you know, issues with their relationship or whatever their unique situation will be, and hundreds of people will chime in through comments on the blog and on the social media sites saying how they can relate to that story. So even if they havent experienced the same set of circumstances, there is something universal in there that speaks to them whether it is belief of not being good enough or, you know, struggle with communicating. There is some kind of universal scheme. So I guess that even when the details of the story differ, often the subtext is the same for all of us, our feelings, our thoughts, our beliefs, our assumptions. And you know, with the site and the book, I think that even though there might be some stories people relate to more than others, odds are, theyll be able to relate to the thoughts and the feelings in most of them and that will make the insights universally applicable.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, I think the fact that people really share those moments with everyone makes everyone feel that they can share their most intimate moments too so thats just great.

Lori Deschene
Absolutely and Ive seen that with the site, you know, that one person will share a story about a certain topic and then that inspires someone else to share a story and then that inspires someone else and there is just kind of a domino effect where the authenticity is contagious.

MarySue Hansell
You know, you also say in your book that you really have to feel good about yourself and you must love yourself first as you really are today, in other words, you know, have this self-love, have self-compassion. How did you learn that lesson?

Lori Deschene
I think I realized that if I could treat myself like I wanted other people to treat me, you know, if I could see my needs as priorities and be kinder to myself in my head and cut myself some slack when I struggle which was something I didnt do very well, then I could strengthen myself, you know, kind of in the same way that a parent, their nurturing can help their child grow and flourish. If I want to grow and flourish in the world, if I wanted to do things that I felt proud of, you know, I had to first take good care of myself. I think that I always thought it would go the other way around, that I would do things that I felt proud of and then I would deserve my own love, but I realized that it doesnt work that way because you have to build yourself up to be able to go out in the world and do the kinds of things that youll feel good about. So you have to be good to yourself before you can, you know, do the things that you then feel good about doing. Its kind of a I learned that it kind of could create a loop of good feelings. You know, if I would think to myself, Id feel good, and then because I felt good, Id do things that, you know, I would feel good about. You know, it kind of creates this cyclical loop. Now of course its a lot easier to recognize that than it is to actually do it. Applying it is a lot harder than, you know, realizing. No, you know, if I could just be a little nicer to myself, that would make all of the difference. But I think recognizing that you have to start with the kindness to yourself to then sort of, you know, be able to continually be the kind of person you want to be. Its a great insight because it gives you maybe a stronger motivation to change the way youre talking to yourself because its not as though if you cut yourself some slack, youre not pushing yourself and you wont do things youre proud of. No. If youre good to yourself, youre going to be better able to do good things that youre proud of. So thats what it was for me at first, just really this realization that the way I thought was backwards.

MarySue Hansell
I really like that idea, the do good loop. You know, do good, feel good about what youre doing. Thats what were all about at Better Worldian Radio too. One of the chapters in your books talks about the obsession a lot of us have with fixing ourselves and, you know, making ourselves better and better and better. Can you talk about the importance of realizing that were all okay right now but we do have the room to grow?

Lori Deschene
Sure. I think that its common for a lot of people that get into self-help to think that they need to and by they, I mean us because I have definitely been there. But I think we need to fix ourselves. Its a little like, you know, this world of self-help and personal development is the answer to, you know, years of feeling like there was something wrong with us. That was true for me. Like I mentioned before, I thought that I was fundamentally bad, that I wasnt good enough. And, you know, self-help was just very alluring. It was okay, I can fix those things. You know, I thought maybe if I could learn enough and become good enough that I would never again have to feel the pain and the shame I felt before. But this is just sort of a fallacy because, you know, being human means that we all feel things that hurt at times and well, you know, well go through highs and lows. So if we dont accept our humanity and realize that were okay just as we are, if we cant embrace that these things are things that we all deal with, that we all feel down at times or were all going to feel shame, that were not going to feel perfect ever if we cant accept those things, then personal growth and self-help and all of this, it can do more harm than good because I think the difference is, you know, you can look at self-help as a healthy goal that comes from your love for yourself and your desire to continually improve with the sense that you are fundamentally worthy of a lifelong journey of growth, or you can see it as an unhealthy goal that is based on just this disappointment with yourself. You know, then youll kind of always be measuring if youve grown enough to deserve your own, you know, respect and love and its just the difference I guess comes with your motivation behind wanting to grow and it is certainly healthier to approach it with a sense that you are okay just as you are. You may be imperfect as we all are, but you dont need to change to be worthy of love or connections. Growth is not so much because youre not good enough. Its because its something that we can all do every day is grow a little and become, you know, more and more who we can be, not because there is something wrong with who we are but because its a beautiful thing to embrace life longer.

MarySue Hansell
Right. Right. Now, what did you find are some of the biggest hurdles people have for finding self you know, self-compassion, self-love?

Lori Deschene
I think theyre you know, Ive identified lots of different hurdles in my own experience and people have written on the site but I think there are two big ones that come to mind immediately. One is that most of us or a lot of us, you dont grow up with really good models for compassion toward ourselves. You know, if we grow up in critical environments with people who are hard on us, then thats what we learn. We learn to be critical and hard on ourselves. The way that we see other people treat us is often the way we treat ourselves and it can be kind of ironic too because we might end up feeling really angry towards people who, you know, were critical of us or were hard on us and yet we can adopt that voice in our own head and just become them without even really realizing it. So I think that is one of the big hurdles is not having models for it when were younger and developing and then the other big one that I think a lot of us experience is that when we grow up, we kind of form these mistaken core beliefs about ourselves based on the things that happened to us. So if you were like me, bullied in school, you might have concluded that you were bullied because you werent good enough. Thats why it happened, because there was something wrong with who you were. And then when we have these beliefs that were not good enough, we might think that we dont deserve self-compassion or worry that if we give ourselves self-compassion, then maybe we wont push ourselves and become better than we are which we think we need to do because were not good enough. So that is, I think, the second one is that big one. Its just these mistaken beliefs that are really hard to overcome.

MarySue Hansell
I agree with you. A lot of people can be held back by the opinions of others, the need for approval. What is some of the advice youve learned for letting that go?

Lori Deschene
Well, and this is something I have, I guess, with everything that were just going to think that I certainly have a lot of experience with this because I was a lifelong people pleaser and approval has always been something that even to this day I find myself at times seeking approval from other people. So I know how hard this one is and I think there are two big things that have helped me that come to mind immediately. One is to recognize that when were looking for when were excessively seeking approval from other people and fearing their rejection, it has a lot to do with the way were not giving ourselves approval or how we might be rejecting ourselves. So for example, you know, it used to be that I was much more insecure about my appearance, you know, with my eating disorder and what not. So I was constantly seeking approval and validation regarding my weight or, you know, my hair, anything about my appearance. But since that is something that I no longer struggle with to that same degree, I very rarely seek approval for my appearance. But I may still find, sometimes, that Im still insecure about the fact that Im a really emotional person. You know, I might think that that is a flaw of mine and therefore if I feel that I am being perceived as overemotional, I might want approval from somebody that there is nothing wrong with that. But if in those moments I can step back and say okay, why am I not approving myself? You know, why am I judging this about myself? And then I can remind myself that if I wasnt a highly emotional person, maybe I wouldnt have started my website. Maybe I wouldnt run Tiny Buddha. So if I can appreciate those things that Id be tempted to seek approval from others for, then all of a sudden their approval is less important because Im not depending upon them for my self-esteem to be okay with something. So that is one thing and the other thing that I have learned, and this is a hard one, Ive learned to see the positive side if some people dont like me because I realized that if I am being myself, not everyone is going to like me. You know, there are people that I might like more than others and that is just the way the world works. When people are genuinely being who they are, some people will like you and some wont. But if youre being a chameleon because you want to be liked by everybody which I have done many, many times, odds are youre not being authentic and that is going to make it hard to form genuine relationships because youre not going to really attract anyone based on who you are. Youre going to attract everyone based on who you think they want you to be. So that is the second one for me is to remind myself if somebody is not quite clicking with me that maybe thats not a sign that Im doing something wrong but rather a sign that Im just being who I am and Im not a good match for them.

MarySue Hansell
Isnt that something? I love that. For anyone listening who might be facing the same kind of struggles, you know, that you faced, what would be your personal advice so that they can have a first step? How can they take their first step toward the self-love, self-compassion?

Lori Deschene
Well, I think the first step is I think the first step would be recognizing some of the reasons why you struggle with giving yourself compassion. I guess start with why. You know, someone might say oh, well Im not good enough or Im a bad person or I havent done enough or whatever it is and if you can really identify those things that are your sticking points in your head, kind of the repetitive intensive thoughts that we go through or in what ways were hard on ourselves. If you can identify those beliefs and thoughts that limit you, then you can start countering them. So for example as I mentioned with my bullying experience, I realized that that was one of the main things that contributed to my belief that I wasnt good enough and when I can step back and change my perception of that event and I can say to myself, okay, well it didnt happen because I wasnt good enough. It happened because kids are all going through the same hard times and often times people bully other kids because they are hurting too. You know, and because I was bullied, it doesnt mean that I deserved it. It meant that, you know, I was, you know, at a vulnerable time and kids are all dealing with difficult things and changing my understanding of the past that shaped these beliefs that contributed to my inability to love myself. So I think that this its kind of a very it is a very difficult step. It takes a lot of time and work to really understand what those internal blocks are, but I think its the most important step and its a lifelong process I think. I think that we continually uncover new limiting beliefs and that to really adopt new beliefs takes effort. It takes the time to identify a different way to see where weve been and understand it and it takes the time and effort to actually start living in these beliefs about ourselves. No, its not that Im not good enough. Its just that Im human like everybody else and Im doing the best I can. So I think thats a good first step.

MarySue Hansell
Wonderful. Your work has helped so many people. Are there any special stories that you can share for our listeners that really made you realize that what you were doing was making a difference in their lives?

Lori Deschene
I think what really reminds me that Tiny Buddha makes a difference is not so much the stories that people share with me but seeing the way people share just the way that people share their stories with each other. In the blog comments or on the social media sites or in the forums, when I see the way that people are opening up to each other and helping each other, I feel that the site has made a difference because, you know, its not just that Im helping people. I have enabled people to help themselves and each other. I have helped enable them to do that and that means to me that the site is bigger than me and that is something that I feel really proud of.

MarySue Hansell
You should feel really proud of that.

Lori Deschene
Thank you.

MarySue Hansell
You know, there are a lot of Ive seen there are a lot of guest writers on your website, you know, Tiny Buddha, who I imagine have learned, you know, that you have learned things from. Have you had a recent epiphany or a special one that you might want to share?

Lori Deschene
You know, this one isnt necessarily recent but there is one that stuck with me on the site, something that was really a way of looking at things that I never considered before. There was a post that a woman shared her experience with her mother and she shared how she was angry with her mother because of some of her shortcomings as a parent and then she shared that her mother once said to her, at least I never told you that you were worthless. And she realized then that her mother had heard this a lot growing up, that her mother had told her mother, you know, that she was worthless. Even though she made mistakes as a parent, she didnt repeat the cycle. She didnt continue the cycle of that type of emotional abuse and in recognizing this, she kind of fought against these instincts. She was able to focus less on what she thought her mother had done wrong, you know, focus less on what she thought were her mothers mistakes, and she was able to focus on her appreciation for the mistakes she didnt make that she could have. I think this really spoke to me and it really helped me because it made me think a little more and have even more compassion for people who I may have felt angry toward, you know, because I considered that maybe they too had been hurt in ways that I couldnt fathom and even if it didnt seem like it at the time, maybe they genuinely were doing their best. So that one really stuck with me.

Raymond Hansell
We need to take another break at this time. I cant wait to to when were back. When we do come back, well talk a lot more with Lori Deschene and hear more about this do good loop, this ability with sharing peer to peer, and basically learning more about overcoming mistaken beliefs. You can ask Lori a question yourself after the break. You can do that several ways. First you can call us at 1-866-472-5788. That is 1-866-472-5788. Or you can also send us an email at Radio at Better Worldians dot com. If you prefer, you can also tweet us at Twitter dot com slash Better Worldians. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Hi. Were back with Lori Deschene, the founder of Tiny Buddha. Wed love it if youd call in with a question for Lori. You can call 1-866-472-5788. Again, that is 1-866-472-5788. Or if you prefer, email as at Radio at Better Worldians dot com or tweet us at Twitter dot com slash Better Worldians.

Gregory Hansell
Hi, Lori. This is Greg. How are you doing?

Lori Deschene
Good. How are you?

Gregory Hansell
Im doing great. So I know you have an e-course available now called recreate your life story, change the script, and be the hero. I was hoping you could talk a bit about why writing the story of your own life is so important.

Lori Deschene
Sure. Well, the e-course is, you know, it has sort of a film component with the changes the script element and it essentially it guides people to see themselves as the protagonist of their life in the same way that we, you know, see the heroes in film and all of these movies that we love. I think a lot of times we dont see ourselves in the same way that we might see, you know, the hero of either our favorite movie or our favorite book because when we do, you know, watch a movie or read a book, we tend to relate to the hero, you know, and we root for them. We see their humanity, we see their struggles and their weaknesses and their imperfections and maybe because we see ourselves in them, we root for them to succeed. We believe in them. We empathize with them and that is something we dont always do for ourselves. We dont always empathize with ourselves and root for ourselves despite our, you know, struggles and our weaknesses and our flaws. So the important of writing our story comes down to basically, you know, in order for us to change the things we do, we have to change, first, our perception of ourselves and what we have already done. We have to identify any of the blocks in our mind, you know, the beliefs, the thoughts, the assumptions, anything that prevents us from seeing ourselves with that sense of empathy and possibility. And so that is really what the course does. It helps people change their perception of themselves so that they believe in their potential and their worth and they are able to make the changes they want for their life going forward.

Gregory Hansell
Can we all change our script? Can we all be a hero?

Lori Deschene
I absolutely believe so. I think we all have the ability to you know, we all carry around these stories about the events that happened in our lives. You know, we might look at something that has happened and make meaning out of what happened, you know. Either this means Im not good enough or this happened because I always fail or this happened because Im not good at relationships. You know, we can all take a look back at the things that we have interpreted in negative ways and change our understanding of what those events meant and in doing so, in changing our understanding of what the events have meant, we can change our understanding of who we are in the world and what we can do going forward. I do think that is something that is possible for anybody.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah. Yeah, I agree. You know, it seems like in some ways its a summary for, you know, the whole kind of turnaround in your life. What kind of difference has changing the script and being the hero made in your life, Lori?

Lori Deschene
For me personally what difference has it made?

Gregory Hansell
Yeah.

Lori Deschene
Well, I noticed, you know, really I dont think it happened exactly at that point where I found that quote in New York that life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. I think it was kind of gradually after that point that I realized that I lived my whole life seeing myself in just a very sad way. You know, I defined myself as this weak person who had emotional issues, you know, this person who had an eating disorder, this person who struggled with depression, this person who made a fool out of myself in relationships and continually did things to disrespect myself. And the consequence, I thought, I was the person who deserved the disrespect because of all of the things I had done. And when I saw myself through this very negative, defeatist, limiting mindset, it was paralyzing. Its really difficult to do anything that you feel proud of when you feel nothing but shame for yourself. And when I was able to look back on my stories that I had been telling myself and instead empathize with myself and understand that I was doing my best based on where I was at the given time and that other people given my same circumstances might have struggled in the same way, if not maybe even more so, you know, in empathizing with myself in that way. And its also taking responsibility for my part in the things that had happened but doing it with a sense of kindness and love. I was able to see myself not as somebody to be ashamed of, somebody to hide which is what I did when I was in New York, but rather something to be proud of and someone who can go out in the world and do things without, you know with a sense of, I guess, pride in where Id been, you know. So that was a big shift for me and it was what ultimately enabled me to start small in putting myself out there and encouraging other people to do the same thing and I know I would not have done that if I never considered the possibility that it wasnt a fact that I was someone who should feel ashamed, that it wasnt a fact that I was a bad person, that it wasnt a fact that I was a weak person. I had to be able to let go of those beliefs and consider the possibility that I could do more than that to do more than that.

Gregory Hansell
You know, the big focus here at Better Worldians Radio is making the world a better place, you know, and we believe that that starts with being the best you that you can be. So my final question to you before we take some questions from our listeners is how does self-compassion and writing your own life story fit into making it a better world for everyone?

Lori Deschene
Well, I I think that ultimately, you know, I do believe in being the change you wish to see in the world and I think really the best any of us can do is try our best to uncover our own blocks and our own issues and to grow into, you know, a great sense of acceptance of ourselves and I think that when we do that, when we become more accepting of ourselves and more loving, then we become better able to be accepting and loving of other people because ultimately, the way we treat others is, you know, the way we treat ourselves. Its all connected. You know, if we treat ourselves harshly and judgmentally, odds are were going to do the same thing to other people because thats the way we know to relate to others. So I do think that developing compassion for ourselves and changing our perception of our journey is crucial to making the world a better place and even if that means making our own corner of the world a better place, right, where we stand, that can make a huge difference and that is what I strive to do. You know, I dont really think about making the world a better place per say. I just do my best to learn and grow and to help other people do the same thing and I think if we focus on those efforts, the rest will take care of itself.

Gregory Hansell
I agree. I think you are making the world a better place. You know, we really believe that here that, you know, that change begins with you and by making yourself better, you know, youre going to be more able, youre going to be more charged and aware of yourself and be able to do more good in the world. So I think just working on yourself and helping people work on themselves really does help make the world a better place. I think its a great time then to take a question from some other people out in the world, some of our listeners. We have a call from Jodie from Minnesota. Jodie, we have you live with Lori Deschene on Better Worldians Radio. Do you have a question?

Jodie
Yeah, I do. Hi, Lori. After reading your book, I know that you made a lot of big moves, especially going from New York to San Francisco and it was full of a lot of new beginnings and you didnt feel like you always had a lot of direction. I find myself kind of in a similar position in my life right now and Im wondering what advice you have for grounding yourself?

Lori Deschene
Sure. Well one thing that really helped me a lot was yoga. That was something that I found in New York and at the time when I was feeling kind of scattered and lost and just not sure where I was going or what I was doing or what my next steps were. But the beautiful thing about yoga is, you know, it helps you become more present and its for me to get out of my head in that way, you know I dont know if you can relate to this but when youre not sure where your next steps are, its very easy to spend all of your time focused on that and that can really kind of limit you from finding what your next steps would be because youre so caught up in those worrying, fearful thoughts. So to adopt any kind of practice that helps you be more, you know, in the present, whether it is meditation or yoga or anything to that anything like that I think is very important to be able to just kind of accept and be where you are and I think thats a hard thing to do when youre facing uncertainty. I know it was for me. I remember once, my yoga instructor in New York, he said to me, I said to her I have no idea what I want to do in life. It feels like everything I try, I dont like, and I was really frustrated with that and it made it hard for me to be in the moment because in my mind, the moment was just a big question mark. And she said to me, well, you know, you may feel like that is a discouraging thing but youre figuring out what you dont want and that is progress. So I think in tandem with some type of mindfulness practice, I guess being able to accept that, you know, when youre not sure where youre going and you feel lost, its not like youre wasting your time until you figure it out. Youre actually at a very valuable part of the journey. It is part of what helps you figure it out and thats the kind of thing that, you know, you might not see it until youre in hindsight looking back but you will at some point look back and say, oh yeah. At that time where I felt so lost and confused and I wanted so badly to be somewhere else, that was, you know, a part of the puzzle that got me to the somewhere else. So maybe that is something that I would recommend if youre able to do is to just focus on the value of this moment, that even if you dont know yet how all of the dots are going to connect, this dot is important. You just dont see you dont know yet how.

Gregory Hansell
Well thank you for calling in today, Jodie, and thank you for that great answer, Lori. We also have some questions that came in from Facebook. Kayla says that she has struggled with depression but she is getting help and doing a lot better with that. She says what she still struggles with, though, is self-hate. She asks, I know people such as my friends and father see me as a smart and beautiful woman but I cant help but think that they are lying. I just constantly dont feel love for myself or feel good enough to be myself. Any wise wisdom to help me out?

Lori Deschene
Sure. Well, I have two thoughts on that. First, Im going to go back to what I said earlier. It starts with why, you know. Why do you think youre not beautiful? Why do you think youre not smart? Odds are you can identify some events that contribute to these beliefs about yourself and you might be able to see new ways to interpret those events. So for example, if maybe you struggled in school and you concluded it was because you werent smart, but maybe you could tell yourself instead, well, that class environment didnt suit my learning style. It didnt mean I wasnt smart enough. Its because I needed a different structure to flourish. And this is obviously it can be challenging work because you really have to think about, okay, what are the different events that contributed to these beliefs and you have to be willing to consider there is a new way to interpret those to support healthier beliefs about yourself. But I would say one other thing Id recommend is to maybe put yourself in your friends shoes. You know, picture that your friend is coming to you and you are telling her that she is beautiful and smart and she thinks youre lying. Odds are, you know, in your eyes, you do see her as somebody with flaws and imperfections because you know that were all human, but in spite of it, you see the good things first. So its not necessarily that youre lying to her. Youre just choosing to focus on the parts about her that are beautiful because you love her and that is what love is. Its seeing the beauty in other people. So maybe if youre able to recognize that, you know, if you were to say these things to her, you wouldnt be lying. Maybe you can consider for a second what it feels like to be in her shoes and to see so much beauty in you and to want so badly for you to see what she sees. You know, I think maybe stepping outside yourself in that way can help you consider the possibility that even if youre human and youre flawed and youre imperfect, you still have a lot of great qualities about you. And maybe those things that you consider weaknesses are actually strengths too, kind of like what I was saying earlier about, you know, me feeling like I am overemotional and maybe thats a weakness. Well maybe it is and maybe its a strength too. It is not black and white so perhaps those two things will help.

Gregory Hansell
Well thank you for that question, Kayla. Another question that came in was from Erin. She said, if you could share something with your daughter, if and when you have one, about life, what would it be? And she also said, love you, Lori. Hugs and kisses.

Lori Deschene
Thats so nice. Wow. Share something with my daughter. I think theres so much. I dont even know where to begin. Thats a great question but I think that the main thing I would want to impress upon my daughter is that she is strong and capable. You know, I think that for a long time I always thought that when I had kids, I would, you know, I had these thoughts I guess that were kind of responses to my own life experiences of how I was going to build them up and how I was going to tell them that theyre beautiful and worthy of love and I still want to do those things obviously. But I think another thing I have realized too is that in addition to wanting to build my children up, I want to give them help them learn to build themselves up. You know, I want to make sure that Im giving them the tools to love themselves, you know, to do for themselves everything that maybe I was --. I want to them to be able to do that for themselves.

Gregory Hansell
Well thank you for that question, Erin. One last question. We only have a couple of minutes for this one. Someone from Facebooks self-love page asked why do people think that self-love is selfishness and I think its a great question. We talked about in the studio how we were wary that people would misunderstand the importance of this and mistake it for narcissism but it is so important. Im hoping you can say something about that.

Lori Deschene
Sure. I mean, I think people think of self-love and narcissism for the you know, we tend to think oh, if youre going to be giving yourself that kind of an obvious connection there. We think that loving ourselves might be seen as kind of a selfish, narcissistic thing but I think that the important thing to realize is that its only narcissistic if our self-love doesnt happen in tandem with love for other people. Narcissism is excessive focus on yourself. Well, if youre still feeling compassion and love for other people, if youre creating a balance, thats not narcissistic. Its actually another one of those loops kind of like I was saying before about the good feeling loop. Feeling good, you do good, you feel good. Its the same with self-love. In order to give people love, we need to first model that for ourselves. We need to lift ourselves up and the way we treat others, as I mentioned, is a reflection of the way we treat ourselves. So it is actually an act of kindness and compassion for other people to be able to give that to ourselves first. Its kind of like the cliché, overused, put your own mask on before you put someone elses on the airplane. We need to strengthen ourselves to be a source of strength for other people. So it really is connected.

Gregory Hansell
I think that is exactly right.

Raymond Hansell
Lori, you are certainly a great example of doing great work here in the world and making a very big difference in the world. I know that you said youre just taking one little step. Well thankfully that is what we really encourage everybody to do is to take that one step. To learn more about the e-course recreate your life story, change the script, and be the hero, you can go to recreate your life dot com. You can also find out more about Lori a number of ways. Read her books by going to Tiny Buddha dot com as well as also a number of the books that she has that we have mentioned on this show today. Lori, we would like to thank you for joining us today on Better Worldians Radio.

Lori Deschene
Thank you so much and just one note. It is recreate your life story dot com.

Raymond Hansell
Im sorry. Im glad that you corrected me on that.

Lori Deschene
No problem.

Raymond Hansell
I just got a sign from Greg that he was going to interject that.

Gregory Hansell
I was just about to do that.

Raymond Hansell
Theyre always keeping me straight here. I really appreciate that. For our listeners, please join us next week on Better Worldians Radio for a special episode, a mission to end bullying. Were going to be talking to Kim Harvey, the founder of Angels and Doves, an anti-bullying organization, and also one of its angel ambassadors, country singer Josey Milner whose song Not Pretty Enough will be heard live on the air next week which is sort of a little bit of an anthem for that particular group and its anti-bullying mission. We also have an excellent lineup of guests in the coming weeks and if you know an unsung better worldian who would make a great guest on our show, we urge you to send us an email at Radio at Better Worldians dot com. Wed like to remind everyone that you can also be part of a miracle by simply sharing our video challenge and help heal ten disabled children. Its that easy. Just go to Color with Kindness dot com. Watch the video. Share it with your friends and give these kids the gift of a lifetime. Wed like to thank everyone today for listening. You can join the Better Worldian community at Better Worldians dot com and until next time, everyone, please be a better worldian.