Radical Gratitude: How to Turn Your Pain into Peace

My journey to living in gratitude began in 2010. And let me say that up until that time, until I was age forty-five, I was a complainer, griper, and a whiner, with absolutely no reason to complain! Luckily, I was saved from these very wasteful,...

The Skills You Need to Survive Stress When It Hits

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~William James Have you ever been in a situation where you felt your world was ending? When the stress was overwhelming and you were so miserable, all you wanted to do...

How I Healed from Gaslighting and Found Self-Love After the Abuse

“I smile because I have survived everything the world has thrown at me. I smile because when I was knocked down, I got back up.” ~Unknown Had you asked me only two years ago I wouldn’t have even been able to tell you what gaslighting...

Why an Internal Focus is The Solution to All of Your Problems

“The moment you take personal responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life.” ~Hal Elrod I’m an introspective person, and at this point in my life don’t have any problems with taking personal responsibility. When I share...

Growing Up with a Narcissist: How I’m Healing from the Abuse

“You could have grown cold, but you grew courageous instead. You could have given up, but you kept on going. You could have seen obstacles, but you called them adventures. You could have called them weeds, but instead you called them wildflower. You could have died a caterpillar, but you fought on to be a butterfly. You could have denied yourself goodness, but instead you chose to show yourself some self-love. You could have defined yourself by the dark days, but instead through them you realized your light.” ~S.C. Lourie As the memories of my childhood flash within my mind, I am brought back to a place in which I did not know if I was going to ever be happy. Happiness, stability, and love seemed so far away and out of reach that I met each day with overwhelming sadness. I longed for peace, I longed for someone to understand, and I longed for someone to save me. No one really knew what was going on behind closed doors with my mom. She was a tyrant who emotionally demolished anyone who got in her path. My siblings and I were her constant targets. Due to her nature, she isolated us from family and friends and only brought us around to make her look good and build up her ego. The classic case of a narcissist. You see, it was not until many years later during my adult life that my mom was officially diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. If you are unfamiliar with this diagnosis, it is someone who lacks empathy and is unable to show love. They appear to have a superficial life and they are always concerned with how things look to others. She was incapable of being loving and nurturing, things we look for mothers to provide. While I was a child, I was always grasping for answers to the constant emotional, verbal, and physical abuse that plagued my household. I learned very early on that I was to be seen not heard, and that any challenge or inquiry of fun would be met with a tongue-lashing and/or strike to my body. When you are the daughter of a narcissistic mother you internalize every strike and every word laid upon you. You feel dismissed and discounted. You never feel good enough. I remember moments in where I wished for the mother-daughter bond that my friends experienced. I would cry whenever I would read about it in books or see it on television. When you are a victim of abuse, you always feel as if what you desire is out of reach because you believe don’t deserve it. How could someone who gave birth to me inflict so much pain? This question flooded my brain on a daily basis. Motherhood is a sacred act of love that was not provided to me, and therefore, I suffered. I suffered with lack of confidence, limited beliefs, fear of failure, anxiety, perfectionism, and lack of emotional closeness with romantic relationships and friendships. It was at the age of nineteen that I decided that I no longer wanted to be a part of this life. I made up my mind that this cloak of darkness would no longer plague me. I left. I left with all my belongings in a laundry bag as well as what little light I had within me and moved in with my now-spouse’s family. I was grateful that that they welcomed me with open arms and that I was safe. Little did I know that the real healing began once I decided to step into it. Trauma leaves not only emotional scars but also tiny imprints that influence your thoughts and decisions. I was an adult who knew nothing about adulting and lacked the guidance from a parental figure: I was terrified. But I realized that sometimes you must mother yourself. In the chaos you learn how to give yourself the love and affection you longed for in your most powerless moments.  I needed to show up for myself and the little girl within me that didn’t have a chance to enjoy life. It was time for me to take my power back and ignite my inner being. I started becoming increasingly curious and hopeful about this transition I was beginning to step into, so there were a few steps that I began to implement on this journey of transformation.  I hope you may find them useful when you are ready. Distance yourself from the toxic behavior. Sometimes distance and time help heal and give clarity as well as peace. I’ve had to take myself out of situations where I knew I had to protect myself. This allowed me to take time out to really focus on what I wanted and the direction I desired to go in. At times this meant limited communication, geographic distance, or emotional distance. This is not always easy, but it will help keep you on track if you constantly remind yourself that it is for the development of your highest good and your healing. Surround yourself with people who can lift you up and pour into you. Coming from a household where love and warmth were not present can leave you feeling empty. Surround yourself with friends or other family that can lift you up while you are sorting things out. Being around people who were able to showcase this for me provided me with the motivation to continue creating it within myself. Develop and nurture a spiritual practice. Faith and hope were the two driving forces behind my motivation to leave. I just knew deep down that this was not the direction that I wanted my life to go in and there were better things out there for me. Developing a spiritual practice helped me to gain inner peace when moments of fear, anxiety, and doubt heavily crept in. It comforted me when I had no idea if taking a leap would work out, but the valuable lesson that I learned was that when you take a leap, the net will appear.  Meditation, prayer, and connecting to a higher power can create stillness within the chaos. Start with unconditional love toward yourself. Surviving verbal and physical abuse is no easy feat and can tarnish what little confidence you may have had, which is why beginning to develop that within yourself is super important. I had to learn that if I loved myself I could feel more confident in my abilities and continue pushing forward. Give yourself those motivational pep talks, read dozens of books, work with a professional, listen to uplifting music or podcasts. Pour into yourself and become your own best friend. No one can take that away from you. Give yourself time. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to healing. It is a journey that loops and curves, but it all leads to a transformation. It can take time to unravel all that you experienced, but be compassionate with yourself as you figure it all out. Set the intention of working toward a positive transformation and gather the tools necessary to facilitate the change. It took me years of trial and error to get to the place that I am in right now, but my intention was always to become better than I was yesterday. Nurture your healing, there is breakthrough on the other side. Continue to make that conscious choice every day to grow, heal, and reach transformation. Don’t shy away from the healing necessary to set yourself free and live the life you deserve to live. You have to shed the old in order to let in the new and no longer allow fear to have a strong hold on you. There is beauty in discovering a life of inward and outward victory. Throughout my transformation my breakthrough consisted of this one powerful mantra: I am not a victim of my circumstance, I am victorious. You are too. About Victoria Grande Victoria Grande is a licensed mental health counselor, certified clinical trauma professional, and transformational life coach for women. Learn more about her at www.beingvictoriouswomen.com and look out for upcoming biweekly newsletter called, “Living Victoriously.” Want to connect? Follow Victoria on Instagram and Twitter. See a typo or inaccuracy? Please contact us so we can fix it!

Embodied Trauma Conference: a Free Online Event, Feb 3-8

Would you say you’ve experienced trauma in your lifetime? Perhaps it’s an obvious yes—if you’ve fought in a war, you’ve been abused, or you’ve survived a tragic accident or natural disaster. But odds are, even if you haven’t experienced these things, you’ve lived through something traumatic—the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or even a divorce. We all go through harrowing events that challenge and change us. If we don’t face the pain head on, our unhealed traumas can leave us stressed, depressed, or unable to cope with daily life. They can affect our mood, sleep, and appetite, not to mention our relationships. If you’re struggling in the aftermath of a traumatic event, or if you think you might be living the effects of trauma from years back, I highly recommend that you check out the upcoming Embodied Trauma Conference—a FREE only event running from February 3rd-8th. Hosted by Tiny Buddha contributor Karine Bell, the Embodied Trauma Conference will focus on how our “trauma imprints” shape our bodies, lives, and experiences, and how we can heal. When you register, you’ll receive two trauma reports as free gifts: Understanding Trauma in Our Children and Why You Can’t Think Your Way out of Trauma. During this six-day online event, you’ll learn from and interact with twenty-two well-respected thought leaders including: Dr. Peter Levine (How Trauma Becomes Lodged in the Body and How We Can Heal) Irene Lyon (Trauma, Chronic Health Conditions, and Healing) Laurence Heller (Working with Shame and Developmental Trauma) Kimberly Ann Johnson (Sexuality, Sexual Power, and Healing Sexual Trauma) Resmaa Menakem (Racialized Trauma and How We All Heal) Nir Esterman (Intergenerational Trauma and Healing) Ale Duarte (Trauma Work with Children and Working with Trauma After Natural Disasters) You can register for the free Embodied Trauma Conference here. Or, if you won’t be available to catch the live interviews, which will each be available for twenty-four hours, you can purchase the complete bundle (and by doing so support charitable organizations working to make trauma education and healing accessible to everyone). I hope the conference helps you heal and better connect with yourself and the world around you! See a typo or inaccuracy? Please contact us so we can fix it!

Last Day for the Best You, Best Life Bundle (20 Online Tools, 95% Off!)

Well, all good things must come to an end, and that time has come for Tiny Buddha’s Best You, Best Life Bundle Sale. Since I’ve been shouting about this sale from the rooftops all week, odds are you’re at least a little familiar with what’s...

Growth Isn’t Always Linear: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

“If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time of great personal growth ahead.” ~Oswald Chambers If I were to look back at my life thus far, as I often do, I’d notice a pattern of events and feelings resembling the activity on an EKG monitor. For every peak, there’s been a valley. For every leap forward, there’s been a stumble backward—sometimes just an inch, and other times, what seemed like miles. Recognizing and embracing this has brought me a tremendous amount of peace, because I once believed that progress required a steady, consistent ascent toward perfection. If I struggled with something I’d struggled with before, I felt I’d somehow failed. If I experienced a personal or professional setback, I thought I’d done something wrong. Growing, to me, meant always doing and feeling better than I did the day before. But I’ve realized that’s not growth; and when I believed it was, growth wasn’t what I was seeking. I was seeking permanently better. I wanted persistent happiness—a reprieve from difficult, overwhelming feelings, and a sense that every day of my life, I was one inch closer to the ideal. I’d say that life’s about the journey, but in the back of my head I believed it would have no purpose if not for the destination, which made it hard to truly pull my focus from it. In this mindset, ever fixated on getting there, and deeply upset by any seeming break in momentum, I constantly felt angry with myself. But I wasn’t supposed to be feeling angry—I’d been cultivating peace for years. I wasn’t supposed to feel uncertain of what I wanted professionally—I’d been working on my career for years. I wasn’t supposed to doubt myself—I’d been building my confidence for years. All this emphasis on where I should be made it difficult to ever experience those elusive positive feelings I wanted to feel.  Then one day, I considered that maybe this mindset was paralyzing me. I wondered if maybe I was actually hindering my growth by expecting growth to be linear. It’s often in our struggles that we stretch and come to better understand ourselves. They’re part of the growth process—not a departure from it. We grow when we do our best to learn from and move beyond our challenges instead of obsessing over them and making ourselves feel stuck. This may sound simple, but for a long time, it was hard for me to wrap my head around this idea, mainly because of all the messy emotions that came up when I thought I messed up. Isn’t growth supposed to feel good? That’s the thing, though: Just like a muscle needs to tear to grow stronger, sometimes we need to wade into our own darkness to find a brighter light. We don’t need to worry that every setback indicates something’s wrong. So long as we’re making progress on the whole, we can trust we’re doing just fine. We all make mistakes in life. We all go through phases when we need to relearn lessons we’ve already learned, and that can be frustrating when we’re in that moment, feeling regret, remorse, or impatience. But if we looked back on our lives, we’d recognize how far we’ve come, despite the peaks and valleys. We’d see we’ve learned and grown, as we do every moment of every day. We’d see we’re not the same people we were before, and know we won’t be the same tomorrow. Still, while we’re always becoming, we can’t ever experience happiness if we’re fixated on who we could or should be. We can only experience happiness by being who we are, because it’s only available right now. We may never attain the ideal, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe our purpose isn’t just to grow—maybe it’s also about growing to love our perfectly imperfect selves. — I share more about the power of changing your perspective in my eCourse Recreate Your Life Story, which I’ve included in Tiny Buddha’s Best You, Best Life Bundle. You can’t change your past, but you can change your story about it, and that’s the key to changing your life. For two more days, you can get my course and 20 other online tools on passion, purpose, love, habits, self-care, and more, for the price of one. Learn more here.  See a typo or inaccuracy? Please contact us so we can fix it!

Why This Will Be the Year I Stop Running from Pain

“One has to accept pain as a condition of existence.” ~Morris West This may seem sounds counter-intuitive, but this year I want to let go of trying to avoid suffering. It doesn’t mean that I am a masochist and plan to spend the next year being...

20 Life-Changing Tools, 95% Off—One Week, Starting Today

First things first, happy 2020! It’s a new year, filled with promise and possibility. If last year was tough for you, it’s now in the rearview mirror. If it was full of blessings and opportunities, you’re likely excited to see what the new year might bring. And regardless of how 2019 panned out for you, odds are you have a goal or two (or more!) you’re hoping to achieve this year. Whatever you’re looking to accomplish, Tiny Buddha’s Best You, Best Life Bundle can help, and I’m excited to share that it’s now available for purchase! For one week only, you can get 20 life-changing eCourses and online tools—including my course, Recreate Your Life Story—for 95% off. The bundle’s offerings (valued at close to $1,900) cover a wide range of topics, including how to: Let go of the past and change the trajectory of your life Create purpose and passion Let go of unhealthy habits that are holding you back and create healthier ones Set better boundaries and find time to self-care Cope with stressful situations with more grace and ease Stop obsessing over problems Heal from grief after loss Find the love you want Broaden your social circle And it’s all bundled together in one powerful package, priced at $97 (which is the usual cost of my course, Recreate Your Life Story, on its own—which means for one week only, you can get 20 tools for the price one). Whatever your goals for 2020, you’re sure to find something that will help in Tiny Buddha’s Best You, Best Life Bundle. And once you claim your package, you’ll have a wide assortment of life-changing tools to access over the coming years, as you face new challenges and set new goals. Get 95% off all 20 life-changing tools here: Tiny Buddha’s Best You, Best Life Bundle Since this package includes eCourses and online offerings for 20 different teachers—many of them top site contributors—at such a massively discounted rate, I’m only able to offer it from now till January 9th. But once you claim your bundle, you’ll have lifetime access to all 20 tools. I hope these powerful resources help you make 2020 your best year yet! See a typo or inaccuracy? Please contact us so we can fix it!