This Week's Featured Stories

If you're looking for a laugh, a midday pick-me-up or a dose of inspiration, you'll love our featured stories. You can read three free stories every month by picking from the selection below or by searching through every Chicken Soup for the Soul story ever published using the box to the right. You can also have stories delivered right to your inbox with our free, featured story emails. If you'd like to have unlimited access and be able to choose the perfect story for any moment, sign up for a premium subscription and have the freedom to enjoy any of our 20,000+ stories any time!


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99. It Took Time to Love My Hourglass Figure

It Took Time to Love My Hourglass Figure Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and our heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters. ~Dan Coppersmith I was seven years old the first time someone called me “fat.” A family member told me that I couldn’t have any dessert and when I asked why, I was told, “You’re already fat. You don’t need any more food.” Little did I know at that time, I had many more years of emotional abuse to come. At nine years old, a lot of the boys and girls in my grade and the grades above me began to tease me for being “fat.” They wouldn’t let me play with them at recess and some of them even pretended to be my friend so that they could tell the others my secrets. The words and actions of my school peers got worse over time. I turned to food to comfort myself. I went from chubby to overweight from fourth to fifth grade. And that was when I decided to start dieting. I stopped eating breakfast, and when no one noticed, I started skipping lunch too. I ate one small meal a day, usually two granola bars, until I was twelve years old, but I didn’t lose weight. At thirteen years old, I stopped eating altogether, and if I... (more)
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100. The Beauty Within

The Beauty Within Real beauty is to be true to oneself. That’s what makes me feel good. ~Laetitia Casta When I was growing up, there was always something good cooking or baking in the kitchen: Sunday sauce and meatballs, roast beef with mashed potatoes and peas, lasagna, pumpkin pie and brownies for dessert. My parents, who’ve been lovingly married for forty-five years, contributed to my strong sense of wellbeing, emotional health and body image. My father always told my mother how beautiful she was no matter what size she was and my siblings and I were always told how wonderful we were. My parents were caring and respectful of each other and of us; they were great role models for how to treat ourselves and others. That’s why it was hard for me to understand how overwhelming my body issues became after giving birth to my son when I was eighteen. Pre-baby, I was 5’11”, size 10 and 145 pounds. I assumed I would be thin forever. I wasn’t prepared for the whopping 77 pounds I gained in those nine months. It took me twenty-four years to accept that it wasn’t just a baby that changed my body — it was also being a working, single mother, with all the accompanying emotions: guilt, fear, loneliness, and exhaustion. I dealt with my emotions... (more)
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101. Go Ahead, Look at Me

Go Ahead, Look at Me A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. ~David Brinkley As we were putting the final touches on Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident, Amy, Emme, and I — three relatively confident blondes of varied curviness — met for well-deserved cocktails at a swanky hotel on Central Park South. It was late afternoon on a Friday and we were relaxing together after many weeks of reading and re-reading the stories for this book. “I want to meet our contributors and hug them,” I said, as we toasted. “They are so brave and vulnerable to tell such personal stories.” Some of the anecdotes about body shaming had touched me so much, I cried while reading them. Emme had been all over the news the week before talking about that very issue. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had complained about the weight gained by Miss Universe Alicia Machado during her reign, and a lot of people were offended and outraged. “How can he think this is okay?” Emme asked. “This is completely unacceptable behavior.” We were all silent for a moment, as Amy and Emme looked at me. “Natasha,” Amy said quietly, “when are you going to write... (more)
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1: Mom Goes to the Mountain

Mom Goes to the Mountain I may look quiet and reserved but if you mess with my kids, I will show you seven different kinds of crazy. ~Author Unknown My mother taught me a lot of things, not just the usual mother-daughter stuff like cooking and cleaning and how to dress. The major lesson I learned from her was this: When you have a problem, don’t waste your time with middlemen. Go straight to the top, to the head honcho, to get the problem solved. I watched my mother in action many times. One of my favorite incidents was when my brother Ted was attending college in a little town in Vermont. The campus was lovely, situated on top of a steep mountain with spectacular views. There was a problem though. At the start of his sophomore year, Ted called home and told my parents, “They said I don’t have a room on campus. They said they didn’t get the deposit.” “Where are you staying?” my father asked. “They have this house for visitors down at the foot of the mountain,” Ted said. “It doesn’t have any heat.” Now, this was early fall and the weather is nice that time of year in Vermont. But winter comes pretty quickly to New England — cold, windy, and snowy. Ted didn’t say what we all knew: It was also a... (more)