Monday, 30 April 2018

The Truth About Loving Ourselves

As I sit and write this on a shockingly rainy Monday morning from my sofa, I’m staring at the words ‘The Truth About Loving Yourself’ with a pretty blank response.

The Truth About Loving Yourself is that it’s pretty damn hard.

I talk in my book about my daily routine at school. I talk about how it was a constant ‘checking’ of myself in mirrors at every possible opportunity. To ‘love myself’ I had to feel like I looked attractive.
The trouble is that feelings are subjective and temporal. Feelings flutter about and come and go. When we base our love for ourselves upon the feelings we have towards ourselves, we are fighting an uphill battle.

The Truth About Loving Yourself is loving people.

My husband (still weird to say after 5 weeks…) and I watched a movie called “Wonder” last week which “tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters 5th grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time”
It is a beautiful story about the journey of a boy from tolerating, to accepting, to loving himself. 

There is some dialogue between Auggie and his mom after his first day at school which I found to be powerful:

Mom: “You are not ugly Auggie”
Auggie: “You have to say that because you’re my mom”
Mom: “Because I’m your mom, it counts the most, because I know you the most

Firstly, I can’t help but think that God, our creator, knows us the most because he planned, designed and made us. Therefore, he knows us most. Therefore, what he says counts. Therefore, we have to create time to hear from him about who he thinks we are. His words about who he created us to be help us to love who we are.

Secondly, whose lives are we speaking truth into? Who do we know and what gifts, talents, characteristics do we see in them that we love? When do we create time to tell them what they are? Another thing the movie highlights is that we don’t know what battles other people are facing. Simply telling them what we love about them can create an awareness in them which never existed before.

The Truth About Loving Yourself is letting go of yourself.

If I’m honest, I dislike all this language about ‘loving yourself’. Part of me thinks that the worlds obsession with ‘self’ is what leads to the thought that loving ourselves is a destination each person must get to, and get to soon. But it can be unhealthy. We become more self-analytical, downtrodden and isolated if it becomes our life goal.

I like to think that we were designed to BE ourselves and to LOVE other people. 'To be' means to exist, to have being, to live. When we do that, we know and accept who we are which catapults us into freedom to live out our God-given purpose, talents and skills. It means that we aren’t pre-occupied with self, but that we’re encouraged and fired up to live out our passion for others. 

So, let’s not get hung up with loving ourselves. It’s not possible every minute, hour, day. What if it’s just an illusion anyway? What if the truth about loving ourselves is actually a lot simpler than it seems: being ourselves and loving other people.

Monday, 23 April 2018

The Truth About Publishing A Book

Book Proofs!!!

What a journey of book writing it has been! If I’m honest I can barely remember when I first received an email from SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) Publishers who made my quiet dream a very tangible reality. 

An email from SPCK Publishers is how it all began!

The editor of SPCK contacted me about the prospect of writing a book, asking the question of whether it’s something I had ever thought about. I still remember where I stood when I read the email and absolutely BURST with excitement and bafflement (I think that’s a word?)!!

P.s. it had always been a dream of mine. I thought it would wait a few more decades but I now see that God had another plan. Some may see my age (22) as a danger, I see it as a gift to the readers. I’m in this “stuff” with them, I “get it”, I can relate. I am thankful to have this opportunity and to have one of my dreams realised.

I met with the editor (who is absolutely incredible by the way) and we bounced ideas off eachother and shared our passion for girls; the need for them to read the truth about who they are!

More Than Just Pretty has been in the pipeline ever since.

What has been the easiest thing?
It sounds nuts but when I sat down to write, more often than not, I found it the easiest thing. Some days I only managed a hundred words, but other days I smashed out a few thousand. 

How?! I have to put it down to God to be honest. I feel like the opportunity to write this book was a gift from him because it is something so close to his heart and it’s something he desperately wants communicated to his daughters. I feel like he inspired me daily, weekly and monthly with the words, stories and testimonies to share in the book.

What has been the hardest thing?
For me, the hardest thing was finding the time to write during the final year of my degree…that was fun! Whilst I didn’t struggle too much to find the words to say (or ‘write’), it was prioritising book writing over essay writing that sometimes proved tricky. What helped was the fact that my dissertation was on 21st Century Beauty Standards, feeding into the book and keeping my passion to communicate the truth to girls ALIVE.

I also found deciding on the book cover with the SPCK team VERY difficult. When you write a book all about how not to judge yourselves or others by their ‘cover’ (image) it proves interesting to come up with something that ‘isn’t judged by its cover’… When you write a book all about how we’re more than just pretty, somehow your book cover cannot JUST be pretty… Do you get me?!

Some days I don’t feel worthy to be having a book published. When those days hit, I tell myself off. I remind myself that this book is all about communicating WORTH to us girls!! How silly of me. And flipping heck, I’m praying that every 24 thousand ish words plastered throughout this book are dripping in truth, worth, freedom, encouragement, and hope for girls. 

All in all, it’s been one of the most surreal journey’s I have ever been on. And, in some ways, it’s only just beginning…

MORE THAN JUST PRETTY. Released June 21st 2018.