Katie Piper talks hope, life lessons and the transformative power of affirmations

'You may not be in control of what happens to you, but your power lies in how you react to the challenges in life.'
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  • Katie Piper is positivity personified, known for inspiring and uplifting people across the world with her incredible story and hopeful outlook.

    After surviving an acid attack in March 2008, resulting in major damage to her face and blindness in one eye, Katie has rebuilt her entire life, undergoing 400 surgeries to help correct her injuries and vision, and starting the Katie Piper Foundation.

    Now aged 37, she is one of the UK’s most inspiring leaders in positivity, receiving an OBE just yesterday for her services to charity.

    Katie’s story is an incredible example of the power of positivity over dark times, something she shares with her followers in the form of daily affirmations.

    ‘The Affirmation Gang’ has now become an online community of hope and positivity. And spreading the message even further, Katie has released A Little Bit of Faith, a beautiful book of 365 bite-sized affirmations to give people strength, confidence and practical life advice.

    ‘Positive affirmations helped me in my darkest times to focus on my health and happiness, and to remember I was not alone,’ Katie explained as she released her book. ‘I know how well they worked for me in regaining my life, and now I want to share them with you.’

    MC Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot had the pleasure of talking with the incredible Katie Piper after her book’s release to find out more…

    Congratulations on A Little Bit of Faith. What was it that inspired you to release it?

    Thank you so much. It was actually during lockdown number one that I was inspired to write it, even though I’ve been a firm user of affirmations for many years. When the pandemic began, I struggled with a sense of purpose and direction because I was used to getting these feelings through my job. My followers and I began hunting and sharing affirmations by different authors, so I decided to put all our efforts to good use and turn them into a book. I think we can all relate to how difficult those months were (and still are for many), and it felt like an opportunity for me to help people in the midst of such uncertainty.

    What role do affirmations play in your life?

    Quite a big one actually – they form part of my daily routine, much like how brushing your teeth or a skin regime would. They help remind me to keep a positive mindset and provide the framework and tools to do that. Obviously, it’s not possible to be positive all the time and I don’t think we need to be. It’s human nature and necessary to experience the whole spectrum of emotions. But it is vital to remind ourselves of what’s important, what you’re surviving and pushing on for, and that’s what affirmations do for me.

    How have affirmations helped you approach the world in a more positive way?

    It’s about working to change your view of the world and remembering what you’re living for. It helps put things into perspective – what’s truly important? What makes you happy? It’s also about reminding yourself what’s positive about yourself and what you love about yourself. Keeping kind thoughts in your head and keeping negative ones out, reducing comparison between yourself and others and focusing inwards. Starting the day by saying something positive to yourself out loud just means you’re not starting the day with something negative, reducing time for critique. Ultimately, it’s a really useful tool to encourage positive approaches to life’s challenges.

    Zak Walton

    When did you first discover the transformative power of positive affirmations?

    During my recovery I had a brilliant nurse who introduced me to the power of prayer, and since then I’ve discovered a huge array of tools to help keep a balanced life. I didn’t know how I would live the rest of my life – it was difficult to move past my feelings of anger and hurt. So, I researched positive thinking and how to not become bitter, and realised it’s about training the mind. I began writing affirmations and positive quotes and sticking them on the wall! It’s also something I’ve introduced to my children. We did a lot of affirmation crafts over lockdown and it’s helped to facilitate conversations with them about mindfulness, positivity and happiness. I think it’s important to introduce them to this kind of thinking because it’s such a helpful way to conceptualise life’s challenges. You may not be in control of what happens to you, but your power lies in how you react to the challenges in life.

    Can you tell us a bit about that and ‘The Affirmation Gang’?

    The Affirmation Gang is the community of people I’ve connected with through social media, particularly Instagram, who believe in the positive power of affirmation. We share affirmations with each other from a huge range of sources.

    Was it the reaction from that community that prompted you to write this book?

    Yes absolutely. The community was so helpful and inspiring to me over lockdown and I wanted our efforts to be put to good use and spread beyond the Affirmation Gang. I knew other people would benefit from it. Sharing affirmations through a different medium would help reach more people because some aren’t active on social media or prefer to read from the pages of a book.

    How did you compile the affirmations featured? Were they previously your favourites or did you source them specifically for the book?

    So, this is an interesting question. The affirmations in the book are from a wide range of sources. Some of the affirmations I’ve made up myself, some are from brilliant historical figures such as Marie Curie or Florence Nightingale – some are from my amazing Instagram followers. As many know, I draw a lot of strength from my Christian faith, so it was only natural that I also drew from chapters in the Bible including the Gospels, Psalms, Romans, Job and Revelation.

    Do you have a personal favourite affirmation?

    I wouldn’t say there’s a favourite. I have some which I repeat or go back to more often than others, but on the whole, affirmations all strive to do the same thing. And that’s to help you find happiness and remind yourself of the strength that exists inside you.

    What do you hope this book will bring your readers?

    When I first began using positive quotes and affirmations I wasn’t wholly convinced myself. Some of them seemed cheesy and unrealistic. Slowly but surely though, the more I read them and took them in, the more power I gave them and the more positive I became. It definitely encouraged me to stay focused on the important things. I hope this is what it gives to my readers. The strength to remind yourself of what’s important and not to sweat the small stuff.

    Zak Walton

    What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

    Oh that’s a difficult one! There’s lots of advice that’s been brilliant and life affirming for me. I’ll give you two. The first one is to remember that as long as you focus on your goal, it doesn’t matter how you get there. It will very likely not be a linear journey – you will face hurdles and go down roads which are dead ends and have to tread a (very) meandering route. But keep focussed and believe in yourself. You will get there. The second one would be ‘it’s not over unless you want it to be’. I suppose that connects quite nicely to the one above because it’s about remaining connected to your end goal. If you haven’t achieved it right now, that doesn’t mean you have to quit. You might just be at one of those dead ends we experience in life – it’s not over unless you decide it is – which is actually quite freeing as well if you think about it.

    It’s so easy – particularly over the past few years – to slip into negativity. Why is it so important to affirm positive and hopeful thoughts?

    In life we can get caught up in situations, dilemmas, jobs, friendships and desires that don’t serve us and make us feel negative about the world and ourselves. Positive thinking and hopeful thoughts provide a framework to move past these moments. They allow us to remind ourselves of what WE care about, what WE want for our lives and our loved ones. I think the most important thing is to try to always see what good can come from living. It’s what will help you carry on, pick yourself up when you fall and ultimately live a fulfilling life.

    A Little Bit of Faith by Katie Piper is available to buy now, retailing at £14.99.

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