Anna Interviews: Inspirational Author Katie Piper
Welcome back everyone, after a long wait, thanks to Ms Cheetham I managed to interview a very special guest! A couple of months ago, Dr Amechi (head of the amazing Aquila house) asked me to create an assembly on a topic of my choice. I chose to talk about self-esteem and I made my own video about it. That’s why I was so happy when I knew I would be interviewing Katie Piper, a 'master' of self-esteem. Check out my interview for great inspiration and more about Katie.
I think most of us have heard of the Katie Piper Foundation and I think that what you are doing is an amazing opportunity for all burn survivors, but all initiatives always come from somewhere… Where did you get the idea or inspiration of starting a foundation?
“It was from my own experience of having to travel abroad for treatment, and I had to go through quite a lot of paperwork to get specialist funding to have that treatment. The treatment was really successful and I decided that I wanted to help other people get this treatment because there might not of been the awareness around. When my story became well known in the news, people were wanting to donate money to help me but I had already had all my treatment with the NHS. So, I didn’t really want to take the money so I set up a sort of charity bank account and from that bank account, I grew, and grew becoming more professional and formal as I went. Now ten years on, we have actually set up a rehab centre just like the one I’ve had to travel abroad for, but here in the UK.”
So far, you have written seven books and it is quite apparent that you like writing a lot. Is writing a way to relax or do you feel it helps boost your self-esteem?
“I think it’s probably both. I think writing and reading is very relaxing. It helps you focus on one thing, and sometimes what causes stress and anxiety is trying to focus on multiple things. Writing is also quite exciting and interesting. So, I think you can get multiple things from writing.”
Some of us are a bit low on our self-esteem and aren’t able to think much of ourselves. Those of us like this know they need tips and advice but sometimes are just too afraid to ask for it. What advice would you give to all those people out there that have a low self-esteem?
“Well, I suppose first of all it is very common and because we are apprehensive to talk about it, we don’t realize how common it is. Actually, it’s ok to feel like that and sometimes we might feel more confident at school, but not necessarily in our personal life and vice versa. So, celebrate the areas where you do feel confident and try and work on the areas where you don’t, and look at why your self-esteem is low. Is it due to relationships and connections to people? Is it due to internal dialogue you’re having with yourself? Often when you can identify that, then you can put things into practice. Try and take away the isolation and always go seek for advice. Sometimes the best therapy is to talk to someone about it on common grounds.”
In the Katie Piper Foundation, you help people with visible scars and burns but sometimes even teens feel insecure and it's almost as if they have an invisible scar. Obviously, you have been a teen too, but when you were a teen did you feel insecure or were you confident?
“No, I definitely had insecurities. Not about everything in my life but I definitely had areas where I hadn’t quite cracked it yet, areas which I struggled with. I think it’s a very good question because we talk a lot about visible scars but invisible scars are just as hard to carry. I think definitely as you grow you become more secure with yourself as you find out what you want to do and who you are. You have different experiences that teach you about yourself. So, it does get better and it is a challenging time, but there is lots of good moments as well. When I look back, I have a lot of positive memories as well as hard times.”
You are a very successful women in life and in your career; you wrote books, gave speeches, organized events and much more. You are really inspirational and full of courage (of course you don’t need me to tell you that). How much do you think your past experiences and what you’ve had to overcome has attributed to the confidence you have today?
“I suppose I have to be honest: I do still get worried in my life, I do still sometimes not feel confident. But I know now and by talking to other people at my charity that it’s normal and to be expected. Though I definitely feel my past where I might have sometimes been pushed to the limits, it’s made me realise that as humans we can take on more than we sometimes realize and if we seek help from parents, friends, therapists we’re able to get through things. If we think something is unimaginable we say to ourself : ‘oh, I’ll never get through this!’ we can underestimate our strength.”
By starting a foundation your aim is to help other people and in one of your videos you were talking about ‘you helping them and them helping you’. Have you always had this initiative to help other people to this level or did you discover it as a hidden quality following your experiences?
“I don’t know if you have this at school where someone might not be as good at a subject, you’re good in and you help them with their work. You feel good when you do that, right? I experienced that a lot when I was recovering and having treatment. My physiotherapist, surgeons, doctors, helped me and what they have done has changed my life. I realized that their help might not be a massive thing to them, they might not even realise what they’ve done has changed my life. It made me understand that when I’m in the position to be able to help others, I really should, because it had a big impact on me. The charity gives me this opportunity. When I first set up the charity, I didn’t have any children then and I wasn’t married: I did have some lonely times in my life, and the charity was really helpful with those gaps. ”
I‘ve been looking at one of your interviews where you say “sometimes our own barriers our ourselves”. What do you mean by that and how do we overcome our barriers?
“I think that goes back to your question about self-esteem. What I mean by that is, when we have a low opinion of ourselves and we think we’re not enough or not capable of certain things we often aren’t because we don’t put ourselves up to the challenge and we don’t approach the challenge. The barrier there, it is only our opinion of ourselves. If we can work through that low self-esteem then we can actually achieve the things that we said were unachievable”
Find our more about the Katie Piper Foundation here - https://katiepiperfoundation.org.uk/