Do you ever wish somebody had written a book for your 10 year old self? One with valuable life lessons and life skills to help you make sense of it all? Yesss! Two weeks ago I published one. My very first book –  Stuck Between Two Worlds‘, and I wasn’t prepared for what came next.

Even though I wrote the book from my heart, I hadn’t anticipated the daily ride on the post launch emotional rollercoaster. Letting go while all the emotions come thick and fast. I’ve noticed that leaning into joy and happiness is by far the most uncomfortable. Even more so than my ever present simmering anxiety.

If that’s you too, you’ll definitely enjoy  July’s Smiley Thought Cards messages! 

Old habits die hard!

At a recent local book signing, I fluctuated between proud and happy. I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. I would watch Murder She Wrote and want to be Jessica Fletcher because I thought that job was made for me – search out the truth, take out all the baddies and then write a book about it!

That’s a daily – sometimes hourly – battle I fight in my head

The fleeting joy and happiness is interrupted with a crushing downpouring of shame and fear. My ever present inner critic keeps me in check and makes sure I don’t get too big for my boots. I struggle to override that *rsehole of a voice that is hellbent on making me wrong, small and worthless. 

I worry that I’ll talk about it too much and make others uncomfortable with my achievement. But then I remember that I wrote this book to give a voice to all that I have had to unlearn and relearn, in the hope it will help kids (and adults) overcome their own mental health battles and feel better. 

Especially those lonely kids that feel like they don’t belong 

I want them to get a sense of validation and take back their power. May they know their own strength!

“Be the person you needed when you were younger” ― Ayesha A. Siddiqi

I believe I am that person in my work and in this book. I really want to show up and be there for those kids that feel unseen and unheard because I know how much of a difference that makes to them.

Ruby is a gutsy and interesting character with many layers. As we follow her adventures into The Wilderness we discover that she is indeed stronger than she knows herself to be. Despite being incredibly hard on herself, her intricate and deep thinking mind is what fuels her love of learning and her desire to grow as a person.

Where there is darkness there is light! 

Your inner child wants you to read this book

I wish I had known some of this stuff earlier on in my life. I’m pretty sure the 9 year old girl (or boy) inside of you wishes that too because sometimes what is ‘normal‘ to us growing up – because we don’t know any different, isn’t normal at all. What adults tell us, we take at face value and we believe, even when our instincts might nudge us to question them. 

Reconnect with your younger self!

Discover the essence of who you are!

The better you get to know, listen to and understand your inner child, the more empathy you will have, and that is your ninja parenting power. Empathy is what enables you to meet your child in the place where they are and help them to connect to themselves, so that they might find their own way. 

I wish I’d read this book as a child!

Ruby has a Gold Book which she fills up with life lessons during her time in The Wilderness with Nettie and her Wildheart friends. 

Don’t you find that lessons are so much better learnt when we learn them for ourselves?

And don’t you find, that your kids don’t listen to you half the time anyway?! 

Here are the life lessons the book covers – super important for children to know at a young age!

1 – Don’t chase happiness! Ruby feels ungrateful for her privileges because she still isn’t happy. She believes she is hard to please or there is something wrong with her. If you’re like Ruby searching for happiness in a relationship, possessions, holidays, inside the fridge or in a bottle of wine, you can learn that happiness lies inside of you. It’s down to you to work out what makes you happy. Your version of happiness isn’t comparable to somebody else’s – we’re all different!

2 – Reframe ‘different’ as being uniquely you! Being different isn’t wrong, bad or unacceptable. As kids we desperately want to fit in, but we betray our authentic selves when we do that. 

3- You are not here to please others and that includes your parents (People Pleasers take note). Ruby tries continually to get her parents’ approval and to make her Mum happy. Such a big job for a small person. The consequences of not getting it right were horrid. This was frightening for Ruby and so she over compensated with her achievements. I want all the Rubies out there to know that this way of relating to each other and the myth that love has to be earned is toxic. The book teaches us that we are lovable as we are. Oh yes that’s the next one…..

4 – You have worth and are lovable without doing anything. Be comfortable with who you are and not what you can do!

5 – Love is easy to say but it’s a doing word.  So many of us have a wonky blueprint for love. The book explores the concepts of love that don’t hurt, shame, blame or lie.  

6 – How things look isn’t as important as how they feel. This doesn’t even take into account the social media effect – I find it amusing when I post a picture of my new hat or when I’ve actually bothered to wash my hair. My likes and comments go crazy, but when I post my very important messages about mental health, I get tumbleweed.

7  – Focus your precious energy wisely. Learn how to focus on yourself (what you’re in control of) instead of trying to control the feelings of others. You don’t have the power to make others angry, sad or feel bad. Everybody is in charge of and responsible for their own feelings. 

8 – Friendship is a choice and not something that we must feel obliged to participate in. The Wildhearts in The Wilderness cultivate some very special friendships when they realise that being who they are is what helps them to find the ‘best’ kind of friend for them.

9 – It’s safe to tell the truth but not everybody can handle the truth. You can see how hard this is for kids – we tell them to be honest and when they are, and we don’t like the response, we tell them off for it. Children are by their very nature quite innocent and honest. They sometimes tell us truths that we’re not ready to hear. 

10 – Life is to be enjoyed and lived. Ruby spends so much time planning and thinking to feel safe that she sometimes forgets to have fun, until she gets to swim with Beluga whales totally unprepared. It’s an absolute joy to watch her succeed.

11 – It’s possible to be afraid and brave at the same time. In fact facing your fears is the only way to overcome them. The only way out is through as Ruby discovers when she overcomes her fear of the dark, overcomes her fear of being rejected and judged.

12 – You’re not alone but nobody is coming to save you. Often we think our story is unique to us and that we couldn’t possibly share it with anybody because they wouldn’t understand. Most of us experience the same feelings and if you talk to the right person – somebody you trust and who listens, you’ll discover that you are not alone. It’s the shame or the fear of vulnerability which makes you soldier on with your struggle alone.

The closest you will get to Nettie (Ruby’s Fairy Godmother), is a therapist who will help you make sense of your past and heal from it). I strongly recommend everybody has a Nettie in their life.

13 – Most people want to feel seen/heard and understood. I can remember the first time I read a self help book ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ and it felt like I was talking to somebody who actually got it! There’s nothing quite like learning after 30 years that there is nothing wrong with you! The book highlights the importance of this for children growing up so that they know themselves warts and all. And feel accepted for who they are.

14 – Feeling your feelings is so important (and not scary if you know how!). Ruby lives in her head because as she tells us it’s her safe space. But being in her head and not in her body makes it hard for her to feel her more vulnerable feelings. She does do anger rather well and that has become a habit and a defence mechanism. 

15 – That hope really is the magic when the chips are down. You have to believe in yourself – how is anybody else going to if you don’t? I remember when we did a class on ‘hope’ at The Energy Pod (you can get the replay here), and it was one of the hardest energies for the children to describe. For them to keep on believing when they couldn’t see or didn’t know the outcome. This is what emotional resilience is all about.

16 – Failure and mistakes are part of learning. Ruby is terrified of getting it wrong and feeling wrong. She has to unlearn that making mistakes is bad and that she can get it wrong and still be a good kid. This takes time. Being patient and kind with yourself and your child during times of change are often forgotten as we rush to the end goal (and get cross when we’ve not reached it yet).

17 – Your brain is so powerful and you can train it to work for you (not against you). Ruby learns how to develop a growth mindset. The Smiley Thought Cards make a cameo appearance in the book to help her with that. Anybody who suffers with anxiety knows that challenging your negative thoughts is a big part of your healing.

18 – The voice of your intuition is razor sharp, so pay attention. Children need to go within and reflect so they can think for themselves. Listen to the beat of their own drum guided by us. People who are cut off or numbed out from their  feelings will not be able to access their intuition. In the story, we follow Ruby to the Silent Disco where all her feelings bubble up and are freed through the music. It’s a beautiful thing having the freedom to just feel. 

19 – Darkness has no power over you unless you let it (you choose). Ruby uses her challenges to learn more about herself and make sense of the world she lives in. That’s a good life skill to have and will hone your emotional resilience when you realise that nothing or nobody can have power over you.

20 – Generational trauma is real and can help us to learn. The book touches on how unresolved trauma in parents is unconsciously passed on to children. As creatures of habit, when it comes to your family, does history always repeat itself? 

Follow Ruby’s story and learn a new way!

Read ‘Stuck Between Two Worlds’, and you can learn with Ruby. You’ll follow Ruby on her adventures as she learns these lessons and others to add to her Gold Book. 

Enjoy this FREE Read-Along Activity Guide for those who want to put the book into action as you read. You know that confidence & self-awareness building takes practice. Pop in your details & start learning today. 

Inside you’ll find coaching activities for 1:1 work, pairs or groups. Includes conversation starters, reflection questions, role plays, journal prompts, games and lots of Smiley creative fun.

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