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Saturday, January 13, 2018

With Love for Books Second Anniversary - Guest Post & Giveaway by Bella Osborne

Kindness – Being Kind To Yourself
Guest post by Bella Osborne

When Anniek and Suze asked me if I’d like to do a blog post about kindness, I thought how lovely that was and what a great positive subject. Then I realised how wide the remit of ‘kindness’ was and sat staring into space for a while. Eventually I pulled myself together and decided I would focus on one aspect of kindness - being kind to yourself.

I think most of us, especially the Brits, are particularly bad at this. We are too quick to beat ourselves up over small things. I know I am guilty of doing this. I hate making mistakes and recently I’ve been making small errors and it’s infuriating but if this was someone else I would be far more tolerant and supportive towards them. I’d tell them to forget about it, that none of the things were that important and highlight all the positives in what they do, but when it’s me that all goes out of the window. Where does that fiercely negative reaction come from? Why do we automatically berate ourselves in a way we’d never do to others?

Do we think we have to be perfect? It’s an odd thought because we accept others and their flaws and yet we expect perfection from ourselves, that hardly seems fair. We need to cut ourselves some slack. And how hard would perfect be to maintain? I think it’s best avoided for everyone’s sanity.

Do we think getting it right every time equals happiness? Surely we know there are bumps along the way? And most of the time the bumps make us stronger as they reveal a little bit more about the person we are and how we deal with things when they don’t go right. Learning is a good thing, right?

Is there something stamped on our DNA that says getting it right equals safety and therefore getting it wrong puts us in danger? Now we could be onto something here.* Back in the days when we lived alongside huge beasts like woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed cats our lives depended on us reacting quickly and in the right way to a threat. We had to be diligent - make one mistake and that could be the last you make. Making a mistake then was a big deal and it’s likely our evolving brain needed to make a note of it so that we didn’t repeat it and become extinct – a learning mechanism, if you will. If this is why we react the way we do then we need to note that we have moved along the evolutionary scale somewhat. We are far less likely to be devoured by a sabre-toothed cat or trodden on by a marauding mammoth and far more likely to die of stress related conditions, accident or disease.

How do we make positive steps towards being kind to ourselves? You are in control of those voices in your head and they need to be on your side. We need to reset the default button that puts us down, gets cross and ridicules our actions. They have no place here. We need to consciously look out for those moments that trigger us being negative towards ourselves.

So next time you mess up and your brain goes into self-flagellation mode, say ‘Stop!’ Take a deep breath and think whether it really matters. Was a life endangered by your error? Is there a woolly mammoth bearing down on you? Is this the domino that sets off the demise of humanity? Unlikely. Whatever you’ve done is usually fixable and it’ll get fixed quicker if you focus your mind on resolving it rather than beating yourself up. And most importantly you’ll feel better about yourself. If there’s a lesson to learn then take a brief mental note of it and move on. Spread a little kindness and start by cutting yourself some slack.

You deserve to be treated with kindness, just as you would treat others. Make 2018 the start of being kind to yourself.

*This is purely me surmising and has no basis in fact. However, if you ever see the results of research saying this then remember you heard it here first!

About Bella Osborne

I've been jotting down my stories for as far back as I can remember... well that's not exactly true. I remember writing a story when I was about nine and I was in Mrs Hurran's class. The story was about a thief who stole the crown jewels but then didn't know what to do with them. It went on for pages and pages, in my spiders dance handwriting, so my teacher typed it up and pinned it to the classroom wall. It was a proud day!

Somehow life took over, I got a sensible job and the writing has remained a hobby which other people puzzle over and which I adore.

Over the years there have been dalliances into poetry, short stories and five unfinished novels. But I decided that 2013 would be the year that was going to change. I joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Writer Scheme which gave me a deadline to chase - a full length novel had to be completed and submitted for review by 31st August. I beat the deadline by a month!

In 2014 I secured a two book contract with Harper Impulse, part of the HarperCollins Group, and my first novel 'It Started at Sunset Cottage' was published in ebook format on 12th February 2015 and paperback on 23rd April 2015. It went on to be shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon New Writers' Award and the RNA Contemporary Novel of the Year 2016.

​My second book 'A Family Holiday' was published Summer 2016 and was shortlisted for RNA Contemporary Novel of the Year 2017.

In 2016 I moved to Avon which is also part of the wonderful HarperCollins family. My latest novel 'Escape to Willow Cottage' was released in four digital instalments ahead of the whole story being published August 2017.

I am currently editing novel number four which is set in a fictional Devon village and has the working title 'A Year in Ottercombe Bay'. Watch this space for more details!




One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a beautiful Locket necklace from Bella Osborne.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Kindness is an important trait which we often fail to show. It can make such a difference to be kind and can have a profound impact on others.

  2. what a lovely story - so interesting! thanks for the giveaway xx

  3. Lovely post! Thanks for sharing it :)

  4. So beautiful. Thanks for the opportunity

  5. "There is not enough kindness in the world." - Eric Ambler

  6. Great guest post. Well done on your achievements.

  7. Thanks for the awesome post and giveaway

  8. thanks for your giveaway and I love your books!!!

  9. Thanks for the giveaway! Well done, honestly xx

  10. Don't be hard on yourself. You seem like a lovely person!

  11. This locket is absolutely gorgeous! There's this small store that sells jewelry from locals, and there's one person who makes lockets like this, but I've never been able to get one, though I've always wanted one. It's adorable.

  12. What a lovely gift. You are exemplifying kindness--passing it forward.

  13. Thanks for the nice giveaway! I just saw your books on Amazon and am a new follower! Rita Spratlen

  14. Your post was very inspirational. Writing a book has always been a dream of mine but I have just never ever thought I would be good enough. Now that I am older I have so many life experiences which could be incorporated into a novel that I am giving it serious thought. Thanks so much for the beautiful necklace on offer in your giveaway and good luck to all for a chance to win. Many good wishes to you for your future endeavours.

  15. I have always believed in the golden rule from elementary school. Treat others how you want to be treated and that means being kind.

  16. Thank you for the nice giveaway!

  17. An important message - kindness.

  18. Thank you for the beautiful giveaway. I had a locket as a young girl and loved it.

  19. Thanks, everyone, for all the lovely comments and support :-)

  20. What a nice guest post explaining how you've progressed as an author. I have read that a lot of authors started writing whilst still children, kept on writing for their own pleasure until one day they start writing and getting published. It must be an immense moment of pride and joy.