Katie Piper: Gratitude and giving are ‘stepping stones to true happiness’

Katie Piper: Gratitude And Giving Are ‘Stepping Stones To True Happiness’
Katie Piper
Share this article

By Yolanthe Fawehinmi, PA

The heart works very hard. About the size of your fist, it sits in the middle of your chest, beats around 100,000 times a day and pumps eight pints of blood, circulating oxygen around the body. It’s also what presenter and author Katie Piper calls a universal symbol of love, joy, positivity and, most importantly, care.

“We all know the basics of what the heart does and why it’s there,” says Piper, 40. “But I suppose we can become blasé and get wrapped up in our busy lives and quick-fixes, shortcuts, and maybe not respect the body and all that it does for us.


“Physically, I’m aware of my heart and my body and as much as I can, I involve movement in my life and I enjoy movement. I love running. I love weightlifting. Me and the kids, we like going out for walks and finding stuff in nature.”

Katie Piper
(Will Ireland/LEGO/PA)

People often talk about “guarding their heart” emotionally. But for Piper, it’s quite the opposite.


“Don’t let this world harden your heart. Actually love freely and give love out, because when you look at the different things people say on social media, you can only ask and think, ‘Are you this hardened? What made you so angry?’ And often when people are operating from that space, it’s that saying of ‘hurt people hurt people’.

“So I don’t love the next person with the previous heart that someone else stood on,” she adds. “It’s my heart, and I love freely and give out compassion and empathy to people, rather than letting past experiences stain how I operate in my present tense.”

This is how Piper and her husband, Richard James Sutton, have encouraged their daughters – Belle, nine, and five-year-old Penelope – to approach life too.

It’s also what led her to set up The Katie Piper Foundation in 2009 to support survivors living with severe burns and scars from traumatic incidents – which Piper lives with herself following an acid attack in 2008.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Katie Piper OBE (@katiepiper_)


“I saw the difference in getting support during recovery,” she says. “It was my personal experience and I wanted to give that to other people. But I had no experience setting up charities and didn’t know how to work in the corporate world, it wasn’t my background, so I just trudged along and now the charity is almost 13-years-old and we treat patients on a weekly basis.

“Gratitude and giving are two important mantras for children and adults,” Piper adds. “They are the stepping stones of how to find fulfilment and true happiness in your life.”

Across the UK, the festive period is often filled with much celebration and joy for families. But for some, this time of the year can be a very difficult and challenging time. It’s why LEGO launched — for the seventh year — their Build To Give charity initiative. A 3D heart installation with building stations was unveiled by Piper at London’s South Bank, and taken on tour to Glasgow and Cardiff.


People have also been asked to share the superpower of play with children by building their own heart out of Lego bricks, and then posting it on social media or on Lego Life, using the hashtag #BuildToGive before December 31.

Katie Piper
(Will Ireland/LEGO/PA)

For every heart built and shared, the Lego Group will donate a set to a child in need. The aim is to give 1.5 million children across the world in hospitals, children’s homes or vulnerable communities the chance to play this holiday season.

“Play is a real superpower,” says Piper. “It can be the start of really good conversations and debates, especially when I was explaining to my girls — whilst they were building their own hearts — that their experience during the Christmas period isn’t going to be everyone else’s experience. That was a real chat about gratitude and helping other people. I try to be open-minded with them so they can talk to us. I really believe that strict parenting creates secretive children.

“And in this world of ambition and materialism, we can become really stuck-up and prioritise academia too. Maths, English and Science are all very important subjects, but we forget how educational play can be. We all need to stimulate our imagination. Those moments of happiness and connectivity are all valid,” she continues.

“So I don’t see my kids playing as time off from learning. I see it as a part of their development. It’s when I get to see some really strong and wonderful characteristics coming out, that I can nurture. I think everyone has played with Lego – it’s generational. So seeing them doing the things that I did with my brother and sister is so iconic.”

#BuildToGive is part of the Lego Group’s broader Play is Your Superpower campaign, which aims to inspire families to reprioritise playtime. For more information, visit www.lego.com/en-gb/build-to-give

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com