Love Yourself as You Love Your Neighbour

Here’s a post that I wrote a few months ago for my old blog. It’s a lesson I really believe in, so I thought I’d re-post it!


Gone are the days of “love your neighbour as you love yourself.”

We seldom do love ourselves. If we were to follow this idiom, and treat others as we treat ourselves, the results would be carnage! We would keep them awake at night with worry and stress. We would be critical of their appearance. We would constantly question whether they are good enough. We would work them like dogs; at work, at the gym, at home, with friends, treating them to a constant monologue breaking down each action and telling them how they did that wrong, should be embarrassed about this, should be doing the other. It would be downright cruel. And yet, we do this to ourselves every day. In this day and age we spend so much time pleasing others, helping others, loving others, and we seldom treat ourselves to the same kindnesses.

I had the pleasure last month of attending a seminar courtesy of Earth Events, with Leona D’Vas as the representation from <a title=”” href=”; target=”_blank”></a>. The event was Self Love and Sisterhood, and featured four inspiring women teaching us the ways of self love. Not <em>that</em> self love, calm down! No, the kind of self love that means we treat our body, soul and mind like it’s the only one we’ve got, like it’s fragile and precious. Because it is, right?

Read Leona’s review of that event <a title=”A Celebration of Self Love and Sisterhood” href=”; target=”_blank”>here</a>, and get your free eBook about the event <a title=”Self Love and Sisterhood Podcast and free eBook” href=”; target=”_blank”>here</a>.

So the event got me thinking about our attitude towards ourselves. ‘Self Love’ is about being selfish. Not in the mean way – it’s good to help people, and it’s great to care about people. I’ve been reading Kamal Ravikant’s <a title=”Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It at” href=”; target=”_blank”>Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It</a>, and he uses the best example I’ve heard. Anyone who’s been on a plane knows, you put your own oxygen mask on first before helping those around you. Why? Because we can’t help others if we run out of oxygen ourselves. We need to stop saving this attitude of self preservation for life-threatening situations. Life is precious every day! And we need to appreciate it and love ourselves. Every. Damn. Day.

We are so much kinder on others than we are on ourselves. The Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign is testament to that – if you haven’t seen it, have a look <a title=”Dove Real Beauty Sketches” href=”; target=”_blank”>here </a>(and have tissues at the ready!) In the ad, a forensic artist draws women purely from their description of themselves. Then he draws them again, this time from a description by a random stranger. Not a friend or loved one, just a person they’ve had a wee chat with for ten minutes. The differences are phenomenal. The drawings from the strangers descriptions are not only more beautiful, but more accurate. We need to start showing ourselves this kind of appreciation!

Let’s change the saying. Let’s love ourselves as we love others. Let’s notice the good stuff about ourselves, and excuse the negatives. Let’s encourage ourselves to be better without criticising. And let’s realise that some days, being better means just taking a quiet moment to appreciate and love ourselves. Then we can get around to loving others just as much.

A Note on Ellipses

Something’s been bothering me . . . ellipses. They’re everywhere now, aren’t they?

For those of you who are thinking, “Ellipsis . . . what’s an ellipsis?” Congratulations! You just used one in your lovely thought bubble. An ellipsis is a ‘dot dot dot’. Or, if you want to get all precise, it’s a ‘dot, thin space, dot, thin space, dot’. But that just doesn’t sound as good.

These ellipses have begun to show up in all sorts of unusual places. “But where is a ‘usual’ place for an ellipsis?”, I hear you ask. So let’s start there.

Dot dot what now?

Dot dot what now?


1. Something is missing

The most formal and common use for an ellipsis is when something is missing. For instance, you want to convey the following message, from Terry Malloy:

“You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

But you’re on a tight word count, so you’d like to get straight to the point. You may say:

“You don’t understand! . . . I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

It’s important to note that you need to be especially sure that you haven’t changed the meaning of the quote when you use ellipses in this way. It’s not a home-wrecker of sentences; more of a home tidier. Like a handy storage system that lets you keep all your stuff, but somehow have much more space.

2. Unfinished business

You’ll probably remember this one from children’s books. I had a teacher who would read out the “dot dot dot” at the end of a page, and we all shouted “IT’S NOT FINISHED!” back at her. Let’s investigate with another movie quote, this time from Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore:

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Now let’s imagine his friend streaked through the camp while he was trying to say this. He got a bit distracted halfway through:

“I love the smell of . . .”

The ellipsis denotes that he’s trailed off. This isn’t to be confused with being interrupted by, say, a fatal shot from the enemy:

“I love the smell of –“

If a dash is a grammatic emergency stop, an ellipsis is more like approaching a red light from afar — a gentle, responsible stop that doesn’t give your passengers whiplash.

3. Rhythm

So, sometimes your favourite author wants you to know that the speaker is having some difficulty — perhaps their mouth is full, or they just aren’t too sure of what they’re saying. Maybe they’re drunk.

“A census taker . . . once tried . . . to test me . . . I ate his liver with . . . some fava beans and . . . a nice Chianti.”

Now you can read that and imagine Dr. Lecter has a nice big mouthful of you as he says it. Or he’s had one too many Chiantis. Or he’s not very sure of the memory — I haven’t seen The Silence of the Lambs, but I’m pretty sure the guy is not of sound mind and probably falters mid-sentence a lot.

Great, now you know how to use an ellipsis.

“But, hang on, didn’t you say . . .?”

Yes, yes I did — ellipses have been hanging out where they shouldn’t be. They’ve been dodging curfew. Entering ‘no trespass’ zones. They’re everywhere.

It started with tone. People have taken the third use of the ellipsis to a new level. They read that and hear a pause in the speaker’s tone. So they use it when they want to show that they’re pausing.

“Wait . . . is that not allowed?”

Well, language is transient and ever-evolving. No, it’s not allowed in an academic essay (yet), but who’s to say what is and isn’t allowed in emails, on Facebook or in text messages? My only beef is, there are other punctuation marks that better fit the bill here. A comma would look lovely in that sentence, or a long dash. Even a full stop would work — in fact, it would make it all punchy and decisive. I love punchy and decisive.

But then people branched off! Some use ellipses to be friendly and informal:

“I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight . . .”

While others use them to be sarcastic — a signal that something has been left unsaid, and that something is mean and making fun of you:

“I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight . . .”

And some people just use them everywhere instead of any other punctuation at all:

“I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight . . . where will we meet . . . I’ll be getting off the train at platform nine and three quarters . . . so Leaky Cauldron would be great . . .”

And then it just descends into carnage, where even the simplest of rules are ignored:

“I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight . . . where should we meet ………… I’ll be getting off the train at platform nine and three quarters . . so the Leaky Cauldron would be great for me . … .   . …. .. !!. . .. ?”

Look, despite being a bit of a linguistic purist myself, I am all for the evolution of the written language. Writing used to be a formal thing, and now it’s not. I get it. But the point of writing is to convey a message. The reader has to know what you mean. If you start using ellipses in the place of all other punctuation, it loses meaning, and nobody will have any idea what you’re trying to say.

Okay, we’re not that thick, we will get what you’re trying to say. But you could say it so much better. I can’t sum it up more succinctly than Amanda Bumgarner did:

“While this isn’t a terrible cause for concern, it is important to keep in mind that punctuation symbols mean something! They aren’t just there for you to pick and choose whichever one you want. They all are used for different purposes, and as a writer it’s important to know what those differences are.”

I know that many of the people who use all these dots in their writing won’t consider themselves ‘writers’. But please, just for me — the next time you’re tempted to type out those three little dots, ask yourself, “Would a comma do? What about a full stop?” Anything but more ellipses.

What do you think? Am I taking those three dots a little too seriously? Leave me a comment, or tweet me @word_stomper.

If you absolutely must use an ellipsis, don’t forget to check out this lovely article by Grammar girl on how to correctly format your little dots. That link goes straight to page three of the article, where she talks about the correct number of dots and how to space them and all sorts of useful things.

Women in Business: Get Blogging!


I had a guest post published by Communities Online, about why professional women should be blogging more. Of course, there’s a huge focus on getting women into board positions just now. For aspirational girls and women, being able to read first-hand advice and anecdotes about that journey would be inspiratinal, and help to forward the movement.

Girls and women have always looked for role models – our mums or our peers, and especially celebs in glossy magazines. So it follows that to see an increase of women on Boards, we need to see women on Boards, or women on the path to Boards.

Blogging is a great way to become visible, and is a tool that could be used (and should be used) by successful women to achieve that. By blogging, inspirational ladies can be the professional role models young women need without even leaving the comfort of their own homes.

To read the whole article, including why women don’t blog more, click here.

Four Brands Rocking Social Media

TSPB Four Brands Rocking Social Media Hard

We spend a lot of our time telling everyone how to “do” social media. Use hashtags – but not too many. Reply to commenters. Choose a tone of voice and be consistent etc etc etc. Often we include examples of people who get it so, so wrong. But who’s getting it right?

To find out what four brands I dig, read the original post on The Social Penguin Blog. It also got picked up by Social Media Today – I feel like an online celeb already. Excuse me, my milk bath is ready now …

Apostrophe Girls Create Copywriting Collective

While in Australia, I had the opportunity to join the community at – bringing  people, places, resources and happenings together in one place. Our chief focus is on enabling and inspiring women to achieve their goals, with an emphasis on careers, business and lifestyle.

My work with WOTitle and Post is mostly in an editorial context, but when KerryAnn Bartle got an interview with two female founders, I was asked to write it up. Hell yes! The story was about a new copywriting collective, founded by a couple of fabulous females. Apostrophe Girls

It all began with two women who share a love for storytelling and a knack for words. Despite doing what they both love working in advertising, they were unhappy, constantly searching for inspiration over tea breaks. Driven by a desire to change their circumstances, Apostrophe Copywriters – Melbourne’s first copywriting collective – was born. Founders Crystal Fong and Stefanie DiGianvincenzo created a group of award-winning, freelance copywriters who collaborate with almost anyone, from design to digital agencies, brand managers and even like-minded start-ups.

If you want to read the whole article, check it out here. Although I’m back in the UK now, I still do some work with — and of course I keep up to date with all their stories too!

Review: Born to Blog by Mark W Schaefer and Stanford A Smith

Thanks to The Social Penguin Blog, I had a chance to review Born to Blog by Mark W Schaefer and Stanford A Smith.

Born to Blog

The book takes the reader on a journey of discovery, starting with the question: were you born to blog? Spoiler alert – you were. Apparently we all fit into five blogging specialities: storytelling, dreaming, persuading teaching or curating. We’re taken through each skill, shown examples and told stories. With three years of research behind the book, including 500 blogs and interviews with over 150 bloggers, I know I can trust this book. Then a sentence like this kind of makes me doubt that:

“A person who cannot dream will die”

Whoa! That seems a bit tough to back up – how many people have died from ‘an inability to dream’?

Uh oh, not a great start …! Read the full review here to see if the book redeemed itself.