A Woman's Voice

Author Interview — January 6, 2011 by Jenny Burr

Posted in A WOMAN'S VOICE by doloresayotte on January 6, 2011
Tags: , , , , ,

Jenny is a member of The Word Guild. This interview is a result of her request to fellow Word Guild members to do author interviews. I am honored to have had this opportunity!

I’m Not Perfect and It’s Okay:  ( A Baker’s Dozen ) Thirteen Steps to a Happier Self

By Dolores Ayotte

Dolores Ayotte has a B.A. in Psychology and a Teacher’s Certificate.  She is a retired Canadian who spends six months of each year in Canada and six months in the States.

On the back cover of her book, I’m Not Perfect and It’s Okay she states the following.

“My recipe for life consists of a little bit of this and a little bit of that borne from my life experiences.  Usually, when I use all of the ingredients and steps…I end up with a pretty good product.  Sometimes…I can still fail.  It is this failure to succeed all of the time that helps remind me of my humanity and the fact that I am not perfect.”

Dolores, I love this quote.  Would you like to expand on it a bit more? 

Sure Jenny.  I have found that one of the most difficult things in life, for me and probably for many other people too, is to embrace our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Our basic human nature is created with faults, foibles and frailties.  It is not to say that we don’t have many wonderful and desirable traits, but we seldom want to admit to some of the less complimentary ones, not even to ourselves.  I have found that when I honestly acknowledge and embrace my own weaknesses, they actually have less power over me and my actions.  It’s when I refuse to admit my personal weaknesses that I actually fail at being the true Christian I desire to be.  In essence, the more aware I am of my flaws, the more able I am to control what I say and do. 

In your book you provide the reader with thirteen ways to become happier.  When you decided to share your suggestions in book format, had you already put most of these steps in place in your life?

Over twenty-five years ago I attempted to write this book.  I had neither the experience nor the expertise to realistically offer any steps to a happier self.  My book is written in retrospect based on a proven recipe.  I have incorporated each and every step into my life on a daily basis over the last several years.  Over time, I eventually figured out the steps I suggest for better life coping skills and then decided to put pen to paper and write my book.  

Were some of the steps easier to put in place than others? 

Yes, some steps were much easier than others.  The first step, which I believe is the most important one, is to learn to love your self. This question actually coincides with your first question.  I found it very difficult to love myself during my bouts with depression.  I felt like a total failure and could hardly look at my self in the mirror.    

You wrote about laughter in one of your chapters.  How has laughter helped you when you have been in some difficult circumstances? 

Laughter really is the best medicine.  When I was seriously ill, I completely lost my sense of humour.  This was very frightening to me because I could no longer hide the depression I was experiencing so I stopped having the desire to be around people.  If I couldn’t hide my depression, I chose to hide myself by just staying home. I had to work very hard and with the support of a wonderful husband, we made every effort to find silly, little things to laugh about, even if it was only at ourselves.  We chose to find pleasure in the simplest and smallest of ways which was not always easy, but we got better at it over time as we rebuilt our relationship incorporating as much humour as possible into our daily lives. 

In chapter one, on pages 25-26 you wrote these words.

“Over time, I have decided to simplify my life and to look at as many things as possible from this very same point of view.  I find that life can become so complex that we can forget the things in life that were meant to bring us the most pleasure.  If one goes back to the teachings of Jesus, the message he was teaching is and always has been very basic and very clear.” 

I think that most of know what it is like to lead busy and hectic lives.  Moms and dads are driving their children to lessons, to sports, and to friend’s houses.  Adults seem to book up their evenings and weekends with co-workers, friends, or activities, etc. How does one go about applying this enjoyment of simplicity in our lives today?  

I frequently have this type of question presented to me by my own daughters. One of my daughters and I have been working on a project of our own. She has compiled several pertinent questions and wants answers to what are considered to be present day problems that arise in active families.  It’s based on a conversation in a “question and answer” format that takes place between a mother and daughter. After I answer the question to the best of my ability, she further responds to be sure that we are both clear in what we are trying to say. I throw in a few questions of my own as we volley back and forth.  I would love to see this project become a book one day!

One of the suggestions I usually recommend to them is to choose to look at life in layers.  Some layers are more necessary than others and must get done.  Most lives can be divided into two categories, that of “need to do” and “want to do”.  The goal is to find the right balance whereby nobody’s needs are being sacrificed. Each family member must always have their basic needs met first. It would be up to the individual to clarify what those needs might be as they can be different for each individual.  If this is not accomplished, there can be no happy balance.

With the hectic lives that you refer to in your question, I fully realize how hard this can be. However, if one person’s “needs” are not being met in order to satisfy another person’s “wants”, it will be difficult to achieve a healthy family unit.  The best suggestion I have is to eliminate items on the “want to do” list.   Active families also must discuss the situation and better work together to ensure that each family member’s needs are being met. This is when we must work at our communication skills to ensure our message is getting across.

In your book, you are very honest about suffering from depression.  Would you like to tell our readers more about this? 

It took me years to be honest and open about suffering from depression.  Depression doesn’t always fall into the same category or receive the same compassion that physical illnesses do.  Based on my experience, I have found that many people are still very reluctant to openly discuss that they suffer from depression because it is considered to be a form of mental illness.  I decided that it was time to “come clean” in order to help educate others in an effort to, not only help those who suffer from depression, but to better educate and inform people who are exposed to those who do. 

How has your relationship with God helped you to accept yourself? 

Without my faith and my relationship with God, I don’t know that I could have ever survived and made my way in life to this extent.  It was in the depth of my depression and despair, at my weakest moment when I felt like the biggest failure, that I found the unconditional and merciful love of the God I always knew existed.  By embracing my weakness, I actually found God’s strength and worked my way out of the pit I found myself to be in.

How has your faith grown? 

My faith has not only grown in my relationship with God, but in my self as well.  God lives in each and every one of us. I knew I had to look within in order to accomplish the feat of fulfilling my desire to have a closer and more personal relationship with God.

Is there anything more that you would like to share with our readers about yourself and about your book? 

When I completed my first book, I knew that I had more to say.  I have a second book, Growing Up & Liking It  now published as a follow-up to, I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay.  My  books are what I consider to be a “heart” books.  They are written from my heart to any and all hearts that are open to their message.  

Thank-you Jenny for this interview and your well thought out questions.  To learn more please visit: http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60604-781-1


2 Responses to 'Author Interview — January 6, 2011 by Jenny Burr'

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  1. hope_rising said,

    Wow! Miss D!

    what a great interview … thanks so much for putting it here…. I can’t wait to read your book.

    I know you have referred a few times on your blog about your depression. I think it is so good that you have found your way through it. While I don’t think I have had the kind of depression you are talking about .. I know people who have .. and it is a devasting thing to go through and it’s a long road back … so congrats on getting back to us!

    I so agree that humor is so important … I think this year, while I was trying to regroup after the adoption fell through … I did not want to talk to anyone .. most ly because I did not have anything to talk about .. and I didn’t want to talk about that .. so it was funny … I just got super quiet .. anyone who knows me knows how atypical that is … later on .. months later … I heard myself laugh at something and it sounded so odd to me … you don’t realize how lonely you get without your laughter … it’s an amazing thing ..

    great interview ! You’ve been on an incredible journey and come to the other side such a beautiful person !!

    LLL from HTH !

    • Hope…you have made my day with your kindness. As you can see, the comment left by you is my only comment about this interview which makes it all the more meaningful. Thanks for sharing about your adoption hopes falling through and how it affected you too. I appreciate your understanding about depression and how difficult it can be. I can’t wait for you to read my books too! HTH from LLL

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