'What does it mean to be kind to yourself?'  — Costa Mesa woman publishes book on self-esteem

‘What does it mean to be kind to yourself?’ — Costa Mesa woman publishes book on self-esteem

Jeanette Knutti has fond memories of her late husband, Josh.

He was nice, she said. Caring and always supportive, she added. Very soon after the two first met, she was fired from her job and began to embark on a career as a consultant.

Josh, she said, was supportive every step of the way.

“He was always this big supporter, this cheerleader. He was always talking to me and I think that led to a lot of my success today. He was your hypeman, not just for me but for everyone. He was that person who wanted others to feel good,” she said.

He was the kind of guy who opened his car door for him every day, Knutti said with a laugh. “Who does that anymore?”

He had his own podcast called “Overcoming You”, during which he interviewed guests and talked about their struggles and how they overcame them. She said he understood the importance of mental health and was doing what he could to make a difference in people’s lives.

Her voice calmed down as she reflected on the inner turmoil her husband experienced.

“He was just this beautiful soul and, unfortunately; he struggled with self-love and society – what it meant to be successful,” she said. “But before these things set in, he was just himself and was a carefree, loving person.”

Josh Knutti, 39, committed suicide in April 2021.

While coping with her grief over the unthinkable loss of her husband, Jeanette Knutti set about deciding her next steps.

Knutti, a Costa Mesa resident, said she knew she wanted to continue her husband’s work, but at first couldn’t envision the right role for herself.

Costa Mesa resident Jeanette Knutti shares a few pages from her children’s book, “Be Kind to Yourself.”

(Kevin Chang / personal photographer)

“When I was thinking about how I could help guys like my husband, it was too hard for me to go. So, I started thinking about some of the talks we had shared and conversations we had. he had had with our friends and our friends’ children. He said that some children don’t develop self-love when they are children,” Knutti said.

“They get validation from their parents, from the teachers. They never stop to think about what they like about themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diagnoses of depression and anxiety have increased in children over the years. Twenty years ago, 5.4% of children aged 6 to 17 were diagnosed with anxiety or depression. By 2012, this figure had risen to 8.4%.

According to estimates, during the years 2016-2019, about 4.4% of American children between the ages of 3 and 17 – about 2.7 million children – were diagnosed with depression.

Knutti said she remembers Josh asking kids what they liked about them. Some would not really understand the question. They were saying things like they liked their shirt, so Josh was training them to be more introspective. Did they know they were smart? Did they know they were nice?

“I was perplexed by the importance it had [to him]. He had identified his own issues with self-love and self-esteem. I thought, ‘How can I help? What do I do? “said Knutti.

That’s when it hit her.

If she could create a children’s book inspired by Josh’s understanding of the need for people to value themselves, perhaps it could plant a seed of self-love.

She started writing the book – titled ‘Be Kind to Yourself’ – last June and decided to self-publish it through BookBaby. She joked that the work she put into it was like “building a plane as it goes down”.

The book, which received nearly $13,000 through a Kickstarter campaign on Thursday, depicts Josh as a first-grade teacher who learns from a magical fairy what it means to be “kind to yourself” and then teaches what it’s like. to his students. . The things the fictional children say in her book are words Knutti has heard spoken by children she knows personally.

She said she worked with a retired teacher to come up with a lesson plan for teachers who buy the book. All proceeds from the sale of “Be Kind to Yourself” will either go towards producing more books for use in the community or will be donated to a non-profit group.

Writing the book, she says, was cathartic.

“With the Kickstarter campaign, I faced another set of challenges. It started to do well. People were responding to it. And then at some point I realized: the book is not going to [Josh] back,” she said. “I had to, again, go inside myself and work through this and remember even if the book is not going to replace it… the impact that the book could potentially have, the legacy that it leaves with this message would be important.

“He was the love of my life.”

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