By: Amanda Froelich,
Negative words can cut deeper than physical wounds, but bullying is still a common occurrence. Raised in a society that inflicts more negative influence than recognized, the majority of the human race has a deep affliction of the mind and spirit. Recognizing worth in oneself or others is often missed, and this can devastate the lives of others, who, like all who inhabit Earth, only seek love.
Strength to hold true to one’s inherit worth is a skill that takes practice, motivation, and often times support from a higher source, but it is possible. And Lizzie Velasquez is a wonderful example of how this is so.
Born with a rare condition only two other people in the world have, Lizzie for reasons unknown is not able to gain weight. As expected, being physically impaired (she cannot see out of one eye) and smaller than the general populace (only 64 pounds), she was often a target for bullying in her youth.
But with an optimistic attitude and support from her family, Miss Velasquez came to the realization early on that what defines us is not the physical body we wear, but the true and beautiful self that shines when faced with adversity.
Cyberbullies have labeled Lizzie as “the ugliest woman in the world” because of her appearance, but in a recent Austin TEDx event, her speech was proof of how beautiful an individual she truly is.
Deciding in High School to not let cyberbullies define her, she channeled the negativity directed at her into ambition. In her talk, she told viewers how she resolved to take charge of her life by killing the negativity with ambition, and by defining herself on her own terms.
She asked the audience to consider what defines them. Is it their backgrounds? Families? Friends? Her message was that if we can find happiness within, and be the drivers of our own lives, then the bullies will always lose.
The rare condition which has shaped Lizzie’s life is still not understood; scientists believe she has a form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome from being born without any amniotic fluid. Even eating 5,000 – 8,000 calories a day, she is unable to raise her weight. This no longer inhibits Lizzie’s self-worth, however. And because she has found confidence from within, she uses the perceived limitations as opportunities to brighten others’ lives.
“I’ve had a really difficult life, but that’s OK,” she said. “I’m going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments define me, not my outer appearance.”
Her TEDx talk was a reminder that the only limitations in life are the ones we accept. Because of her passion to turn hate into love, Lizzie Velasquez is an inspiring example for all who seek to embrace their highest good and live a life of happiness and integrity.
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