They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and nobody knows this better than Lizzie Velásquez. Born prematurely in 1989, Lizzie suffers from an extremely rare medical condition that only two other people in the world have. She has zero body fat, and cannot gain weight no matter how hard she tries. In fact, she has never weighed more than 29 kilograms in her entire life. She’s also blind in one eye and has limited vision in the other. She has a weak immune system, and her skin looks like that of an elderly person. This causes her appearance to be, well, let’s say, strikingly different. In fact, some have called her ‘the world’s ugliest woman’. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Lizzie grew up just like any other normal child, but had to constantly deal with people’s reactions to her appearance. Life was hard, but with the support of loving parents and inner strength, she was able to cope with her situation. But at the age of 17, while surfing YouTube, she came across a video entitled ‘The World’s Ugliest Woman’. It was a video of her, and it already had over 4 million views. Some of the comments told her that she should “please do the world a favor, put a gun to her head, and kill herself”. That video changed her entire life, but not necessarily in the way you would imagine.
Yes, Lizzie felt devastated and greatly saddened by the video, as any of us would. But at that point she realized that she had a choice to make. She could either choose to give in to the cyber-bullies and allow their hatred to define who she was, or she could choose to focus on her inner worth and all that was positive about her situation. She realized that her life was in her own hands.
Not surprisingly, Lizzie chose the path of happiness and success. She focused on her strengths and cultivated a sense of gratitude for all that was good about herself. She decided to go to college and get a degree, which she did. She decided to become a motivational speaker, and she did. Lizzie also plans to marry and raise a family in the future. And I’m sure she will. Not only will she not allow her appearance to prevent her from accomplishing her goals, but she decided to use the negativity it generates in others as motivational fuel for her success.
Some say “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We may have no control over life’s circumstances, but we certainly have full control over what we do with them. What sort of lemons did life give you? And what kind of person do you choose to be?