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21 Lessons From Lizzie Velasquez, Who Is Actually Amazingly Beautiful

21 Lessons From Lizzie Velasquez, Who Is Actually Amazingly Beautiful

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohGDfNQV7M&feature=youtu.be

24-year-old Lizzie Velasquez was born with an extremely rare medical condition that keeps her body from storing fats. In addition to being severely underweight, she is also blind in one eye.

In 2012, online bullies had taken upon themselves to brand Lizzie the “world’s ugliest woman.” An eight-second clip of Lizzie was uploaded on YouTube without her knowledge, and had garnered over four-million views, with thousands of nasty comments.

However, instead of letting this cruel twist of fate defeat her, Lizzie stood up for herself, and showed us what true beauty really is. Here are 21 lessons we can learn from her struggles and triumphs:

1. Bad things do happen to good people.

Bad things happen to good, innocent people all the time — they just do. In Lizzie’s case, she became a target for online bullies for no other reason than the fact that she stands out in her own way. And very often, bad things catch us off guard. You do not have to provoke other people for them to provoke you. You don’t have to do any wrong for wrong things to happen to you.

2. Be immediately aware the moment you begin to doubt yourself.

Often, when we come under other people’s attacks, the first things we think to ourselves are: “Where did I go wrong?” “What did I do to deserve this?” “Am I a bad person?” You need to catch yourself when you think such thoughts — before things spiral downwards under the pressure, and before you start to believe those self-doubts to be true.

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3. A healthy self-image is very, very important.

Ask yourself today: “How do you see yourself?” “What kind of a person do you see yourself as?” “Do you constantly think that you are fat?” “That you are not as pretty as the other girls?” “That you need to be more masculine?” “That you are not good enough, for others or even for yourself?” Very often, we do not see the need and the importance of talking to ourselves, and asking ourselves if we’re doing fine on the inside.

4. You are worth more than what people say or think of you.

It’s true.

5. Bullying thrives on herd mentality.

Don’t jump on the bandwagon just because everyone’s doing so. It may be easy for you to pile on, but your simple acts of “liking,” “sharing” and “LOL-ing” could hurt someone else’s feelings and dignity deeply.

6. Criticism of one’s appearance hurts, no matter what.

We all try to act tough and unaffected when people criticize the way we look and how we dress. But in reality, this sort of criticism always matter to us, and it always hurts.

We should not expect everyone to be tough and not feel anything when offended. No one is meant to hate and be hated — we are all meant to love and be loved.

7. It is useless to fight fire with fire.

When you’re offended, it is instinctive to want to fight back in anger, to want to make the people responsible feel bad as well. However, this would only add more negative energy to the situation, making it worse. Think twice before you snap. Don’t lose control.

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8. Never let others define you.

Don’t believe it when people tell you that you will never accomplish anything great in life, or that you’re ordinary or should just stay the same as everybody else. Don’t let them define you, your life or your future. Don’t let society or people restrict or blind you with their definitions of what’s beautiful and what’s not, and what’s successful and what’s not. Indeed, beauty is not only defined by the outward appearance, but also by one’s character. Success is not about impressing and pleasing everyone, but setting your own goals, and achieving them in your own time.

9. Your accomplishments will be your best revenge.

Let the haters’ hate push you to go further instead of tear you down. Make their hate your stepping stones towards achieving something greater. This will be the best revenge you can give — by proving to people that they are wrong about you, and that you are better than they could ever imagine.

10. Life’s struggles are necessary for growth.

There is a purpose in life’s struggles. Without them, we stay the same. Without them, we cannot grow into the person that we are meant to become. Struggles not only make us into stronger, better and wiser people, they also let us learn more about ourselves and our purpose in life.

11. Confidence is a fragile thing.

All it takes is a single moment in time, or a single word, to destroy what took a lifetime to build.

12. Don’t be afraid to have goals and dreams.

Even in the face of haters and those who do not believe in you, don’t stop dreaming. Lizzie did not stop pursuing her dreams in the midst of all the difficult situations she found herself to be in. Instead, she set her goals in faith. She pushed on, persevered, and got to where she is today — a graduate from college, a motivational speaker and the author of two books.

13. Family is your most reliable source of support in any situation.

Because love from your family is unconditional.

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14. Good parenting can go a long way.

Parents play an exceptionally important role in helping their child build a strong foundation of security and love from a young age. This foundation will support the child for the rest of his or her life.

15. People should be taught the value of a human life.

Lizzie shares, “People were giving me tips on how to kill myself.”

This sort of cruel comment did not only happen to Lizzie, but also to so many of the kids and teenagers who are being bullied in schools all across the country today. Children must be taught the sanctity of life, and how to respect it.

16. Make your flaw your strength.

Instead of trying to hide herself from the world, Lizzie has turned things around and owned her flaw, making it her signature trait. Lizzie has made what most people think to be the worst of her become something she is proud of. Lizzie sees her illness as a blessing from God.

You can also make your flaws work for you.

17. You gotta face your own demons.

Lizzie refuses to let the nasty videos on YouTube haunt her. She overcomes her fears by watching the hate videos again and again — she decides to look the devil straight in the eye. She makes the decision to not let what hurt her the most hurt her anymore.

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Only by facing your demons can you stop them from having power over you.

18. “Have your one good cry, pick your chin up, smile, and move on to the positive.”

Because this is how winners roll.

19. Everything happens for a reason.

Lizzie once said, “God put you here for a reason and wants you to share that reason no matter what.”

20. Be thankful, always.

Regardless of your circumstances, always be grateful. Remember, it’s not always about finding the answers to your problems. You can’t always have the full picture to everything in life.

Be thankful, because it could have been much worse. By being thankful, you allow the answers to eventually find their way to you.

21. Choose to be happy.

Because you always have the choice.

To show your support, or know more about Lizzie Velasquez and her work, you can visit her website.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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