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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 January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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