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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 March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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