Do you ever feel like the ugliest girl in the world?
You know, those: “I hate my body moments” most women have (like 97% of women) at least once per day?
How’s this for comparison?
Just this morning for instance, upon my first glimpse of myself in the mirror at 6 am, “Hello gorgeous!” was the last thing that went through my mind.
“Ugh…” “Whoa…” and “Eww…” sound more like it.
Frumpy hair. Sleepy eyes. Makeup-less face.
Lizzie Velasquez knows all too well what this “motivational self talk” sounds like.
Several years ago, some random stranger posted a YouTube video of her, claiming she was the “Ugliest Woman in the World.”
Born with a rare congenital disease that prevents her from gaining weight (she currently has 0% body fat and has never weighed more than 64 lbs.) as well as early-onset blindness in her right eye, Lizzie said self-consciousness defined her self-concept from the time she was a young girl.
The act of cyber-bullying was only the beginning of her personal launch into motivational speaking, with a TED Talk in Austin a couple years ago that went viral.
The platform messages she continues to spread today?:
- Your appearance does not have to define you;
- Be kind to those you meet; everyone is fighting a hard battle;
- And ultimately, YOU define
A couple weeks ago, Lizzie made an appearance on the University of Texas-Austin last week as the keynote speaker for UT’s Campaign for Real Beauty to share her story with a room filled with college girls (and even a handful of guys), where she inspired every single heart to know their worth.
What defines you? What have you allowed to define you?
- Others’ opinions or expectations?
- A lie you’ve believed for far too long?
- An identity you had in your middle school or highschool days?
- An image or ideal you consistently see on social media?
- A nickname or sterotype you were given—and that ‘stuck’?
- The “rules” for living your life/presenting yourself to the world, according to the pages of Cosmo, Shape Magazine or InStyle?
- The “standards” you or other people have set when it comes to your fitness…eating…appearance…fashion…etc.?
- A comment someone said to you just yesterday?
- People pleasing (i.e. bending over backwards) your _____ (boss, your significant other, friends, peers, co-workers)
So many messages!
It can be far too easy to let others’ comments, beliefs, opinions; or the world’s ‘standards’ and expectations for ____ (You fill in the blank: beauty, our careers/education paths, our rights, etc.) define how we see and what we think about ourselves on the daily—so much so that we actually LOSE TOUCH with how we truly think about ourselves.
For instance, just last week, I was confronted with the hurtful comment from someone else, an acquaintance, that essentially told me: “You would look way better with some more weight on you.”
Comments like these sting me to the core, after spending 14 years of my life struggling with an eating disorder—wherein my life and daily focus was devoted to weight, food and exercise.
Today, my life is devoted to none of these things—except in a positive way (fueling my body to thrive, exercising to empower my body to do amazing things outside the gym, never ever weighing myself—like ever).
It’s funny too how rarely—if ever—do you hear someone say to another person, “You should lose some weight” or “In my opinion, you’re too fat”…but the opposite is completely acceptable?
Nevertheless, I chalked it up to being someone else’s opinion, and I had the option to do one of two things:
- a.) Dwell on the hurtful comment; sink into myself; go home and make myself sick by trying to stuff my face with more food to meet this person’s expectations
- b.) Check in with myself: Am I genuinely taking care of myself? (YES!) And keep my eyes fixed on doing just that.
You, too, have that same choice today:
Are you going to let others’ opinions, expectations or ‘rules’ define you or are you going to define yourself?
Know your truth.
If you’ve not seen Lizzie’s TED Talk from Austin’s Women Conference a couple years ago that paved her way for her worldwide speaking tour, and documentary (“A Brave Heart” ) that went public this year, check it out here: