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By Daphne R
Insults hurt in more ways than imaginable. When someone says words could never hurt them they’re usually just hiding behind the hurt because the reality is that negative words can cut deeply, causing depression, low self-esteem and the list goes on. But one young woman named Lizzie Velasquez, age 24, used negative words as inspiration to rise above her situation.
Lizzie was once labeled as the “World’s Ugliest Woman” because of a rare deformity that she shares with only two other people in the world, a rare syndrome known as Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome. It’s a condition that causes one to age faster and lose fat at an accelerated rate.
Presently, Lizzie only weighs 58 pounds because she is unable to gain weight. The syndrome has also caused her to go blind in her right eye.
But worse than the physical suffering, Lizzie also has had to face a lot of negativity. In high school she was a constant victim of bullying. Lizzie discovered a YouTube video called “World’s Ugliest Woman” when she was in high school that featured her. The video racked up more than a million views and comments. Her classmates would hurl very hurtful words at her and perhaps one of the most hurtful that Lizzie recalled was when someone told her ‘put a gun to her head and kill herself’.
Lizzie didn’t allow the hurtful words to harm her, in fact, she used it as motivation to inspire others. Being called the “World’s Ugliest Woman” she could have easily hidden herself away from the world. But Lizzie rose above the situation to become an author and motivational speaker. Now, she stands before crowds of people inspiring and motivating them with her words.
Lizzie explains, ‘I’ve had a really difficult life, but that’s OK. I’m going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments define me, not my outer appearance.’
One question that Lizzie always asks her audiences is ‘What defines you?’
She didn’t allow her outward appearance or the negative things people said to her to define her. She went on to become a positive influence in the world. But, Lizzie will tell you that it wasn’t easy. People may think she’s totally resilient, but Lizzie will tell you it’s difficult because she’s human and it hurts. But she has found strength to rise above her situation and author three books, one of which is “Be Beautiful, Be You.”
Daphne R is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help, tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.
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