Have you seen the video of Lizzie Velasquez’s motivational speech going around lately?
If you haven’t heard Lizzie’s story, it’s one worth hearing. She’s one of three people in the world with a rare syndrome that makes it so she cannot gain weight. Because of her syndrome, people in her high school uploaded a video of her, labeling her the “World’s Ugliest Woman.” Lizzie tells her story of overcoming these bullies with cheerfulness and not letting them get the best of her. It’s a powerful thing to see how upbeat and charming she is.
She gives a great talk, and it’s definitely worth watching. I love her message of overcoming bullying. I love her message of not being defined by others’ opinions of you. I love her message about what true beauty is (and what it is not).
However, as much as I love most of what Lizzie says here, I have to disagree with her ultimate message. The ultimate message Lizzie has for her listeners is to take your life into your own hands and to be defined by your goals and your successes.
Yes, it is absolutely important to have goals and to reach for those goals. And in a certain sense, we are defined by the choices we make—for better or for worse.
But as Lizzie rightly points out: we are not our sufferings or our failures. What I just hope she realizes is that the flip-side of this is true as well: we are not our successes, either.
I hope Lizzie knows that if she hadn’t become a motivational speaker, she’d still be awesome. I hope she knows that if she hadn’t published two (going on three) books, she’d still be beautiful. And I hope she knows that if she hadn’t graduated college, she’d still be infinitely valuable.
We love her for her cheerfulness, and we’re thankful for her successes and we absolutely celebrate those. But she doesn’t need any of that stuff to have value.
Why does the human person have infinite value? Because we are created and loved by an infinite God!
You rock, Lizzie! I hope you know just how precious and loved you truly are!