A woman I work with came into my office yesterday afternoon and said, "You have to go on Yahoo and read this amazing story about a woman who weighs only 60 pounds."
What???? Of course, I logged on to Yahoo and right away I saw the story about a 23-year-old woman who weighs only 60 lbs, has no body fat or muscle and must eat every 15 to 20 minutes to sustain herself. Tragically, Lizzie Velasquez of San Antonio, TX is one of only three people in the world born with this rare medical condition.
My heart goes out to Lizzie Velaquez and her family.
But the reason I write about her today is I am fascinated by her resilience, her fighting spirit and most of all, her ability to find positives in her life when she has been handed so many hardships.
People have called her the "world's ugliest woman," "monster" and "it", yet she refuses to buy into the name calling. Instead, she set the following goals for herself: publish a book (she's published two books), become a motivational speaker (she's been one for seven years), graduate college (she's a senior at Texas State University in San Marcos) and to build a family and a career for herself (ongoing).
My work colleague and I continued to talk about Lizzie's story for a good 20 minutes. We kept trying to figure out what it is that makes one person forge on in the face of incredible challenges and another person fall apart when something small happens to them. We talked about people we knew who had overcome traumatic events in their lives but we still couldn't pinpoint the roots of their resilience.
My office colleague's theory is that it's all about passion. You can be born with passion or you can develop it as you grow up. "Some people love life so much they don't want to give up. They don't know how to give up," she said. "But some people hit rock bottom and just don't know how to get themselves together and go forward."
The question of resilience is a fascinating study of the human condition. What makes a person rally when stressful circumstances are presented to them? Why is it that someone who seems to be emotionally strong enough to deal with a crisis doesn't get themselves together at all?
Obviously, Lizzie Velasquez has amazing amounts of inner strength. Despair is not in her vocabulary.
"Some days life doesn't make sense," she writes in her second recently published book, Be Beautiful, Be You. "You just have to change what you can, ask for help and pray about the rest."
Sounds like solid advice to me! If Lizzie can meet her life goals then I definitely have no excuses.
Here is the link below to the Yahoo! story about Lizzie: