Dare to be Kind by Lizzie Velasquez–Book Review

Lizzie Velasquez has learned to grow through life’s challenges She was born with a rare genetic syndrome which makes it impossible for her to gain weight; but she is more than a person with a disorder. She is:

Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World
  • A motivational speaker
  • A Christian
  • A daughter and sister
  • A person with the gift of compassion
  • A dog lover
  • A friend
  • A college graduate
  • A anti-bullying activist
  • And so much more

Her message is that each of us is more than any one quality that may make us feel inferior or insecure. She says:

“Making the decision not to let anyone else define us and then choosing how to define ourselves and what we’re all about –these are essential steps in life ….And they have everything to do with moving forward on a path toward kindness.”

Although her appearance causes others to stare, and she has been cyber-bullied with a video describing her as the “world’s ugliest woman,” Lizzie remains a positive person. Connecting with and inspiring people is her passion, and her condition gives her a platform for doing that. She believes that::

“Those people who are fueled by hatred and anger to lash out against others, what if they had experienced more kindness, compassion, and acceptance in their own lives? In many cases, their outcomes would have been different.

If each of us does our part in spreading even small acts of kindness, there will be a ripple effect. She has some practical suggestions like giving compliments, smile, hold a door, tell those you meet to have a wonderful day, and so on. Let people know that you see them and value them. It can make a difference. We’re all responsible for creating a culture of kindness.

Finally Lizzie has learned to quell her doubts about the future because God in in control and His plan is bigger and better than anything we can imagine.

I don’t agree with all of Lizzie’s views, but I applaud many of her general premises: be kind; don’t judge others by their appearance; value your family and your past; pray and trust God, don’t be afraid to ask for help and be vulnerable.

VERDICT: 3 STARS

There is also a documentary about Lizzie’s life, “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Vasquez Story, which I plan to check out of the library and may review. Lizzie is also on YouTube and has a podcast.

For more posts on kindness see:

Deep Kindness by Houston Kraft–Book Review

A Quote on Kindness

Be Kind at Christmas

I’ve been using a devotional recently called “The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional” by Julie Fisk, Kendra Roehl, and Kristin Demery.  These women were concerned about the attitude their children displayed about Christmas — begging for the newest toy, complaining about what they couldn’t do or didn’t receive.  They decided to combat this tendency each family would do one kind act each day during the Christmas season and post about it on social media to encourage others.  Their report?  It changed them all much more than they expected.  They saw their relationship with God grow as they put their faith into action with simple acts of kindness.  It evolved into the devotional which gives many good suggestions for intentionally showing kindness.  Here are some of the Advent Acts of Kindness listed at the end of the book:

  1. Write encouraging notes to place in your children’s lunch boxes
  2. Buy or make treats for your coworkers
  3. Send cards and supplies to servicepersons or veterans through organizations like Operation Gratitude or the USO
  4. Babysit for free for a single mom or young couple so they can have a night out
  5. Take cookies or other homemade gifts to your neighbors
  6. Drop off boxes of tissues at a local school to help replenish their supplies
  7. Write a note to a business, recognizing an employee by name and commending them for excellent service
  8. Invite someone who may be lonely to dinner
  9. Donate pet food to the local humane society
  10. Go caroling in your neighborhood or at a local nursing home

See the source image

These are only a few suggestions to be found in the book, and once you start, you will be able to come up with lots of ideas of your own.

Christmas has become a time that is often filled with stress and rudeness.  Shoppers are harried, store employees tired out and irritable, travelers impatient.  Why not go against the flow and spread  kindness instead?

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me.”  Matthew 25:40