“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
The other night I had dinner with a friend of mine who is blind. As I watch her navigate life it blows my mind how well she handles things. I try to picture how I would handle things if I were blind like she is and I can’t even comprehend how difficult that would be. To not be able to drive yourself anywhere, to not be able to know where the entrance to a building is, or to not know how to locate the restroom in a public place, or not be able to see your baby while you change a diaper, or just a million other things that are so simple for those who can see – we never even stop to think how lucky we are to be able to do those things so easily. Yet here is my friend, facing a life of seeing only darkness, yet she goes through life full of light and optimism that radiates to everyone around her. She lives her life with courage and confidence, accomplishing feats in business and in life that most people with sight will never accomplish. My friend is a truly beautiful person.
My grandmother was very much that way. She suffered everything from financial hardships, to the loss of several of her children, to countless health problems, to having a husband with Alzheimer’s, to just name a few. She was the most tenderhearted, kind person I have ever known. And the most beautiful because of it.
Everyone I know that has endured hardships in their life and yet chooses to live with courage and confidence and an attitude of being blessed is someone I see as beautiful. They inspire me with their grace and humility and there is a tenderness to their hearts that only gets there from having been through hard times and chosen to endure them well. These people never judge others as harshly, they forgive others so much faster, and they are usually the first to notice the good in someone else. They are truly beautiful people.
Those kind of beautiful people inspire us. Those people who overcome trials with courage make us feel like we can too. They give us hope that everything will turn out okay for us because if they could survive what they have, then we can get through it too.
The next time you yourself are going through something difficult, just keep in mind that your ability to endure it well and get through it to the other side will someday serve as an inspiration to someone else heading into their own tough times. Know that for them, it is you who will be seen as the most beautiful person they know….they need you to hang in there…not just for your own sake, but for their sake too…
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the newly released book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )