Lizzy Velasquez Forgives Her Online Haters in Inspiring 'Brave Heart' Film (VIDEO)

By now almost everyone knows about Lizzie Velasquez, the young Texas woman ridiculed as the "world's ugliest woman" by a cruel YouTuber who fought back with a positive message about self-acceptance. Her 2014 TEDWomen talk "How Do You Define Yourself" was a viral hit. Now the documentary film, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, gives us a fuller look at this inspiring woman's life.

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How did this frail, 58-pound woman come back roaring with so much love and joy after such a devastating attack? That's the question I kept wondering when I first heard about Velasquez. What makes her so resilient?

In A Brave Heart we get some answers. The film begins with Velasquez's birth and leads up to her evolution from cyber-bullying victim into an inspiring vlogger, motivational speaker, and anti-bullying activist. But it's the influence of her parents that I found especially compelling.

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You can see how cherished Lizzie is from day one. Her parents feed her a steady diet of love and adoration. They provide her with a strong sense of self. They let her take some key risks. And most importantly, they teach her important values, like the power of forgiveness.

When Lizzie gets that first taste of cruel online bullying her father tells her, "You have to forgive him." In that moment she pivots. She breaks free of the emotional prison of hate. This makes her stronger, and she is radiant as she challenges the world to witness her self-acceptance and join her mission to inject the online world with greater positivity (most recently by lobbying for the first federal anti-bullying bill).

We saw this in Velasquez's videos, but we see it again and again in the documentary. Lizzy is an unstoppable force for good, and she is inspiring millions of people around the world. 

Our own stories may not be as dramatic, but Lizzie's example of how forgiveness can free you and make you stronger is electrifying. This is a film that will get families, classrooms, and friends talking -- and hopefully enacting their own change, too.

A Brave Heart will be released via video on demand and in select theaters (New York City and Los Angeles) starting Friday, September 25.

 

Photo by Thao Doan

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