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In a world of beauty queens, it can be easy to feel like an ugly duckling.  Someone snaps our photo when we are not posed and we assume that millisecond of time is a photo of the ‘true’ us.  We beat ourselves up; we go back to the days of elementary school, or high school when we felt like the odd one out, when we were the last to be chosen for something. We recall the time when everyone but us received an invitation to the slumber party or the dance. We tell ourselves we are ugly or old or less than and that brief photo or moment begins to color the way we see ourselves.

We see the beautiful people around us, young or photo-shopped or botoxed with full makeup and hair and assume that they must look like that all the time because they are ‘naturally’ beautiful. The truth is even the beauty queens feel ugly sometimes.  I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most beautiful people in the world including top super models but so many of them feel if we only saw the real them, we wouldn’t see their beauty but their ugliness. We hide behind ego and namedropping, behind makeup and possessions, behind anything that will protect us from feeling vulnerable.

We are afraid to allow people to see the real us with our scars, our scabs, our hurts and our hang-ups because if they saw the real us, if they only knew – we would never be able to lift our head again or to show our face in public.

Today, as I work in a coffee shop and run into numerous old friends and acquaintances, they introduce me to new people they are meeting with. And as they introduce me I hear the way they describe me – entrepreneur, writer, well connected and I still sometimes wonder who in the world they are talking about. I sometimes believe they must be mistaken, if they only knew.  We all feel less than sometimes.

Lives may look glamorous from the outside but regardless of who you are or your walk of life, all lives are messy sometime.  We put on a good face and pretend that everything is going well but there is illness, loneliness, marriages in trouble, financial woes, parents who are aging and a million other issues that face us as we journey through this life.

Sometimes we believe that our mistakes define us, that they dictate who we are or  what we will become. However, if you are still breathing, you have a choice to learn and grow from your mistakes and go in a different direction.

It is through our mistakes and our difficulties that we learn our greatest life lessons, that we find our strength, that we develop our courage and that we develop wise counsel to help others going through the challenges of life. Life is about change and change can be difficult but without change there would be no butterflies. Today I encourage you to soar, for you are a beautiful creation just exactly as you are.