“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.” -Elisabeth Kubler Ross
I studied Elisabeth Kubler Ross in college. Well, I should reframe that. I was introduced to Elizabeth Kubler Ross in a Death, Dying, Bereavement class in college. God knows why I thought a Death and Dying class my senior year was a good fit; it was also the semester I willingly signed up for Plagues and People, a four-credit class that would take the place of another lab science. Admittedly, I was having a melancholy moment with Natalie Merchant and Sarah McLachlan on repeat in the 3-disk changer, but I swear it was mere coincidence that my class load reflected that moment.
After only recently refreshing myself on all the amazing work that Ross did for AIDS, hospice care, life and living education (through death and dying), I remembered her most famous book, which I’ve only read excerpts of, On Death and Dying. In which she proposed the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance that are widely accepted in personal development, psych and sociology texts as THE stages of grief. Meaning: she nailed it.
After I read the book, most likely assigned during said course, yet like all the others was hardly opened, that is now on my audible.com list, I will come back to these very important stages. I think they deserve a post all of their own, mostly because many of us never make it to acceptance.
In the meantime, however, I want to revisit this quote: “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.”
She’s right. Beautiful people don’t just happen. It takes work. It takes courage. It takes commitment. #tyomd @kublerRoss (tweetable)
It is not settling with discontentment. Instead, it is challenging our stories. Confronting our truths.
Most of who we know as the “greats”, across the board: creative, political, religious, you name it, have overcome tremendous adversity. And do so almost as if they’ve been fueled by their setbacks, charged by their failures.
So it is not to say that we should go looking for tragedy in our lives, or further complications, but we should look for the lessons because they are there, if we’re willing to look. I trust that everything has a reason, even grief, for we would never know true happiness without its opposite.
I’ve always been attracted to beautiful people, even though it took me many many years to recognize my own beauty. Perhaps this is why I’m stubbornly passionate about helping others discover theirs.
I leave you with this: If you don’t know Elisabeth Kubler Ross or her work, she’s def worth getting to know here. In the meantime, live more like you’re dying–’cause we are.