A man stands on the corner of busy intersection in my town. He has been standing there for at several weeks with this sign, “Stranded, Broke and Ugly.” As I sit back in the line waiting for the light to turn green, I watch people hand him money.

I wonder if people are giving him money because the sign he’s holding is funny or because they think he’s being honest?

strandedPerhaps he is getting money because on some level everyone can relate to the words on his sign. However, not everyone can relate to the sign the man on the opposite corner holds that reads, “Homeless and Hungry.”

Most of us have a place to live and more than enough food to eat, but a lot of us feel like we are stranded, broke and ugly. We have told ourselves this negative prophecy for enough years that we actually believe it.

The stranded feel alone in a sea of choices yet can’t choose. We feel stuck, spinning our wheels. Yes, we could make a choice, but how do we know for sure that it is the right choice?

This feeling of being stranded spills over into making decisions. Just as soon as we make a decision, we’re sure it’s the wrong one. It puts a halt to all forward movement.

We are emotionally paralyzed, incapable of moving a step in any direction. 

Broke is a state many believe. We have plenty of money, but none to spend. Everything is already spent on our many obligations, supposed needs and wants and now we are psychologically broke.

We can go out and buy a new big screen TV, yet we take no thought of managing our spending, no thought of emergency needs, much less lending a dollar to someone who truly is broke.

Those who feel broke are broke deep down in their spirit. They will stay broke no matter how much money is thrown at them. 

Grandma used to always say, “Beauty is skin deep, but ugly is to the bone.” Of course what she meant was the physical beauty is only skin deep, but if you are mean in personality, it goes all the way to the core of you.

The man holding the sign surely didn’t mean his personality was ugly. He was probably referring to his scruffy exterior.

Most of us feel ugly at some time. Even the most beautiful woman can look in the mirror and want a nose job or more voluptuous lips. That’s why high dollar cosmetic surgeons stay in business.

Feeling ugly certainly does spill over on to how we treat others. Pretty soon even the nicest looking person who projects ugly will begin to look ugly to those around them. 

Here’s the truth, we can use many negative adjectives about ourselves. We can even joke and call ourselves ugly just to get a chuckle and maybe an extra dollar or two from a passerby.

The man who holds a sign all day, every day for weeks, declaring he is “Stranded, Broke and Ugly” will fulfill his own prophesy if he hasn’t already. It is how he sees himself. He is a person without options.

What if he saw himself as Free, Prosperous and Beautiful? What if we all saw ourselves that way?

What if we really believed we were free to make our own choices?

No person or circumstance can dictate to us. We have a voice. Unless someone is holding us hostage, we are free to do something different.

What if we knew we were prosperous?

Perhaps we don’t have a lot of money, but we have our dreams, our souls and our spirits. We can give ourselves to the act of prosperity by being a beacon of positivity to someone else, as well as to ourselves.

What if we knew we were beautiful, not just skin deep but all the way to the bone?

What if we smiled when we knew another person needed it? What if our smile was the reason another person got up in the morning?

When I was a kid, there was a homeless man who sang, danced and played a guitar on a busy street near my city’s downtown area. He dressed up. He sang loud. He enjoyed his music. People gave him money but he never even stopped to acknowledge their gifts. He was just excited about being himself.

He made me happy every time I saw him.

He made me want to be like him, me a wealthy middle class kid riding by in a car and him, a homeless man standing on a street corner.

As I think about it today, am I more like the man who is Stranded, Broke and Ugly or I am more like the singing, dancing, guitar player?

Have I argued my own excuses so long they have become a self-fulfilled prophesy? Have you?

What if we replaced all our negative prophesies with positives? 

What if you and I began to believe something different about ourselves and began to project that to the world around us?

Don’t be Stranded, Broke and Ugly. Be Free, Prosperous and Beautiful. I double-dog dare you!

What would that mean to you and those near to you? What would it mean to every person you met?

Sweet-Grace-3D_200pxTeresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.