ENCOURAGING-  Kelly Falardeau

ENCOURAGING- Kelly Falardeau

Burn victim helps others find the beauty within

Kelly Falardeau speaks to local group of women about self-esteem

Many times Kelly Falardeau was approached by people who said they had the ‘magic’ in a bottle that would make her scars disappear and then she would be beautiful.

An accident when she was two-years-old caused Falardeau to suffer severe burns on 75% of her body. She was standing near a fire when a spark flew up and landed on her dress, catching it on fire. After spending three months in the hospital, she had to undergo years of painful surgeries to treat the burns. As a child, she was teased and struggled to find her self-esteem.

Now at 45, Falardeau is a very different person. She is confident, she has a vibrant personality and she has a zest for life. She has made it her mission to speak to women about having confidence, self-esteem and about loving themselves.

Falardeau was in Red Deer yesterday speaking at an eWomenNetwork Networking luncheon.

“Over the years people have asked me what my secrets are and I’ve heard some say that they wouldn’t be able to go out in public if they looked like I do,” she said. “I’ve also had so many people tell me that they can make the scars disappear with creams or other things and make me beautiful. I knew my self-esteem would come from my heart and soul.”

In her new book Self Esteem Doesn’t Come in a Bottle, Falardeau shares her secrets to her self-esteem and how everyone can use her secrets.

She believes that there is a lot of internal work to be done when developing self-esteem.

“It’s about learning how to stop calling yourself names, loving the little parts of you, rejecting other people’s opinions, learning how to laugh at yourself, having empowering people in your life, realizing that even the weeds are beautiful and ultimately celebrating your little successes are just a few of the many ways you can develop a healthy self esteem,” she said. “People don’t give themselves permission to feel great.”

Accepting that her purpose in life was to share her message didn’t come easy at first and after her friends and family made many attempts to convince her, it took Falardeau believing in herself to begin public speaking.

“I have always been a speaker but I never thought I had a story that people would want to hear. My scars have never been an issue as far as my family is concerned and they weren’t going to hide me in our house because of them. Quitting was never an option,” she said. “I want to be the kind of speaker that people could relate to and it took me a long time to realize that I did have a story to share. These scars are my gift and I’m going to use them.”

Falardeau’s ultimate dream is to travel around the world, spreading her message and speaking to various groups of people.

“I get so many people asking me how to feel beautiful like I do, how to feel greater than great. It’s really about letting go of perfection. It’s amazing because more people think we’re beautiful than we do,” she said. “I get so many emails from women who are stuck on one thing they don’t love about themselves and it stops them from achieving what they want. I have the most imperfect body out there – I have scars all over my body, I have crooked arms and fingers but I love who I am and I think I am beautiful.”

The message of true beauty and self-esteem shone through when Falardeau was named the winner of the People’s Choice Award at the Fashion Has No Borders Every Woman Model Search competition in Canada. She made it into the Top 10 from among 1,500 contestants.

Along with winning the People’s Choice Award, she also won the Fierce Woman of the Year award from the Mom Magazine.

“Everyone has something to celebrate and it’s about living your life to the fullest.”