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The 4 Steps to Overcoming Ugly Duckling Syndrome

The 4 Steps to Overcoming Ugly Duckling Syndrome

We’ve all felt like the Ugly Duckling at some point in our lives. We look around at everyone else, and we conclude that we’re worthless. Absolutely worthless.

But God didn’t create you or me, to feel like that. He didn’t create you and me to be the Ugly Duckling. No. He has a much better plan for our lives than that.

Much better.

Here’s a seven and a half-minute video of a real-life, Ugly Duckling story. With all my heart, I implore you to watch it. It’ll blow you away. Guaranteed! 


Gobsmacking wasn’t it? Go on, tell me you didn’t get a tear in your eye over that one. 

Why? Because we’ve all been that Ugly Duckling. You have. I have.

So here are the 4 Steps to overcoming … “Ugly Duckling Syndrome”.


1. When People Scorn You, Simply Don’t Believe Them

At last the large egg broke, and a young one crept forth crying, “Peep, peep.” It was very large and ugly … “Let him alone,” said the mother; “he is not doing any harm.”

“Yes, but he is so big and ugly,” said the spiteful duck “and therefore he must be turned out.”

“The others are very pretty children,” said the old duck, with the rag on her leg, “all but that one; I wish his mother could improve him a little.” …

And so they made themselves comfortable; but the poor duckling, who had crept out of his shell last of all, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and made fun of, not only by the ducks, but by all the poultry.

– Hans Christian Andersen


2.  Believe What God Says About You Instead

All too often, comparing ourselves with others, listening to the criticisms of others – is like looking at your image in one of those distorted mirrors we used to see down in the side-show alleys when we were kids. It doesn’t give us a true image of who we are.

What does God have to say about you? Simple really. It’s straight out of His Word.

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me,when none of them as yet existed.

How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end —I am still with you. (Psalm 139:13-18)


3.  Know that You Were Made with a Clear Purpose In Mind

God didn’t make a mistake when He made you. He exquisitely handcrafted you as a unique creation, wondrously beautiful in His sight. You are a one of a kind. So precious, that He would send Jesus to die that your sins may be forgiven, and to rise again that you may live a new life. That’s something He is not going to waste. You were definitely, definitely created with a magnificent purpose in mind. Handcrafted for that purpose.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works that God prepared beforehand for us to walk into. (Ephesians 2:10)

The Lord your God has put a special gift inside you, with which He plans to bless the rest of us. And He wants you to know that and believe that … today.


4. Discover that Purpose and Live it Out to the Full

We’ve each been made so differently. That’s why comparing ourselves to others is such a crazy thing to do.  There is something that you can do better than anybody else you know. There’s something you enjoy doing so much, but perhaps you’ve been squeezed into the world’s mould, and forced to be a duckling instead of a swan.

Even though you are … you always were … you were created to be … a swan.

All your life you’ve been dreaming a dream. It’s time to live it.

All your life there’s been a song in your heart. It’s time to sing it.

All your life, there’s been this special gift from God inside you. It’s time to use it. 

It’s time to be the you that God made you to be.


The Ugly Duckling Finally Discovers the Truth

But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan.

To be born in a duck’s nest in a farmyard is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg.

– Hans Christian Andersen



  1. Berni…you were so wrong about shedding a tear……I can’t stop the flood that’s pouring from my eyes….I work with abused women & their children & have seen how they have believed the lies of the perpetrator who tells them that they’re rubbish…….they end up looking like rubbish, but Hallelujah! I’ve seen the power of The Holy Spirit……at work, & that piece of rubbish is transformed into to quote mother Theresa, “something beautiful for God”!
    The flood is of one of gratitude & praise to God for His ‘Unspeakable Gift’, The Lord Jesus Christ!
    May He continue to pour out His divine favour over the work you do to ‘let His Kingdom come in the lives of men & women & boys & girls all over the globe!
    Jenni A

  2. Thanks so much for this Berni. What a privilege to know that no matter how many times the world has lied to us, the Word of God and His love remains constant…It’s the only Thing I can build my life on, and watch it being restored to its original intent. Thanks again!

  3. This is brilliant – ,just compliments what we’ve learnt in our recovery course(Search For Life by Allan Meyer) about how much the Father loves us. Is it possible to get permission to make this into a booklet to hand out to people? Thank you so much Daneile

  4. I love how you put words together Bernie, to get your point across. The clip made it even more powerful. Thank you for your Ministry

  5. Oh this way so ment for me, especialy after someone just told me i was a bird with a broken wing.
    Thank you for putting this up, i LOVED IT ! and i will NOW walk with Gods healing of my wing into the future He has for me.
    God bless your work. Janelle

  6. WoW !!!!! That was amazing. I have been bullied and disliked by people who think i should be something i am not. The real me is loving,fragile,loyal,funny and at times and (apparently this is the worst part) loud. I have been “beaten” to the point of a breakdown but with Gods help I am climbing back up and will hopefully have the strength to be the person that my heavenly father created me to be. This message could not have come at a better time .. Thank you

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