Resources, personal stories, communication techniques, and strategies for survivors of sexual abuse who are ready to break free from the past and return to their genuine self.
February 19, 2013
I am so pleased to introduce you today to guest blogger, Misa Leonessa Garavaglia. Misa and I have known each other for a couple of years, and she continues to be a mentor and inspiration for me. I know she will do the same for you! -- Beautiful. That is you.
Imperfect. And beautiful.
Is your nose bigger
than you might like? Your ears stick out
a little further than a model’s? Maybe
your calves are sturdy and muscular instead of the thin shape you’d like to
see. There are things we’d all like to
change about our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. Because we don’t live up to our particular
vision of perfection, we often swing to the opposite end of the pendulum and
reject ourselves. We are not what we
wish we were so we are not enough. If
only we were more patient, more creative, smarter, and ten pounds lighter—THEN
we would be beautiful.
Stop that right
How do I know? Because I believe that EVERYONE is beautiful.
Every single one of us. And that includes you. And the more of the authentic you that you
become, the more your beauty will shine.
Confucius says that
everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
Do you see your own
My guess is that if
you grew up abused, you do not.
So let me tell you
You are beautiful!
You see, we are all
born with innate beauty. Sometimes
things happen to us that cause us to paint layers over our beauty. Sometimes many layers. And those layers keep others from seeing the
real person inside. Maybe they keep us
from seeing our true selves too.
Do you remember the
picture of the darling girl on her third birthday? Or the cute little boy on his tricycle? When you look at those pictures, I’ll bet you
see a beautiful child. That was
you. If you have children of your own,
I’ll bet that you think they are beautiful, too. For good reason. They are!
You have just lost
sight of your own beauty.
The reason we see
beauty so easily in a child is that most children are so comfortable in their
own skin. They are who they are and it
just leaks out of them. Young children
don’t know how to hide their unique little selves.
As we grow older,
we cover our sweet beauty with layers of self-protection, especially if we were
abused. Our openness is hidden by
skepticism. Our vulnerability covered up
with control. Our playfulness turns to
perfectionism and our honesty becomes a carefully managed image. But our beautiful, authentic selves are still
there. They are just a bit harder to
As a coach and
spiritual director, it is my passion to uncover all the beauty in my
clients. For many, they haven’t had more
than a glimpse of it every now and then for many years, even decades. I am blessed to get to spend my time doing little
treasure hunts. Every client that walks
through my door (or meets me through Skype or by phone) comes with some
disappointment, broken dreams, and some degree of self-rejection. They have lost sight of their beauty. It is the best job in the world to help them
find it again! The transformation that
takes place as they discover it is astounding.
Fearful turns into courageous and sadness becomes joy. They begin to step out and take appropriate
risks. They learn from their failures
and celebrate their successes.
I know well the
journey. I have lived it. I suffered great rejection as a child, teen,
and young adult. I took on the self
concept that my abusers communicated to me and continued the pattern through
rejecting my own wounded places. Only as
I have been able to embrace those parts of me with love and patience have I
been able to rediscover my beauty and live from it.
The wonderful news
is that you can find your beauty, too, and grace the world with the glory of
your authentic self. Really, you can!
In my next blog I
will share with you about that process of embracing your wounded parts in order
to live out of the beauty that is hidden within you. In the meantime, try an experiment. Look into the mirror and say, “I love
you.” It will probably be hard the first
few times, but it will get easier, I promise.
in next week for the second part of Misa’s story.
Misa Leonessa is a life coach and
spiritual director specializing in trauma recovery, relationships,
communication and spiritual growth. She has walked the path from
surviving to thriving herself, and has a passion to help people heal from
childhood abuse. She loves to work with individuals who are committed to
pursuing greater relational, emotional and spiritual wholeness. She
created Living from the Heart, a 9 month course and group coaching experience to help people grow deep, authentic
Misa is the host of Beyond Abuse Radio where she shares the wisdom gleaned from
her own journey of three decades of healing, as well as interviewing other survivors,
helpers, and experts in trauma recovery, providing support and encouragement
for those on their healing journey. She facilitates workshops and
conferences for people ready to break patterns of fear and self-protection to
find their new inheritance of life, love and joy.
Misa has BA’s in Sociology and
Non-Profit Administration from University of the Pacific, is a graduate from
Life Skills International and holds a certificate from Mercy Center’s Spiritual
Director Institute in Burlingame, California. She a member of Spiritual
Directors International. She also volunteers for the Survivor’s
Healing Center of Santa Cruz and is a TEDX speaker trainer.