February 19, 2013

Beautiful You

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 now.

You ARE beautiful. 

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 beauty?

My guess is that if you grew up abused, you do not.

So let me tell you again.

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 see.

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.

Check 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 intimacy. 

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.

Learn more at www.misacoach.com.


  1. Thank u so much for that beautiful piece of writing about how beautiful we all are. My mom and I were JUST talking about this very topic yesterday. When I was a little boy I was what u might have heard called, "husky"...the kids just called me fat, among other things...but once I hit 12-13 I started growing taller and actually was quite skinny all through high school and college...but when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was that same chunky, husky fat kid...it's crazy the tricks that your mind can play on you when you perceive yourself one way,,even though the opposite might be the truth...it took years before I finally accepted myself...but it can happen for anyone if they simply heed your wise words...we are all beautiful...thank you!

  2. Thanks so much for your comment Dave. Great story and words of encouragement!

  3. You are so right, Dave. We often miss the truth, even when it is right in front of us because we are blinded by the false beliefs that get planted in our hearts. It is important to become aware of what those beliefs are that hold us back from receiving our healing. As we bring them out into the open and acknowledge them, we can choose to embrace our wounded parts and we suddenly have new options to think new thoughts that lead to new actions. Thanks for your insightful comments!

  4. This is so true, Misa. I think I can say without exception that every female client I work with thinks less of herself than she should, and has lost sight of her own beauty and preciousness. I remember when I first started retraining myself through mirror work, mindfulness, and reclaiming and championing the inner child. There was a strong sense of "guilt" that it is "wrong" to have any positive thoughts toward myself at all. It took a long time to overcome. I see that same resistence in my clients when I encourage them to say and think good things toward themselves. It can be an uphill battle but that hard-won freedom can never be taken away!

    Each one of us is both beautiful and precious. Thanks so much for sharing this important message!



  5. I also reposted on facebook and blogspot! Blessings!

  6. Thank you, Sondra, for your comments. If we come to see ourselves clearly, for all the beauty and brokeness that cohabitate within us, and embrace all that we are without judgment or rejection, we are well on our way to healing. Thanks for the work that you do with people and keep on that healing journey of your own, too!


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