Thursday, May 26, 2005

Feeling beautiful

Here's another from Dear Abby:

Ugly Duckling Syndrome

And I think her answer makes good common sense, but I wish I could add more to it. There are deeper issues that, if resolved, can help a person feel beautiful.

I know, because I too as a child was an ugly duckling. You know, the kid who no one would play with? Who was considered odd? Skinny? Did nothing athletic? The few friends I did have and I constituted the "cast out" group at my grade school.

Later, as I began to develop a figure and a smile, I still never could shake the feeling that I was substandard. When the prettier girl got the guy, I figured that was only fair -- she deserved to be happy, I didn't. When a guy did give me some attention, I figured he was doing me a favor so I reciprocated obsessively until he tired of me. Even when I looked in the mirror and saw something pleasant looking back at me, I figured it was a fluke.

Years passed, and I went through the typical bad relationships, up-and-down weight loss, extreme self-hatred. Then there came a time when I was living in Los Angeles, of all places, the land of "everyone looks perfect." And there are some very very beautiful people there, walking the streets with us mere mortals every day. In my own contrarian way, I decided to differentiate myself.

I stopped coloring my hair, and let all my gray show. I stopped wearing makeup. I stopped wearing revealing clothes. For about three years, I stripped away all the disguises I'd been using, and tried to show only myself.

And I discovered something. I am beautiful.

When I couldn't rely on my externals to communicate my beauty, I had to turn to internals. I think of internals as spiritual qualities. These qualities are linked to our Creator, Spirit. Qualities like love, patience, caring, listening, fun, joy, creativity, peace. Since these are spiritual qualities, each one of us has access to them wherever and whoever we are.

And what was fun to realize is that no one has any more or less of them. I had been thinking of myself as not having enough beauty, as being deprived somehow. But when I began to express those spiritual qualities, beauty became natural and effortless. I don't think you can help being beautiful when you're being loving, or when you're at peace. When you're having fun or expressing creativity.

This does touch on what Dear Abby said, "Stop obsessing about yourself." I could see then that worrying about my external appearance and how it rated compared to others was a form of self-obsession. Expressing spiritual qualities was self-less, because it's about expressing Soul (another word for God).

Check this out:

The recipe for beauty is to have less illusion and more Soul, to retreat from the belief of pain or pleasure in the body into the unchanging calm and glorious freedom of spiritual harmony. (Science and Health)

"Less illusion and more Soul." What a great recipe.

I knew I was making progress when one day, while I was sitting at a park overlooking the ocean and reading, a man approached me and just appreciated how at peace and pretty I looked. I really felt like one of the beautiful people then.

These days, relocated to New England, I'm back to coloring my hair and wearing makeup. But that's not what makes me feel beautiful. The smile on someone's else's face shining back at me gives me the glow of beauty, and I feel blessed.

You are beautiful, too. So are all the people around you. See spiritually, and the world becomes a place of beauty.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 8/19/2005 07:52:00 PM, Blogger books said...

This was awesome. Soul truly is beauty at its best.

At 9/24/2005 02:28:00 AM, Blogger ENS said...

What a beautiful post. Very enlightening. Thank you for your comments and thank you for giving me the address to this post, it was a blessing to read. You have a wonderful blog.

God bless!


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