Susan Ortolano, M.A., CMRC, PCC
Intuitive Life & Relationship Coach

Finding Beauty…

bigstockphoto_Colors_Of_Love_2457177Size-wise, I was never really a “twig” but always maintained a thin frame, worked out and ate consciously. I was not what our culture considered ‘gorgeous’, but was considered attractive to many people. I have always loved using make up and even though I have unusual (actually more like possessed) hair, I always tried to do my best with it.

 One of the things that happened to me with the illness was I put on close to 30 lbs. of swelling and inflammation and had a red rash over part of my face. It was hard to find clothing that was loose, attractive and comfortable, and even more challenging to find shoes. The worst of it for me was the fact that I had little control. Here I had all of this extra weight on me and I hadn’t even earned it!! If I had eaten my way to the weight gain, I could deal with that, but having it have nothing to do with my food intake and no way to control it, I just had to work with the feelings that came up and learn to deal with what I saw in my own reflection. Although I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband who finds me beautiful at any size, I was having trouble seeing it myself.

 Being ill is just not quite an obvious pathway to feeling beautiful and sexy. There were so many moments of frustration, tears and sadness when I felt I had lost my “time” to look youthful, shiny and attractive. Aging was also setting in and I felt I had missed out on some of my physical “prime” way too soon as I was in my 30s when the illness began.

 With no control of the situation, I had a couple of options. I could be miserable about it (and there were days when I actually chose that route) or I could work on letting go of what I learned through our cultural programming and learn to see the beauty in the reflection staring back at me.

 Here are some questions I would ask myself:

What do I see when I look in the mirror?

What thoughts and feelings come up around that?

Could I let go of those thoughts and feelings? (that sometimes take a while)

What about my reflection do I like and appreciate today? (even if it’s just a little bit)

What beauty can I see when I look in my eyes?

 After a while, I began to see beauty beyond the physical body. We all have it and when we look deep enough, we can see it, feel it and own it. It’s an inner beauty, a spiritual beauty and one that emanates through the soul. I was stunned by that discovery and have learned to look deeper, especially on days where my physical look isn’t what I hope for. I now can enjoy carrying it with me knowing it is always there.

 I’m grateful I can look beyond the “sagging, bagging and dragging” and learn to see the beauty that is ever present and never changes. When we can really see our own beauty, we can see it in other places as well.

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