Beauty and the Beast of Insecurity

Portia de Rossi

As a naive high schooler, I was in awe of pretty girls. I thought they were pretty much perfect creatures who could get lovestruck boys to satisfy their every whim just by batting their eyelashes. Did I mention I was naive? With a capital N?

As I grew older, I realized that good looks, like lots of money or superior intellectual or athletic ability, are no guarantee of happiness and offer no protection from psychological and emotional challenges. Indeed, those who seem to be “the chosen ones” often view their supposed advantages as more curse than blessing.

Case in point: Portia de Rossi—who now goes by her married name, Portia DeGeneres, in private life—an actress whom I, as a red-blooded American male, can only describe as smoking hot. Yet she is Exhibit A in the argument that Gorgeous does not equal Happy. In her new book, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, she comes clean about her lifelong eating disorders, sexuality issues and self-loathing. An excerpt:

When it’s quiet in my head like this, that’s when the voice doesn’t need to tell me how pathetic I am. I know it in the deepest part of me. When it’s quiet like this, that’s when I truly hate myself.

I felt a deep sadness when reading that. Portia de Rossi always struck me as being exceptionally smart, funny and beautiful: the perfect trifecta. Yet the admiration of millions is meaningless to someone who doesn’t admire herself.

How many of us have thought, I’d be happy if only I could have her looks, his money or her smarts? The truth is, expecting to find happiness in external conditions is like expecting to grasp a sparkling jewel by reaching into the mirror that reflects it. Besides, odds are that you’re already happier and healthier psychologically and emotionally than the “lucky few” you envy.

Perhaps it’s time to stop wishing you were more like somebody else and celebrate the gifts that are yours and yours alone. The only obstacle between you and happiness is the belief that there is an obstacle between you and happiness.

Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
Henry van Dyke


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

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SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

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2 Responses to “Beauty and the Beast of Insecurity”

  1. mamastemama Says:

    I just attended a lecture by author Dr. Brene Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection) and I wrote this down in my notes: “What those who have a sense of love and belonging possess that those who are looking for love and belonging don’t have is a belief that they are worthy of love and belonging.” Counter to love and belonging is fear and shame. Our sense of worth is the key, not any physical, mental, or material asset. I believe there is deep truth here, echoed in your blog.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Well said, Lori. I wrote about this very subject in a recent post:

    The crux of it is this: By affirming your inherent worth and accepting God’s blessings, you honor your divine heritage and claim what has been promised to you since the dawn of time.

    “All you have been waiting for is your own permission.”
    Emmanuel (Pat Rodegast)

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