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a couple of years ago

What’s REALLY at the core of looking good

Today appearance is everything! You are judged on what you look like physically, what you wear, who you are seen with and if you are in business all of this is part of the brand that makes up your company image. All this focus on appearances can put women under enormous pressure. However if truth be told you can only really look good on the outside if you feel good on the inside.

In western society a lot of pressure is put on women by the media to look a certain way. Fashions change but whatever the dominant look is at the time, women are sold no end of potions, creams and body appliances in order to achieve that perfect look. With the ascendance of the youth culture, age seems to be a particular burden for women. Women become old, unattractive and invisible; men mature and are the elder statesmen.

The cosmetics industry has brainwashed women into believing that faces should be devoid of any form of lines in order to be attractive because young looking skin is the only attractive skin. Hats off to Dove for trying to break the mould in term of body types … but I’m yet to see them promoting wrinkles as sexy.

Indeed in order to maintain their profit levels (the anti aging industry is worth billion of pound annually) cosmetic companies are targeting younger and younger women and even girls! It is impossible not to grow older and given that this is the case, why should it be unacceptable or less attractive to display the signs of a natural process?

In business, like it or not impressions count – so learning to use your appearance to your best advantage could be the difference between making the sale or not. Consequently it is important that you feel good about yourself and this involves knowing how to strike the balance between looking good and being very comfortable in your own skin.

With such a strong emphasis on looking young, wouldn’t it be great to have the confidence to grow old gracefully knowing that you can create the impression you want to create – that of an attractive, confident, mature woman?

There is no shortage of information on the Internet about how to look good. Unfortunately most focuses on external appearances rather than what goes on in on the inside. When you feel good on the inside, it is reflected by your external beauty.

This idea was taken to its logical extreme in the film Shallow Hal; the film is about a guy who only wants to date the conventional attractive model like women until he is hypnotised and can only see inner beauty. Predictably (it’s not a very sophisticated plot) all the “beautiful” people are hideous on the inside and the less attractive women turn out to be the supermodels.

Even if men don’t start falling like flies just sprayed with insecticide at your feet, once you work on being attractive and confident on the inside you will notice a significant improvement in how you look on the outside.

Feeling good on the inside starts with challenging the limiting belief about who you think you are and how you believe others perceive you. So here are 5 ways to get you feeling good on the inside.

1) Change the tape. What story is running inside your head? Many people have negative stories running around inside their heads: condescending voices that constantly tell them they are wrong, they are nothing, they’re no good. However as someone once said don’t believe the liar inside your head! It’s just a story and since it is just a story why have a negative story when you can have a great story playing around inside your head instead? Tell yourself a fabulous story; one where you are the best you that you can be, where everything you plan to do is a wonderful success. Hearing all this great stuff about you will make you feel more confident and relaxed and this will be reflected in how you look.

2. Smile at everyone who meets your eye and keep smiling even if they don’t smile back. At first you may find this a bit uncomfortable. However, if you truly smile from your heart you will eventually notice that the number of smiles that come back your way far outnumbers the ones that don’t. To get you in the mood for smiling, try doing something nice for another person every day. Make it your aim to bring a smile to their face; it will put a smile into your heart.

3. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Look for things in life to be grateful for and to appreciate. Try practicing hourly gratitude – each hour, find at least one thing that happened in the last hour to be grateful for.

4. Honour your “feeling down” days. I have a close friend who is always trying to put a positive spin on everything that happens to her no matter how terrible it is. Whilst a positive outlook is a great thing to have, like anything if you take it to its extreme it ceases to be healthy. I remember one day when the umpteenth bad thing for the day had gone wrong for her and she was still trying to put on a smile when I said to her “actually it’s crap” and she burst into tears and had a really good cry and felt 100 times better. Sometimes it’s good to go with the flow and really be with what you’re feeling rather than trying to put a happy face on. If you allow yourself to fully embrace what you are feeling, you’ll be surprised how quickly it moves on. So when you’re having a really rubbish day, allow yourself to have the biggest hissy fit ever in the privacy of your own company. You will eventually end up laughing at your behaviour.

5. Put good things into your body. In other words, eat healthily and in moderation. The best diet advice I ever heard put it simply: variety is the spice of life; eat as many different coloured foods that you can and aim to eat them in their natural state, or as unprocessed as possible and it’s difficult to go wrong…

What do you do to feel good on the inside? Please share your thoughts: I look forward to reading them.

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Lilach Bullock