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Beauty From The Inside Out
by Michele Benza

As that old adage reminds us “Beauty is only skin deep.” We can make ourselves very attractive with clothing and accessories but true beauty comes from within. How many times have you seen someone who is not conventionally attractive but yet is perceived as beautiful because he or she radiates a sense of well-being and an inner knowing of their self-worth and purpose in the world? They are completely at ease with themselves and the world.

It is vitally important that we take as good care of ourselves within as we do without. It is of course much easier to enhance our beauty externally than to really develop aspects of ourselves within that make us feel comfortable in our skin and accept our perceived physical flaws. Many of us have internal gremlins that are hell bent on eroding our confidence and self-esteem. We can counter those critical gremlins by learning to accept ourselves as we are--large hips and all! Of course it is important that we try to modify negative behavior patterns and take action to improve our physical well-being in any way we can. But always be realistic. Some of us simply don’t have a Julia Roberts smile. But a smile is a smile is a smile and can lift your spirits and those of others around you.

There are so many simple things you can do to improve your inner well-being. There are myriads of books and articles with great advice on how to achieve this but here are some of my quick and easy pointers:

• Breathe! Learn some simple breathing techniques that are calming and centering.

• Avoid negative thinking and people!

• Take time out to truly relax whether it is just being quiet listening to music or taking a stroll alone or with someone you love.

• Turn the lights low or light candles when you eat, take a long bath or shower.

• Choose a physical activity that resonates with your body whether it be Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, hip-hop, pole, swing or ballroom dancing, roller blading or simply walking. Make time for whatever it is regularly. Once you develop the habit, you’ll find your body demands that you keep it!

• Meditate. If sitting still for any length of time is challenging, try an activity like Tai Chi that incorporates meditation with movement.

• Find ways to create harmony in your mind and in your life through a mind-body practice.

• Be grateful each day for whatever it is that is good in your life whether it be health, loving family and friends, a roof over your head, a comfy bed, a delicious meal, a beautiful sunny day.

• Be optimistic against all odds.

• Live in the moment.

Remember we all have the capacity to be beautiful, no matter our physical appearance.

A la prochaine! So long!

Michele

About the author:

Michele Benza is a professional personal image coach. She is certified by Image and Style Management. She is also a member of AICI, and the only American member of the Association Francaise Pour L’Image Personelle et Professionelle. In addition to her advice columns, she manages a private image consulting firm in San Francisco with a worldwide clientele. For more information see her Web site at http://www.michelebenza.com/.