Wednesday, 21 November 2012

An NLP Trick To Build Your Inner Beauty Confidence

Change your thoughts with a simple, yet effective NLP technique (see below)

We are always looking at ourselves and question our facial imperfections: Why is my nose shaped in such a way? Why are my eyes not in equilibrium? Should I have fuller lips? Is my face shape attractive? Each day turns into a long string of rhetorical questions, which, leave us questioning whether we score high on the beauty scale.

Building the confidence around our physical looks is challenging because we're tapping into sensitive areas. Just like a sensitive tooth biting into the ice cubes and ice cream, some of us find it hard to accept our "physical flaws" that can be intensely painful when people question a birthmark, a missing limb, a broken nose or, according to them, the "wrong face shape". It's the harsh comments and sometimes the imaginary voices ones that make us shrink from accepting ourselves: You've got to continuously remind yourself: YOU ARE UNIQUE. Yes, I know you're going to turn around and say easier said than done, right? I believe it can be executed (with patience) because it all boils down to the image in your mind's eye. You see, if you perceive yourself as worthless, ugly and not worthy of attention, then your thoughts will attract people who'll reflect that belief in you. But, the beauty about the mind is any idea or thought can be changed at our will. So, shall we take the 1st step to a beautiful and confident you?

Here's an NLP technique tip I suggest you try:  Imagine yourself as you are in your mind's eye. Rehearse the mental image of yourself as perfect, whole and lovable - make that image strong, colourful and believe in it. Each time a negative thought or idea pops in, imagine the mouse cursor dragging the image and placing it at the far right hand corner, continuously reducing the size. Try keeping the focus through relaxing meditaiton music and deep breathing.

Take this time to learn about your inner beauty - what makes you a beautiful person. Our imagination can be our friend or our enemy, the choice is ours. Begin step by step to piecing yourself together....

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

How To Help Your Teenager Daughter Feel Beautiful

Prolific Writer: Agnes Jimenez

The world of teenagers can be harsh especially when it comes to being beautiful. There will be times when your daughter comes home saying: "Mum, I'm not as beautiful as Clarissa/Jane/Britney; I wish I had her hair and flawless skin. All the boys fancy her because she's beautiful". Understandably, for any mother, they must think how can this child believe she's not beautiful? Unfortunately, this is the start of girls questioning themselves whether they're worth attention or even considered beautiful by society.

This week's post looks at how parents can encourage their child to feel better about themselves and was kindly provided by Agnes Jimenez, a professional blogger and writer. She writes for many online establishments and currently partners with in spreading awareness about troubled and depressed teenagers. You can follow her on Twitter @empressofdrac

There are many things that upset children and teenagers. For girls, as they grow up, they become focused on their looks. It seems like everywhere is telling your daughter to wear makeup, dress like an adult and be a size 0. It is extremely worrying for parents and affects a girl's self-esteem in many ways. Here are some tips on how to help your daughter with worries about her looks.

Let Her Know You Are There
The first step in helping your daughter is to let her know that you are there. The worst thing that you can do is pressure her into talking to you or demanding that she let you know the problem. You also need to avoid walking away from her when she does want to talk or telling her that it is now or never. These will just make her bottle everything up and feel worse about herself.
 When looking at how to help your troubled daughter, let them constantly know that you are there to listen when she is ready to talk. Let her do it in her own time but know that you will not judge her for her thoughts and feelings. Knowing that you are there and being reminded of that will help them build the courage to talk and build trust.  
Tell Her She Is Pretty
Hearing compliments helps with building self-confidence so tell your daughter that she is pretty on a regular basis. This is especially the case when your daughter is not wearing any makeup or has not brushed her hair. Do this while she is on the way to school every morning; she may not appreciate it at first or may not know how to handle the compliment, but it will stick in her subconscious after time.
 Moms could opt for a girl's day out. A great option is to go for a spa treatment, such as massages, manicures and relaxing treatments. These will help to give you the chance to spend time together and will offer a safe environment for your daughter to open up to you.
 Listen to What She Is Not Saying
Some girls will be subtle in talking about their problems so you will need to listen to words that she is not saying. Younger girls may use imaginary friends and older girls will say the problem is one of another friend at school as a way to tell you something that is happening. Listen to everything that they are saying and never judge. It is likely that they are after advice while testing if they can trust you not to judge.
 You may find that your daughter asks hypothetical questions to find out how you will react. Answer these questions with an open mind and be aware that this is often a test. Daughters play these tricks as a way to make sure you were honest when you said that you would not judge. It also helps to avoid embarrassment when they are talking about their worries or troubles.
 Listen to Her Dreams and Wants
You need to help build your daughter's self-esteem in other ways to help her feel better about the way she looks. Take the time to listen to what she wants to do with her life and the aspirations she has. They may be completely different to your wants for her but it is important to support her. Some girls dream of being a ballerina so support her in that but offer advice along the way. This will help her to have a backup plan but know that you will always be there if something does go wrong. She will be more willing to turn to you with an issue.
 Helping your daughter is all about offering her support. You need to help build her confidence in herself so that she is not relying onthe media and magazines to tell her. She needs to be comfortable in her own skin and the way that she looks so that others accept her for who she is.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Guest Post: A Teenage Girl's Journey to Discovering Inner Beauty

Victoria Shockley The Self-Motivated Writer:

When Victoria Shockley, Assistant Editor at Women Writers Women Books reached her teenage years, she was faced with the chafing challenge of accepting her physical self. From her awkward moments at school, battling with her brittle self-esteem and experiencing the frustation of teenage acne, Victoria finally shed her uncomfortable cocoon and emerged into an ambitious, self-motivated writer. Her honest account is an insight into the difficulties every teenage girl faces.

The teenage years can sometimes be the most difficult to handle, especially if you’re a girl. Appearance becomes very important and for most girls, their self-esteem suffers immensely: This was certainly the case for me.

I entered my teenage years in pretty bad shape when it came to beauty. I wore braces for over two years, and hated them so much that I covered my mouth whenever I laughed. At one point, I lost a baby tooth, but the adult tooth hadn’t come in yet, so I had braces plus a hole right in the front of my mouth. I was mortified whenever I saw a picture of myself. For years, I suffered from acne, and no matter what creams I applied or how many times a day I washed my face, I still walked around with all of those unsightly red bumps. Being a Florida native, the heat and humidity didn’t help!

Most days, I felt like my face should be covered up wherever I went. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until I was 15, so there was no opportunity to hide any of it. Even after I reached that age and began applying cover-up and foundation, it would clog my pores and sometimes make my face look worse than it did before.

I was also tall for my age, hitting 5’7” by the time I was 14 years old. Although I appreciate my height now, back then it was embarrassing to be taller than everyone I knew, even the boys. I could never wear shoes with any kind of heel, and I endured a number of different, insulting nicknames in school (“giraffe” was the most popular). As is common with height, I have bigger-than-average feet, so shoe-shopping with the girls
was always embarrassing. They would be buying their petite, cute sandals and heels in size 7 or 8 (I even had a friend who could fit into children’s shoes!), while I would be browsing the limited selection of the size 10 aisle.

Because of the importance that is placed on girls’ appearance and their attractiveness, my self-esteem suffered greatly during these years. I was shy and quiet, and I dreaded getting up in front of the class for presentations. I would spend hours trying to decide what to wear and how to do my hair, although I usually never discovered an outfit or dress that convinced me I was pretty. If people complimented my looks outright, I either laughed it off or over-analyzed why and how they could see me that way.

Looking back now, there isn’t one specific moment where I suddenly realized that outer beauty didn’t matter as much as I thought it did. It was a gradual process, but eventually I began to accept myself for how I look, and it became clear that what kind of person you are is more important than how you look on the outside. I started ignoring the insults, and instead, I listened to the compliments:

You’re so sweet and funny – I love talking to you! I can talk to you for hours.
I’m so glad I met you. You made a difference in my life.
You’re one of the most caring people I know.

Today, I still wear makeup, and I still care about what clothes I choose in the morning - but its not all that’s important. What really matters is how I act and what kind of person I am, whether I stand up for what I believe in and take into consideration whether I treat others the way I want to be treated  and be a good friend to those who are good friends to me. When you show people you’re beautiful on the inside, they’ll stand by you even if you have an unsightly pimple one day, or your hair won’t cooperate, or you have no sense of fashion. Who you are on the inside is what really matters. That’s what makes you beautiful.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Meet The Women Who Want To Make Your Beautiful - Part 4 Caitlin Boyle: The Editor

Pen is mightier than the sword: The Editor Caitlin Boyle

Welcome to Inner Bellissima's hunt for maverns whose mission is to end women's negative self-talk through the mediums of coaching, healing, writing and hypnotherapy amongst several. We finally caught up with the Caitlin Boyle, Editor of whose successful note-writing campaign has fuelled the flames of positivity and encouragement amongst women across the world. Notes have been flying in from all over the world, sparking the torch of inner beauty talk: in turn, this sparked off a guide book for teenagers to combat their way through tough decisions and challenges.

In this interview, Caitlin speaks about the mission behind Operation Beautiful, why we need to stop beating ourselves up and how thinking of the most beautiful person in the world can make you feel that way.

What is OperationBeautiful about? 

The site started in June 2009 and I've received over 7,000 notes from all over the world since it started, including notes from Asia, Europe, and Africa.  Operation Beautiful involves posting random notes in public places for other people to find.  These notes typically encourage a positive body image or outlook and include phrases like "You are beautiful inside and out" or "Scales measure weight, not worth." I was inspired to start Operation Beautiful after having a really bad day at work; I wanted to do something small and simple for someone else to make me feel better! 

The Operation Beautiful book is called Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note at a Time.  It was published in August 2010 by Gotham Books and was featured in Glamour, Fitness, Women's Day, FIRST, and on The Today Show.  The book includes 125 amazing notes and stories, as well as tips on how to lead a happier and healthier life.  The book is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders.  The next book will be for tweens and teens and will be released in Summer 2012!  It will be called Operation Beautiful: For Best Friends and is now available for pre-order.

What makes you want to inspire women to uncover their beauty?

There is a lot of negative messaging in our society.  The biggest mistake we make is beating ourselves up for not looking like models or celebrities.   It's time we stop emulating or striving for a type of perfection that doesn't even exist in the real world.  It's OK to look like a human!

Do you think we can think ourselves beautiful?

 I do.  Think of the most beautiful person you know... it is probably your mom or grandma or best friend, and they are beautiful not because of what they look like but what they do.

What does inner beauty mean to you?

It's about honoring yourself and honoring others.

Can you tell us about your journey on finding your beauty?

My journey has been about realizing that the standard our society holds us up to - not just for looks but for personality and achievements too - is almost impossible to reach. Real people aren't perfect, and that's okay.

What do you think are the main hurdles women face when dealing with accepting their beauty?

I think it's important to realize our self worth is not determine by what we look like or even by how other people treat us.  True worth comes from within.

In your opinion, how can we begin to help women have a healthier image of themselves? 

These is a lot of negative messaging in our society, and the issues start young - did you know the average girl goes on her first diet when she's 8 years old?  The biggest mistake we make is beating ourselves up for not looking like models or celebrities.   It's time we stop emulating or striving for a type of perfection that doesn't even exist in the real world.  

Join in on the fun of posting your unique message at:

Friday, 27 July 2012

Meet The Women Who Want To Make Your Beautiful - Part 3 Colleen Sonmor: The Soul Coach

Joyous in love: The Soul Coach Colleen Sonmor

Inner Bellissima would like to welcome you to Part 3 of the feature series of the women who want to unleash the true beauty within you. If you've just dropped in, then please let me enlighten you on the mission we're on. In the past couple of weeks, I've presented Claire Benson the hypnotherapist and Mona Bhattacharya the healer, both of whom are on a mission to help women stand proud and confident in their own skin. I must say, the response has been wonderful so far and it's beautiful to see professional women harness their skills (and power) to help us fellow women to uncover our true beauty.

This week, I would like to welcome Colleen Sonmor, The Soul Coach. With 25 years experience in the health and beauty field, Colleen has a flair in bringing out a woman's outer beauty. However, her talents continue to flourish: her compassionate and genuine heart-felt concern for her clients has led her down the road of coaching women. Whilst working with her clients, she not only was their stylist, but their confidant too. These women were in desperate need of healing. Read on to find out how Colleen conquered her inner, brutal struggle which she triumphantly conquered, why listening to our bodies is the cue to better health and why we women have to be kinder to ourselves.

What is your programme service about?

My service/programme offers pschosomatic therapy which is about body/mind connection and the practical ways to integrate it. I teach the clients to listen to their body because it always tells the truth. We may lie to ourselves but the body cuts through denial and gives us messages when we are willing to listen. Many people wait till they are very sick or have a major crisis before they wake up or decide to listen (which is okay too but that is not the best way).  We do have choices to change our lifestlye.  I also offer soul coaching which is a way to clear away the inner clutter and find our truth.  Both are ways to discover our truth and beauty.

What makes you want to inspire women to uncover their beauty?

What makes me want to inspire women to uncover their beauty is primarily because of my own journey of being very hard on myself and thinking that I was not good enough or could not do enough or simply be enough.  I thought that I had to be more, do more and have more in order to have value and worth to participate in life. Now that I have discovered my inner beauty and true value and worth, I see what a difference it makes in my life and living: I am passionate about sharing and empowering others with my experience, strength and hope, so that they will be able to learn how to take all of the pressure off of themselves to experience their truths, passion and love themselves and their lives.

Do you think we can think ourselves beautiful?

I absolutely think that we can think ourselves beautiful. Our words have more power than we know. I am learning to understand the energy behind the words and the feeling they invoke and that they are very powerful.  I personally take time every day to tell myself many positive, beautiful things about myself.  It is extremely uplifting and I can feel my beauty radiating outwards.  Also the feedback that I receive from people about how good I look, etc. is the feedback that lets me know that it works. Every word that we use influences and affects each atom and cell in our body. There are scientific studies done on this.  So, why not try it yourself and see the effects. I am more beautiful everyday, inside and out!

What does inner beauty mean to you?

Inner beauty is what is inside me; the inner landscape, which includes my thoughts, feelinngs and my very essence; my Soul.  It is my spirituality and my life force.  I am love and feeling that and understanding that is my inner beauty.  It has nothing to do with the outer appearance, but it does influence it because of the radiance you will emit when you plug into all of the love and inner beauty that you truly are.  It lights you up in a way that no make up, face lift or any other cosmetic surgery ever could.  Your truth is your inner beauty as well as your passions.  Tapping into your nonphysical energy is the beginning and end of your inner beauty.  LOVE is inner beauty.

Can you tell us about your journey on finding your beauty?

For much of my life people would tell me that I was pretty, good looking and sexy. I did not believe any of it.  I would think that they wanted something from me or that they needed glasses. Other statements people would say are "Thankyou for being you", and many positive compliments in regards to my Inner Being.  I did not believe any of it. I had a secret and that was as I mentioned before that I was not good enough.  I hated myself.  I was usually on a diet and exercise program so that I would look better so that I could find the love of my life and then I would feel better.  I was on a mission to feel better, but did not have the words at the time.  I developed alcholism, drug addiction, eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia, and plain old compulsive overeating) and cutting myself (to release the pain and punish myself). I was messed up. It also manifested in moving from relationship to relationship for many different reasons. I was looking for someone and something outside  of myself to make me feel good, in the simplest terms. 

My healing journey and finding my inner beauty began when I made some decisions to get help for my addictions.  So bit by bit and step by step I began to learn about spirituality and what I was truly about. It has been a journey that has been for most of my life. I began when I was in my 20's and I am now 55.  I have been in the beauty industry and healing industry for all of my career and now I want to focus on the inner beauty because I have seen many women struggling over the years.  I have found ways to heal and overcome many of these issues and I want to share all my knowledge and make a difference in the world.  Everytime I share or do one little thing to reach out or move beyond my comfort zone,  I am making a difference. I am very aware of this and it moves me gently and lovingly forward with beauty and grace.  No more "I have to" out of guilt, worry or not being good enough.  I am motivated by love, pure and simple.

What do you think are the main hurdles women face when dealing with accepting their beauty?

I think the main hurdles women face when dealing with accepting their beauty are the media and fear of change.  When we can learn to find our own beauty and not buy into what the media is feeding us, then we will be able to move forward.  The fear of change keeps us locked into where we are and hiding who we really are keeps us safe, or so we may think.  There are so many subtle things that hold us back. Another major hurdle that hold women back is the time factor.  They think that they have to put everyone else first.  It is a belief system that goes deep and is hard to lift ourselves out of.  Even when it is pointed out that when you are flying you are required to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can help or do anything for anyone else,  women still cannot see it. We need to wake up to that. 

In your opinion, how can we begin to help women have a healthier image of themselves? 

In my opinion we can begin to help women have a healthier image of themselves by simply not buying into what the media is presenting and to begin to notice themselves and teach them to take time and appreciate who they are, inside and outside.  I teach women to look in the mirror, directly into their eyes and see what is there and to say:  I love you.  I also teach them to keep it simple and to look for one thing that they like about themselves and to focus and build on that. Anyone can find one thing that they like and appreciate about themselves! This is how to begin.  

Quit whining about yourself and your life and find one thing that you like And then go from there. Gratitude and appreciation and then forgiveness and starting over when you forget.  You are learning a new way to think and it is a process.  Do not give up on yourself, because you are beautiful! You are here for a reason and have a purpose.  One day at a time, just begin to learn to love you.

Find out how Colleen can blitz those nagging insecurities through her Soul Coaching programme on: 

Monday, 16 July 2012

Meet The Women Who Want To Make You Beautiful Part 2: The Healer Mona Bhattacharya

Glowing Goddess: Mona Bhattacharya

Welcome back to Part 2 of our special feature. This week Inner Bellissima presents spiritual healer, Mona Bhattacharya from Haiwaii. She is a powerful healer who has helped thousands of people return to their true selves through self-empowerment DNA activation. Although a lot of spiritual rewiring takes place, Mona promises to uncover the true beauty (amongst other potentials) lying dormant within you. In this interview, Mona speaks of why its pointless to convince a woman she's beautiful (instead she shows you the proper way), why its important to be called a Goddess, and what techniques can blast your ugly beliefs once and for all!

1) What is your programme about?

I work with the body in order to understand its reaction in relationship wth our consciousness. l see the body as the shrine holding the light of the consciousness because there are certain frequencies which we are made up of. There are different glands and organs vibrating on a certain level. So far example, around the head area and the pineal gland we are dealing with the thought process. As we go further down we are dealing with emotions, and as we go even further down we are dealing with the sexuality. My strength is I transcend most of the mental jargon and I go straight into the body and tune into how the physical body is resonating. For example, if I feel/see someone is not feeling beautiful, I will start helping them shift this belief by using special codes. Every belief holds a vibration, so for example, if you think you're not beautiful, somwehere within your body you are holding this belief. Maybe when you were a child you looked at a magazine and you compared yourself to these images, all the while thinking "I don't look like that so perhaps I'm not beautiful". It could be a simple passing thought like this that is now stored somewhere in the body, perhaps in the lower, sexual parts. I take the client back to where they can change their false paradigms.

2) What makes you want to inspire women to uncover their beauty?

Every woman wants to feel beautiful, loved, confident and like a goddess. I figured out that there is mechanism within us, which is activated when you follow you life purpose. I realised the more a woman follows the path she is meant to be on, the feelings of beauty and confidence will automatically come. When I am in tune with my vibrational powers, I strengthen the love and beauty within myself and this makes me want to empower others.  When I come across women who show me their insecurities, I can guide them to healing, because ultimately I want to create an army of goddesses who love their body and themselves.

3) Do you think we can think ourselves beautiful?

There is a way to do it: Thinking of yourself beautiful, if its not done right, can lead to what I call a pendulum effect; you wil force your mind with thoughts you don't resonate with. If you keep forcing yourself with thoughts that you are beautiful, then you wil go through a false sense of upliftment, which will then subside and you will recoil and then swing to feelings of ugliness. You are only convincing yourself mentally but not energetically. This feeling of beauty needs to be activated on an a vibrational level. You have to go back to square one, stripping yourself of all your false beauty beliefs, to think yourself unbeautiful and then begin the journey forward to your true beauty.

4) What does inner beauty mean to you?

Beauty means structural integrity, which means the way things are shaped and formed. When you start becoming yourself, the cells in your body return to its true structural form, which support your true life passion and as a result your body begins to vibrate beauty.

5) Can you tell us about your journey on finding your beauty?

At one point I was 170 pounds in weight. From a very young age, I knew I had a spiritual power and could control my body. I became over confident and let myself go in a year to see what I would experience. I wanted to see what it would be like just to eat whatever I wanted: I ate comfort foods which were damaging my vibrational levels: as a result my energy levels were plummeting. I began then reversing  all of this damage I was doing to my body and here I am telling you my story!

6) What do you think are the main hurdles women face when dealing with accepting their beauty?

The thing they face is the fear of failure and ironically relinquishing things like comfort foods. Returning to your natural state means you have to let go of certain belief systems, which have kept you comfortable, but miserable for so long. It's almost as if the insecurity becomes the security. Their is always something deeper that women have to face, like "I'm not worthy" or "I'm not loved" and "I don't deserve certain things": You have to face them to become your natural, graceful self. You have to accept your shadow to come out on the other side.

I also believe, one of the wars fought against beauty is through the food system. I find it's difficult to find natural, good food these days.

7) In your opinion, how can we begin to help women have a healthier image of themselves?

As uncomfortable as it may sound, I tell women they are a goddess. There's a tremendous power connecting to that paradigm; it has an impact on the subconscious mind. I think calling a woman by her true name is a subtle way of empowering her. What we could also do, is let women face their insecurities. For instance, if a woman is feeling fat or unattractive, other women will come along saying: "Oh no, you look great!". What happens is you falsely convince that person, who will not really resonate true feelings of beauty. You are going to go through moments of not feeling beautiful, it's cyclical but its best she processes her paradigms and feelings. Life is not about waking up and feeling like a super goddess; it's something you begin to develop on your journey. I also feel its important to encourage women to have fun life attitude, so that not all their focus is on their image.

Fancy chatting with Mona and her team? Then follow this link for a free session

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Meet The Women Who Want To Make You Beautiful - Part 1 The Hypnotherapist: Claire Benson

                                                       Smiling pretty: Hypnotherapist Claire Benson

Welcome to Part 1 of  Meet The Women Who Want To Make You Beautiful. InnerBellissima is on the hunt for women who are actioning change against false beauty beliefs woman tend to harbour. Each week I'll be bringing you free links, downloads and offers from these professional women who want to turn you into the beautiful woman you deserve to be in this world.

Our first lady of the week is Claire Benson The Hypnotherapist: her Hypnogogo programmes (available on iTunes) centres around blasting false paradigms when it comes to weight, fertility, confidence and abundance. But, it was her Hypnogoslow: Release Your Inner Beauty ( that caught out attention here at InnerBellissima. In this interview, Claire speaks about her journey to finding her true beauty, gives advice on how you can think yourself beautiful and the hurdles we women face on our journey to becoming the beauty we truly are.

What is your programme about?

As a hypnotherapist I work with clients to improve their confidence in a way that's bespoke to them and help them on their own personal journey. This is particularly important when dealing with confidence, self-worth and self-belief issues as no two people are the same. Often problems are grounded in childhood and it's important to respect, heal, as well as encourage positive change that's right for the individual.

I run a six-session weight-reduction programme that helps and supports women while they change their eating and exercise habits as well as dealing with any underlying issues that may have led to them gaining weight. This programme encourages women to start loving and respecting their body, treating it as if it were a good friend rather than an enemy. And while feeling good on the inside makes you beautiful on the outside I also believe that looking good on the outside can make you feel good on the inside too. 

What makes you want to inspire women to uncover their beauty?

I love the idea of world full of self-assured, confident, strong women, don't you? When you inspire these qualities in women not only do they become more beautiful so does the world in which we live.

Do you think we can think ourselves beautiful?

Yes, I believe that our thoughts create our realities - that whatever shows on the outside of you - your habits, your values, your beliefs and the way you look - all started off as thoughts.  I love this quote from the Buddha, it sums it up perfectly:

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words for they become action.  Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. Watch your character for it becomes your destiny."

What does inner beauty mean to you?

Inner beauty is about confidence, self-belief and self-love. It's also about happiness and feeling good - think about how you glow when you are happy and feel good it's as though your energy vibrates at a totally different frequency.

Tell us about your journey on finding your beauty

My inner beauty (aka confidence) has become stronger and more powerful as I've got older. I believe in myself now in a way that I didn't as a younger woman. I take plenty of time to look after myself physically, emotionally and spiritually because I think I deserve to be looked after. I think you do too!

What do you think are the main hurdles women face when dealing with
accepting their beauty?

I think in English culture we have a strange perception of what beauty means and this isn't helpful. We aren't particularly supportive of strong and confident women.  We portray female role models in a very odd way, worshipping celebrities over and above intelligence & intelligent contributors who are women just don't feature enough in our media.  

As for how women look: I believe we don't like our women in a public office to look their best, as if slovenly dressing demonstrates that you're better at your job (it doesn't, note how fantastic Christine Lagarde always looks).  And yet if you don't dress your best you are vilified too. I think this puts women in a no-win situation and that's a massive cultural hurdle.

In your opinion, how can we begin to help women have a healthier
image of themselves?

Firstly by encouraging women to accept and love themselves as they are. Then from this startpoint of love and acceptance consider what personal journey each woman would like to follow (if they choose to). They might want to get better at doing a particular skill, learn something new, grow their confidence, find love, be a better parent, get fitter, be happier or whatever.  This personal growth could be physical, emotional or spiritual.

I believe that we are all lifelong learners and that learning stuff is a great way to build confidence.  I myself have just started playing the bass guitar. I might look like an aging rocker, but it makes me feel more beautiful! I think having a sense of humour is important too, because smiling and laughter is always beautiful.

You can learn more about Claire Benson and her latest programmes at