A slim young girl in a bikini looks into the mirror and sees an overweight, unhappy reflection looking back. Photorealistic 3D rendered image isolated against a white background

I was recently asked by my eight year old, ‘’mummy what makes a lady beautiful’, and as I began to explain that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and ages. I realized that I was failing to tell her about inner beauty. Indeed, I believe that a positive attitude makes a woman beautiful whatever age she is.

My thoughts are that a woman can spend thousands on Botox, designer dresses and wear the whole of the Dior cosmetics counter, but if she is not comfortable in her body and has a negative attitude to life she will not appear radiant.  As a landmark Birthday approaches I can say that when I look back at some modeling shots that I did in my teens and early twenties, that there is nothing quite like the first flushes of youth, but today I know I am much more at ease being me and that I am confident in the belief that every line and imperfection is part of who I am. I am a happy person and if I have laughter lines they are part of what makes me the person I am today.

A positive attitude is what counts and what makes a woman beautiful at any age.  As Coco Chanel said, ‘’after 40 nobody is young, but one can be irresistible at any age’’.  Though, I do accept that positive thinking is not s easy to master as it sounds. Our life is made of habits and being negative can be a pretty addictive one. It can be easy to adopt negative thoughts and feelings without even realizing. Indeed the importance of an optimistic attitude is often overlooked. Buddha once said: “We are what we think,” and if you bear this in mind when considering negative and positive thinking you suddenly start to place great importance on the choice of positive thinking and adoption of an optimistic attitude.

When I visited the Tao Garden Resort last year I listened to two inspirational teachers, one was Jutta Kellenberger who wrote a book entitled ‘’Outer Radiance, Inner Smile’’, she teaches the importance of positive mental attitudes and purging negative thoughts. She has written many books on the subject and advocates practicing inner smile meditation. Jutta explains that during this meditation ‘’you begin by tuning into your heart and the positive virtues of love, joy, happiness and gratefulness. You multiply these feelings in your heart while smiling down into your organ. From there, you move forward in the meditation by sending this loving, smiling energy to each of your four other organs and you tune into each organ and the associated positive virtues’’.

Mal Weeraratne and his assistant Kate Ellena also gave workshops and talks at Tao Gardens and Mal explained that, ‘’ It is essential to fill your mind and body with positive thoughts and feelings if you are to live a healthy, happy and abundant life. Throughout our existence we are subject to adding layer after layer of negative believes conditioning, and emotions as a result of physical and psychological abuse.   The body harbors these negative emotions and traumas as a result of not dealing and releasing them as and when they occur, this leads to blockages in our body’s energy system that results in body armoring. In the jungle, animals are subject to more traumas every moment, but animals are not subject to blockages and remain healthy with no depression, obesity, cancer etc. Dr. Peter Levine has conducted a thirty five-year study of stress and trauma and suggests that humans can learn a lot about processing and handling trauma by analyzing the animal kingdom.’’ He continued to explain that in his work called:Tantric Journey’, ‘’ I help the individual to clear these blockages and subsequently improve the quality of their life and free themselves of symptoms and discomfort; find their direction through tuning themselves to what their inner needs are and find freedom from negative patterns through clearance and balance.’’


I think that women in particular are very good at being self-critical, but men are by no means immune to putting themselves down. How often have you stood in front of a mirror and found yourself criticising the reflection that stares back at you?  I certainly know I’ve been guilty of it.  Negative body comments are all too common in our media obsessed society:

‘I hate my thighs.’
‘My bum is too big’
‘My breasts are too big or too small’
‘My hair is too thick, too thin, the wrong colour, texture etc., ‘
‘My face is filled with wrinkles’
‘I look old.’
‘I am ugly.’
‘My legs are too short’
‘I am fat.’

‘I am shapeless’
‘My legs are lacking tone’
‘My legs are full of cellulite.’
‘My lips are too small or too big’’

‘My eyes are ‘ I look tired, old, haggered, etc., etc.


You may recognize yourself as having made some of these statements or similar ones in the past, or perhaps, you stand in front of the mirror and see the story of your life on display. It may go something like this – my flabby belly is the reason I am still single or in an unhappy relationship, the dark circles under my eyes show that I am overworked and underpaid, my unkempt hair is a reflection of the lack of time I get for me, my large thighs reveal that I was unloved as a child and found comfort in food, my un-toned body shows how little time or care my body receives,  the wrinkles on my face are really lines of anger and frustration, my double chin tells that I suppress my feelings instead of expressing them.


Or maybe you avoid the mirror, choosing not to see your reflection because you are afraid you will be left feeling disappointed. Or, simply feel your physical self does not matter and adopt the attitude that no one else looks at me anyway.


The reasons for avoiding, negating or rejecting the self goes on and on, and for many this destructive internal dialogue can go on all day, everyday, twenty four seven.  All it does is plague, consume and destroy your confidence and self worth.


Energetically, self sabotage is a very  consumptive, harsh, abusive, attacking energy that belittles one’s spirit and in turn creates a vacuum that attracts other people to treat you the same way.  And so, the cycle of rejecting and negating continues.  For some this cycle becomes totally out of control, and the relationship to food and the body gets so distorted that bulimia, anorexia and body dysmorphia develops, for others socializing or even venturing out to work becomes a challenge.  Negative attracts negative and so negative relationships and situations are drawn to you like a magnet.  It is very important to realize that, your inner beauty must become your outer radiance.


I think that before any of us think of going under the surgeons scalpel or injecting botox we should clear the toxic thoughts and negative emotions. The best lesson for teaching our sons and daughters to appreciate and recognize their own, individual beauty is to encourage them to be kind to themselves and their body image and this is best done by example.


In order to achieve this, the toxic thoughts and negative emotions must go!  Negative body talk equals the paralysis of your radiance and stops you from seeing or connecting with your inner beauty.  Under the strain of criticisms, insecurities and destructive thoughts you lose your sparkle, and you can feel trapped in a negative cycle.


So, this February give yourself the best self love gift ever, weed out all the negative beliefs you have about yourself, including the one’s subconsciously given to you by your family, friends, partners and the media.  Then tend to your unique beauty, supporting it to blossoming with kind words and let your inner beauty and confidence radiate.



About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog, www.serenitykitchen.com