The true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. Audrey Hepburn

Pampering was not even in the vocabulary of this small-town country girl.

My mother had all of about two make-up essentials: a light foundation that came out for church, Monday Club or special occasions; and lipstick, which she rarely wore. “Spas” were not invented yet. And if they were, we certainly didn’t know about them. And my one attempt at turning myself into a beautifully, poised young lady was a day at “charm school”.

It took me two months to talk my parents into it and I lasted exactly one day.

From the time I was a little girl, I longed to be a “raving beauty” (that was phrase coined by my dad when referring to mom or any other exotic movie star of the time.) I wasn’t one. I was awkward, self-conscious, and a little gawky with bad hair and braces that were promised for a year but stayed on endlessly during my teen years. I swear they were a conspiracy between my parents and orthodontist to keep me safe from adolescent boys. No worries there.

I grew out of them and eventually grew into myself.

As women in a culture that idolizes the attributes of youth – supple flawless skin; sleek, lean, perfectly shaped bodies; long silky hair – growing older presents some major challenges. How do we sustain our “beauty” as the years mount up? What is beauty anyway?

What I have come to realize is that beauty has nothing to do with age.

It is like a tiny seed that starts deep within and grows as we develop our personal strength and confidence. Our greatest beauty is exposed when we finally throw off the self-conscious, doubt-filled desire to “fit in” or “belong”, and come to know and love ourselves exactly as we are. That is when our beauty radiates. We become naturally, elegantly timeless.

“Pampering” is about understanding that self-care comes first before we can truly give to others.

As we’re always told: put on your oxygen mask first and then help the person sitting next to you. Pampering means honoring your value enough to invest in and care for yourself. It’s about developing consistent, healthy life rituals that serve body, mind and soul without even a hint of guilt or a feeling that you are not deserving.