We are constantly peppered with messages about getting older. A lot of those messages perpetuate the same myth: that we diminish with age.
You can see that myth repeated in TV ads and Hollywood shows - as you get older, you become less beautiful, less vibrant, less important. This myth makes some companies a lot of money.
All those companies pushing “anti-aging” cosmetics, hair dyes that “hide your grays”, or special surgeries to erase those pesky face wrinkles---they all profit from our feelings of insecurity about getting older.
These feelings are based in ageism—the idea that being older is less valuable than being younger; that younger people are more alive, more beautiful, sexier, and more interesting than older people.
Have you ever noticed this in your life? Maybe you've seen a movie where an older person was described as "not what they used to be". You might have even recognized when someone said something ageist to you directly like, “Wow! You don’t look (insert your age here)---you look great!”
Those situations are easy to recognize. But it’s a lot trickier to notice when we commit ageism against ourselves -- it's also a lot more dangerous. We’ve absorbed these messages from the media and advertisers for years—we often accept those ageist verdicts and it changes how we feel about ourselves every day.
But we can change this.
We can catch ourselves, in the moment, when we’re being ageist toward ourselves—we can change the way we talk to ourselves.
And when we change the way we talk to ourselves, we change the way we feel. When we feel better we act better, we carry ourselves better, we even appear healthier to others. We become more confident, more magnetic, more comfortable in our own skin - which makes us more attractive.
"Low self-confidence isn't a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and master, just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better "
Here is one way I’ve learned to stop being ageist against myself---to treat myself in a way that’s in alignment with my own philosophy, instead of the messages I’ve absorbed from outside.
I don't get it right every time, but I’ve found myself feeling so much happier—more vital, more beautiful, more confident when I practice this method.I bet you will too.
Pay attention to your thoughts when you look in the mirror.
We greet ourselves in the mirror every morning. What do you do when you see your reflection and you notice a sunspot or a new crow’s foot line? Do you say to yourself, “Ugh, that’s bad; that’s no good”?
Do you immediately start thinking about what you’re going to do to fix it? I know I’ve done that—plenty.
But what would happen if you saw that new little smile line in the mirror one morning and you said to yourself, “Wow! Look at that—you can see what my eyes do when I laugh!” Or “I definitely earned that one.”
Practice saying positive things to yourself even if you don’t believe it yet. It can be tough to push back against messages we’ve spent decades absorbing. Say it out loud so your ears can hear your thoughts - you'll be surprised by the difference it makes.
None of us are going to just magically be able to look at a new wrinkle and go, “Wow! Sexy!” But every time we repeat something positive to ourselves, we reinforce it. We build a healthy habit of admiring and respecting our bodies in spite of all the negative messages.
So if you keep repeating, Ugh, a wrinkle; ack, my skin’s a little more crinkly; yuck, I don’t like those new grays, you’re going to reinforce the idea that those things about yourself are bad, that you should feel anxious and insecure about them.
But if you practice talking to yourself differently—saying wow, look at that beautiful, elegant line—whether or not you actually believe it yet—you start giving yourself a different message.
Keep reinforcing that new message. In time, you’ll find you start to feel more confident in yourself.