7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence in Your Golden Years
As an older woman, you have years of experience and wisdom. It would be wise to assume that you’d ooze self-confidence.
However, that isn’t always the case, especially in a world that is focused on youthful appearances. We say, “Screw that!”
After age 50, many women experience a plummeting in their confidence.
Although age often brings valuable wisdom and experience, older women often feel more ‘invisible’ in their golden years. They may believe they are unattractive or unworthy of attention. Others may simply feel as if society no longer cares about them.
All of this couldn’t be further from the truth, but sometimes we have a hard time remembering the true facts.
It is possible, however, to celebrate yourself as the sage goddess you are, if you follow the 7 steps below.
Find Your Community
It’s very easy to underestimate the power of a community when it comes to our own feelings of confidence. The right community can send your self-esteem soaring, while the wrong one can encourage that negative self-talk all the more.
Think about your current community and the extent to which it influences how you feel about your age, your body and your place in life. Which members definitively foster confidence in themselves and others? Who brings you down?
It may be worth quietly stepping away from relationships that leave you feeling less confident overall. Instead, surround yourself with people who make you feel valued for everything you are, and not set apart because of your age.
This may mean seeking out an entirely new community. It may mean finding a local women’s group or meetup.
Whatever the case, make sure that your current relationships are influencing your own self-confidence positively. Better yet, seek out those men and women who can nurture and encourage your self-esteem.
Challenge Limiting Self-Talk
Low self-esteem is often the result of limiting self-talk – that dialogue in our heads that consistently puts us down. This self-talk may appear when we look in the mirror, put on a new pair of pants or visit with friends.
Negative self-talk can, in many ways, be more impactful than insults or negative comments from friends and colleagues. This is because we are far more likely to believe our own thoughts than others’.
Start to notice when negative thoughts about your appearance or age surface. Pay attention to situations that trigger them. When they do surface, find ways to challenge each specific thought through logic or reasoning.
Self-talk: Nothing looks good on me.
Challenge: Maybe I don’t like the look of this blouse I have put on, but that doesn’t mean that everything looks bad!
Get in the habit of delivering these rebuttals every time a limiting thought arrives. The more you do this, the quieter that voice in your head becomes.
Try Self-Awareness Activities
Challenging self-talk often requires a certain level of self-awareness. In fact, self-awareness is one of your greatest weapons against low self-esteem.
Practice activities designed to increase your awareness of emotions, beliefs and thoughts. These include positive visualization exercises and meditation. Deep breathing can also be a great tool for effectively navigating limiting self-talk.
In fact, studies show that meditation can lower blood pressure, elevate mood and fight depression and anxiety! A daily meditation practice can be your key to building a positive (rather than negative) relationship with yourself and all that you have to offer the world.
Start your day with a self-awareness activity. Perform ‘check-ins’ throughout your day to see how well you are doing and what you are feeling. When you feel particularly low, grab a meditation cushion.
When we feel grateful, we also feel abundant. The sensation of gratitude is the sensation of having received something wonderful.
When we lack confidence, it can be so hard to overlook what we do have, because we tend to focus on what we believe we do not have.
Experiencing feelings of gratitude, however, can remind us easily of the riches within and without. Gratitude can even influence your neurology for the better, turning off your analytical brain and combating the effects of oxidative stress.
Start a daily or weekly gratitude practice. Spend a few minutes dwelling in your blessings. Write these down or meditate on them. Train your mind and heart to focus on fullness – rather than perceived lack.
Wear What Feels Good
So much of self-confidence has to do with how we look. This is particularly true for women, who have faced decades of being valued for appearance.
As women age, it is also common to feel less attractive. Weight gain or loss, wrinkles, changed mobility and adapting body shapes can make women feel less radiant than they truly are.
Boost confidence in how you look by wearing what makes you feel radiant. This may mean throwing on that pair of heels no matter what. Treat yourself to a new pair of earrings or cut your hair the way you’ve been wanting to cut it for years.
Clothes, accessories and makeup don’t hold all the keys to confidence. It’s important to build your self-esteem on a foundation within rather than without.
But feeling beautiful does involve how we move and see ourselves in the world. Strutting your stuff and feeling proud about how you look can give you the confidence boost you’re seeking daily.
Pursue a New Passion
Learning is a powerful activity. It can create new pathways in the brain, forging fresh memories and circuitry. It can also be your key to gaining confidence.
When learning something new, it’s easy to focus entirely on that new thing. We throw ourselves into that fresh passion, marvelling at how new everything feels and how steep the learning curve is.
New passions can be fun, and they can also shed light on other talents we might not be aware that we have!
If your confidence needs a boost, try something new. Start baking or take up sky-diving. Do something you’ve always been afraid of doing. Prove to yourself that you can learn something new and be good at it!
Make Every Day Feel Indulgent
The food of self-confidence is love. You deserve love every day, even when it feels absent.
Shower yourself with love daily, particularly when you feel most vulnerable, depressed and challenged. Do this by being ‘indulgent,’ our word for treating ourselves to something we want.
Treat yourself to something little every day. Eat chocolate. Go to that fancy restaurant. Book that trip abroad. Sleep in for a few more minutes. Let yourself love yourself.
How do you deal with negative self-talk and lack of confidence? What techniques do you use to raise your self-esteem? Which of them have helped you the most? Please share in the comments below.
Dr. Carissa Coulston is a clinical psychologist who specialises in the research and treatment of adult mental health problems including depression, mood swings, anxiety, worry, trauma, etc. She conducts therapy with individuals as well as couples to promote better mental health, relationships and quality of life.