Losing Your Voice in Your 50s… and Getting it Back in Your 60s
Here I sit, all dressed up and nowhere to go! I was going to Positano, which, for those of you interested, is a bus ride from Salerno to Amalfi and then another bus ride or a ferry to Positano. It even sounds wonderful!
However, none of this is to be, because of my somewhat uncommunicative landlady, who forgot to say Ciao as she left the apartment.
The point here is that, even in a country where you don’t speak the language, there has to be some form of communication. Unfortunately, as we reach our 50s, communicating seems to be a problem. Why is this? It can’t be because we have less to say!
What I do know is that, in our 60s, it’s time to get our voices back.
What Stops Us from Communicating
The culprit may well be low self-esteem, which, for many of us, is almost congenital. Many of us come from long lines of women who suffered from the same problem.
As we reach a certain age, this tendency becomes stronger and harder to deal with. Is it our age that turns us into little mice and makes us act like we’re invisible?
Of course, there are many women who do not go through their 50s feeling like the Invisible Woman. But, there are plenty of us who do. So, before we put on our Hats of Judgement, let’s all feel a little sympathy for those who have low self-esteem!
Few things are as debilitating, depressing and devastating as feeling invisible. And, of course, feeling invisible does little for our self-esteem. It’s a negative spiral, if ever I saw one.
Thank goodness this invisibility cloak usually disappears as we reach our 60s! As I realized when I turned 66 (yes, it took that long!), and wrote this blog post on my birthday. Does it resonate with you?
Exploring the Difference Between Self-esteem and Self-confidence
It’s important to remember that these are two different things.
Self-confidence is a belief in one’s abilities, whether justified or not.
Self-esteem is confidence in one’s own worth and value. It is self-respect.
While many women present themselves as supremely self-confident, they may well have low self-esteem. The two don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand and, in order to improve our self-esteem, we need to take stock of our lives… honestly!
There is No Short-cut to Self-Awareness
Taking stock is a process. It takes time and requires constant effort. Along the way, it’s good to acknowledge what we have achieved and congratulate ourselves when we succeed.
This is not something most of us are prone to do… in fact, we often reach 50 without ever having admitted to our own brilliance!
Here are a few suggestions to help you build your self-esteem and, ultimately, get the life that you deserve.
Turn Taking Stock Into a Ritual
Keep a journal and record the things that happen during the week that are meaningful to you. The events and thoughts that you record don’t have to be meaningful to anyone else.
In fact, if you don’t already have one, starting a Gratitude Journal is a powerful idea. It will help you to reverse your thought patterns and be grateful for what you have.
Make a List of Your Achievements
Start to make a list of all of the achievements in your life from the past 10, 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years.
Be honest and don’t listen to your negative brain chatter. Inside, is a nasty little mind gnome who may say things like, “You’ve done nothing”, “You haven’t achieved anything” or “You haven’t accomplished what your best friend (or sister, mother, classmates, friends or cat) have accomplished.”
Your nasty inner voice may even say things like, “You’re a waste of space.” “You’re dumb,” “You’re fat,” or “You’re ugly.”
When your negative side asks you, “How can you possibly have lived this long without accomplishing anything?” answer “I couldn’t have! There are things that I have accomplished. Important things. I just need to learn to recognize them.”
This is not an overnight task and that’s ok. How many years do you have to catch up on?
Don’t wait any longer. Start to analyze who and what you are. Sooner or later, you will realize that you are than you think. You just need to learn to say no to low self-esteem, which can control your life.
It seems strange that we have to reach a certain age before we start building the bridge that will finally stop our poor self-esteem from controlling our lives. It seems even stranger that, at 60 and beyond, we are all such different ages. Read my blog and you’ll understand what I mean.
The greatest – and most important – relationship that you will ever have is with ourselves. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to realize this until we reach a certain age. Well, now is the time. We are out of excuses. We can choose to be our own greatest friend or our worst enemy.
So start taking stock today!
Do you keep a journal and, if you do, has it made a difference in your life? Did you become an Invisible Woman when you turned 50? Did you start to become visible again when you hit 60? Please join the conversation.