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7 Challenges of Being Enough After 60

By Joanie Marx May 01, 2024 Mindset

Throughout life, each of us faces challenges about feeling loved, happy, and fulfilled. Perhaps no challenge is more prevalent for those of us over 60 than the feeling of not being enough.

There are a host of reasons we may feel we are not enough as we age. When we feel our sense of worthiness dip, the emotions can be amplified by a dreaded feeling of isolation.

If you can relate, you are not alone.

In this article and the accompanying video, we will address seven of the most common challenges women over 60 face in feeling they are enough. This is the third part of our eight-part article and video series on “Being Enough After 60.”

Loneliness Is an Epidemic

In a startling 2023 report, the United States General Surgeon stated that, “…we are now finding that one in two adults report measurable levels of loneliness.”According to him and his office’s research, loneliness is linked to a variety of health concerns, not the least of which being that social isolation amongst aging adults brings upon advanced stages of depression and increases the risk of death by nearly 30 percent.

A team of esteemed physicians and researchers involved with this report concurred. For they too believe loneliness and isolation are an epidemic.

What does this have to do with not feeling you are enough?

It is widely believed loneliness is brought on by a number of factors, one of the most prominent being a disempowered state caused by disconnection.

When your sense of personal desires or even the love you have for yourself is diminished, so too is your willingness to connect with other people. There are many factors driving this, such as unhealed past trauma, cultural background, limiting beliefs, and one’s overall mental, physical, and emotional health.

Whatever the specific issues are for you, it is important to acknowledge that societal pressures, ageism, and the dynamics of how we were raised all play a role in women of our generation feeling inadequate.

7 Common Challenges

I’ve personally found myself questioning my worth throughout my life. So too have most of our generation at one time or another. The first step in overcoming any challenge of feeling you are not enough is to be aware of the challenge itself.

To help you in your journey to loving more of yourself, we are going to look at seven of the most common challenges women over 60 face in feeling they are enough:

Societal Expectations

Society often places unrealistic expectations on women, emphasizing youthfulness, beauty, and productivity. As you age, it is common to feel pressure to meet these standards, leading to feelings of inadequacy.

Ageism

Discrimination based on age is a significant challenge for women. You may face stereotypes and prejudice that devalue your worth, limit opportunities, or make you feel invisible. This can undermine your self-esteem and confidence.

Changes in Appearance

As we age, our bodies undergo natural changes. These changes can impact body image and self-esteem, particularly if society perpetuates narrow beauty standards. Feeling pressure to maintain a youthful appearance can lead to a sense of not being enough.

Transitions and Loss

Significant life transitions, such as retirement, empty nesting, or the loss of loved ones becomes more prevalent as we age. These changes can contribute to a sense of not being enough with intense feelings of loneliness, purposelessness, and even a loss of identity.

Comparison and Self-Judgment

An overly self-critical mindset, such as shaming yourself or diminishing your value through comparisons, can erode your self-worth, leaving you feeling unloved.

Internalized Expectations

Feeling we should have more money, be in better relationships, or should be doing more with our time, are examples of internal expectations that are often unreasonable and self-defeating.

Limited Representation in Media

Media and advertising often focus on younger demographics, creating a lack of representation for women over 60. This lack of visibility can contribute to feelings of isolation and marginalization, making it harder for you to feel that you are enough.

Challenge the Challenges

Being more aware of these challenges is essential in overcoming them. The key to addressing them, however, is to challenge their truth through self-love, self-reflection, and self-compassion.

This is about not allowing limiting beliefs and faulty premises that may have formed early on in your life to run amok in your present-day reality.

To help you overcome this, you will want to surround yourself with supportive people and communities that value, inspire, and uplift women over 60. A perfect example is the beautiful, empowering community of Sixty and Me.

Also, seeking professional guidance via therapy or support groups can provide a safe space to explore feelings of not being enough. As with any emotional challenge, the more you acknowledge your worthiness the easier it is to love all of you just as you are.

I invite you to join me in the video above where I will share additional insights into overcoming challenges of feeling you’re enough along with ten affirmations to help you integrate what you are learning.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you consider yourself to be enough? How did you get to that decision? How have you been embracing your worthiness? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Mikki

It seems to be more of a “first world” problem. The more “advanced” a society becomes, the more we seem to expect that life should be a certain way, rather than simply accepting it for what it is (as the Buddhist’s idea of “radical acceptance”). We’re constantly being told, or shown in media what we “should” be. I feel even more so for younger people, as I doubt it will be changing anytime soon.

Last edited 16 days ago by Mikki
JeanPaul

I’d add “otherism” when one is not a mother (not by choice). The worst offenders are other senior women with children and grandchildren. They seem to not have an ounce of empathy of how painful it is to endlessly hear of their families. Also, some unintelligent assumptions are made (that childlessness was a choice for one, when in reality cancer and other illnesses, infertility, lack of any support system or finances, etc etc.

For those of you with children and grandchildren, imagine our feelings on occasion. Thank you.

Anna

I’m totally with you, childless despite years of IVF etc, multiple broken relationships and of course cancer in there too. I doubt any positive affirmations will make a difference but it’s some comfort talking to other women who have unwillingly had to join this subgroup of otherism

Patricia A

Thank you for sharing these feelings. I understand and agree with you. I am a grandmother who avoids talking incessantly about my family as my eyes have glassed over hearing it from other seniors!

Judy

So sorry, childlessness would be a big burden to carry if it’s not by choice

Sylvia Bridges

I understand, I have one grandchild while my sister has none. I make sure that she is a huge part of his life. I know it can’t replace having one of her own but I can imagine how it would feel.

Diane

As a recently widowed 60+ woman this article speaks to me and several others I’m sure but I would add another element. Other than being kind to oneself, we need to challenge ageism. I had a perfect example of this just recently. A bank I deal with announced a successful merger with another. Their graphical representation of potential clients did not portray anyone over 40 and I let them known that I did not feel like I was going to be an integral part of their new ventures especially when they also mentioned a future alignment with less face time. There are many more examples I’m sure.

JeanPaul

It’s very backward thinking of companies to alienate the largest growing sector of society – seniors. I forgot the target date, but I think it is within a decade that seniors will outnumber children. Hard to imagine why any business would want to alienate such a large potential customer base.

Thank you for speaking up, Diane. The more we do it, the more likely change for the better.

Joyce Ramsay

I am 77 and on Monday, with the help of my broker and an Australian Bank, I finalised the sale of a block of land on which I will build a nice big shed and the house of my dreams – no downsizing for me! Since my husband left 3 years ago, I have re-invented my life including upgrading my credit score which allowed me to get the loan. It seems that Australian Banks (with the help of legislation which does not allow prejudice on the basis of age, colour, culture etc) are only interested in your capacity to repay, which is after all their reason for existence in the eyes of share-holders. What a shame that your bank has its head in the sand.

Debbie

Interesting conversation. I believe that our world has never accepted women as equal to men and that this is part of the problem. I do not value what a man thinks of me as I age. I know who I am, and I also know what I can and can’t do. I don’t need the media or others to enforce my abilities. Maybe, in the end, women are more fortunate than men because we have had to live with media and others judging us all of our lives. I would be interested in hearing about how men feel as they age. Perhaps we are not that far apart, and perhaps women are better able to handle it because it seems we have been at the center of media and age most of our lives.

Jacqulin

I retired early to take care of my Mom…well she passed and now I don’t feel I have a purpose! I worked 40 years…Yes, at the same place. But now I have no job and no mom to keep me occupied 😔

Pamela

I can empathize. Completely. Have you thought about adopting a cat or dog? I found that this was what gave me purpose in life. And was a win-win situation.

The Author

Joanie Marx is a three-time bestselling author and the creator of the new, groundbreaking Refocus & Renew Your Life® online course series on Udemy. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Psychology, and a leading authority on refocusing and renewing your life.

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