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How to Overcome 10 Challenges to Loving More of Yourself

By Joanie Marx February 02, 2024 Mindset

Love is in the air. From movies, articles, gifts, and restaurants to our own thoughts, everywhere we turn in the month of February, we are reminded of love.

For many people over 60, however, Valentine’s Day is a painful reminder of love lost or a yearning for love that seems frustratingly elusive.

With so much of the media’s focus on finding love outside of ourselves, the idea of turning our attention inward and re-discovering where true love resides within us can feel uncomfortable. 

In the first of a three-part series on “Loving More of Yourself After 60,” we are exploring 10 common self-love challenges women face in loving more of themselves after 60. Becoming aware of these challenges is the first and most important step in overcoming them.

The Fear of Love

Out of the melting pot of humanity’s unique and shared experiences with love arises a fear of love. From the belief that you will be let down, betrayed, or rejected this fear is a breeding ground for distrust of your own inner love.

Fueling this fear are stories we tell ourselves about what self-love is and what it isn’t.

For example, there is a long-standing belief that self-care is selfish and self-love is narcissistic. In addition to this are deep seated feelings of unworthiness of not only other people’s love but the feeling that you are not even worthy of your own inner love.

You Are Worthy of Love

To reconcile the gap between wanting love and not fully trusting it, you will want to acknowledge true love is your natural, default state of existence.

You are inherently a loving being at your core. This means you are irresistibly drawn to give and receive love unconditionally.

In a world full of outside distractions, many of which are rooted in outdated, fear-driven stories about love, how do you begin loving who you truly are after 60?

Become more consciously aware of what is getting in the way of loving yourself.

10 Obstacles to Loving Yourself

There are numerous challenges that get in the way of loving more of yourself. When you are aware of them, you are less prone to feelings of unworthiness because you can consciously spot the self-love challenges and more easily dissolve their effects.

Here are 10 of the most common challenges women over 60 face to loving more of themselves:

Media and Societal Influences

As women over 60, we have endured a lifetime of media portrayals of unrealistic beauty standards. This has influenced many of us to unconsciously internalize these messages, leading to self-comparison, body dissatisfaction, and a diminished sense of self-worth.

Self-Criticism and Negative Self-Talk

On some level, we all struggle with self-critical thoughts and negative self-talk. Spotting this type of inner dialogue is essential to interrupting limiting beliefs and dissolving false stories about self-love.  

Unhealed Trauma

From childhood trauma and abusive relationships to past failures, unhealed trauma impacts your ability to love yourself. Left unhealed, these experiences can create deep emotional wounds and a distorted self-image.

Cultural and Societal Expectations

Societal expectations around gender roles, career achievements, or familial responsibilities can create pressure and conflict within you. Without healthy boundaries and balancing these expectations, practicing self-love can be challenging.

Life Transitions and Changes

Life transitions, such as retirement, loss of loved ones, or world affairs can present huge challenges to self-love. These roadblocks can distort your self-perception, making it difficult to cultivate self-love.

Health-Related Concerns

Age-related health issues or chronic illnesses can negatively affect your self-esteem. Beliefs in your physical limitations or changes in appearance can make it even harder to appreciate and love yourself.

Perfectionism and Fear of Failure

Women of our generation have faced societal pressure to excel in various areas of life, leading to perfectionism and fear of failure. Striving for unattainable standards can sabotage your worthiness for self-acceptance and self-love.

People Pleasing

Women often prioritize the needs of others over their own, neglecting self-care. The absence of time and energy dedicated to self-nurturing and self-compassion can impede the development of self-love.

Internalized Sexism

This is an unconscious acceptance of sexist attitudes and beliefs about women. These ingrained biases, which have unconsciously formed over many years, can influence your self-perception, creating more challenges to loving yourself fully.

Lack of Support and Validation

Many women over 60 struggle to receive validation and support from family, friends, workplace, or social circles. Without inner affirmation and self-encouragement, it becomes harder to foster self-love.

Because You’re Worth It

Once you are aware of these challenges, you can more joyfully take steps to balance daily practices of self-love with other responsibilities.

Seeking support from loved ones, professional therapy, joining support groups, practicing daily self-care routines, and actively challenging limiting beliefs about love can contribute to fostering more self-love and self-acceptance.

At first, all of this may be challenging. Remind yourself that the reason you are taking time to love yourself is because you are worth it.

I invite you to join me in the video where I will share journal prompts, action items and 10 affirmations to help you integrate what you are learning.


Let’s Have a Conversation:

What challenges do you face in loving yourself? What steps have you taken to overcome them?

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Joanie, yours are the articles here I read the most often. Thank you for sharing your insights, knowledge, and experiences so articulately and for giving us practical tools to work through the exercises of our lives.

Joanie Marx

Wow, thank you so much. I am happy that my insights and tools are helping you. Keep up making progress and may my future articles continue giving inspiration and help.
My best,
Joanie Marx


Towards the end of my marriage, I began to hate myself. I separated and moved to a different region. I joined two support groups — one in person and one online. By sharing openly with others I found hope and healing and a deep appreciation for who I am.


For many of us over 60, marriage came with so many unreasonable expectations. Then there was the role playing even for those of us who thought we were pretty independent. We don’t know how to love ourselves; we seemed to muddle through loving others.

When I was in my mid 40s I looked at my life and saw that I allowed others to treat me poorly – especially my mother. When I finally tried to talk to her she cut me off. Actually, I am writing a book about my relationship with her when she was living. I went through lots of changes during those power years. Glad I did.

I think I do a good job of loving myself. I don’t think I do a good job of letting others in, though.

Jeannie Fennell

For a long time I have really worked on loving myself more… and one of the ways I do that is to ask myself “‘If I loved myself, what would I do in this situation? “ I don’t always know the answers but it really helps me to stop and see myself in a different way .. I also use words like respect, caring,supporting, etc So so helpful and calming ❤️


Jeannie Fennell, I don’t use the word, ‘respect’ because it seems so institutional. Like a set of rules we must follow. I prefer to use the word, ‘kindness’ because it has a more gentle approach. Thoughts?


Janel, I think respect in this context is acknowledging another person’s (and our dark voices’) right to exist and express their views, as unpleasant as that can be. Kindness is acting to make their being and expression easier in this hard world.
Both words are valuable; they are not the same at all. I’m sorry the meaning and power of the word respect has been ruined for you somehow. Authentic respect has nothing to do with rules, it’s all about heart and attitude.

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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