Who is that sharp tongued harpy, and why is she in my head? I certainly didn’t invite her to join me, but she showed up around a decade ago and has overstayed her welcome for sure.
I would guess most women have a version of her lurking in the shadows of their consciousness, at the ready with a dig or doubt inducing comment about how we look, dress, wear our hair and, her all time favorite topics: our wrinkles, and our weight. She’s ruthless, snarky and callous and she undermines our confidence at every opportunity.
So, what is to be done about her? Here’s what I’ve found sends her back into the dark recesses of my mind, at least temporarily.
I am now almost 66 years old. There are inevitable changes that have occurred over time. Acknowledging that and setting goals accordingly helps keep me in the present and not wasting my time lamenting over what I’ve lost or what has shown up unexpectantly.
Am I ever going to have the arms of a 20-year-old again? No. Can I exercise and keep my arms fit and strong as I age? Yes. Then that will be my goal, and I will be proud of my commitment and my discipline.
Those photos lie! Take a look at a few YouTube videos on how images are manipulated with Photoshop to see how incredibly prevalent this practice really is. This is true not only with celebs but also with many Instagram influencers who attract thousands of followers. They don’t look anything like their persona.
I can still climb up steep trails, put in a full day as a chef, and undertake pretty much any endeavor that tempts me. Yes, my body aches now and then, occasionally I overdo it and have to spend a day recovering from the physical excursion, but I am grateful for the body I have and the freedom it provides. And I let that be enough.
Personal care is an essential part of feeling healthy and confident. I try to keep my hair styled, extract those wild hairs that suddenly appear on my chin, moisturize my skin and, perhaps, even apply a little blush on my cheeks and give my lashes a few licks of mascara each morning.
I do this not for anyone else, but for me. Making an effort helps me feel I’m presenting the best version of myself each day.
Stay hydrated and well nourished. Your body will look and feel much better if you make this a priority. Make good choices about your diet and drink enough water to maintain that healthy glow. Also, be sure to breathe.
I know, it sounds crazy, but under stress we tend to tense up and hold our breath, taking only shallow breaths. Doing deep breathing exercises throughout the day increases metabolism and provides the oxygen every cell in your body needs.
I read a quote years ago that I’ve come to realize is true for me: “What you focus on, will expand.” If I look at my perceived flaws every morning, if I constantly scrutinize my face for new wrinkles or the evidence of a few extra pounds settled on my hips, soon I’ll only see them and not the healthy, happy face smiling back at me in the mirror.
I have a choice. Instead of criticizing, I pick a feature I like, for me it’s my womanly curves. I appreciate them for they make me feel femine. Every day, every time I pass a mirror, I take a look and think, “Dang girl, you look good!”
You’ll be surprised, if you adopt these simple habits, how quickly this works and how much better you’ll feel about yourself. You’ll also notice a change in how others react to you. You’ll exude a sense of confidence and contentment that is palpable and appealing.
So, give it a try and remember, aging is inevitable. Hating it is an option, but loving it is a choice.
What is your best bodily feature? Do you appreciate it when you see yourself in the mirror? What positive thoughts do you use in your day? How do you maintain and take care of your body? Please share with the community!