Some time ago I wrote a light-hearted article offering tips to boomers on how to take selfies, seeing as it’s such a phenomenon. Granted, it’s a millennial phenom, which I don’t love all that much. But hey, times change and change is the only certain thing in life.
I explored the selfie world and played with it myself. Personally, I don’t quite understand the fascination with snapping yourself all the time.
It does bother me to see people at Milan’s Duomo snapping selfies. It is as if they have to say, “I was here,” when in reality, they don’t seem present at all to the experience, so busy are they snapping selfies.
Anyway, I’m not interested in being a grouchy old person complaining about young people! Now that’s unattractive. I say, go with the flow!
The responses to my selfie article shocked, surprised and saddened me. There was so much self-hatred, it literally pained me. There were comments like “I hate hate hate my look. My face is rubbish. Can’t stand my flab, my wrinkles. My face is a disaster. Don’t want to look at myself. It’s a horror. I can’t stand to look at myself. No pictures no way.”
It made me wonder. Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
A baby sees her face in the mirror and smiles. She feels nothing but love, admiration, charm and thrill at her image. A child doesn’t say awful! A child is delighted. Do you remember the moment in your life when this changed?
We know full well that in our 60s, we still feel like our young selves inside. Yes, it’s painful not to see our youthful face staring back at us. Yes, we all used to be pretty.
But we are still beautiful! I’ll ask the question again: Who do you see when you look in the mirror? The answer is your soul! Yes, that’s your beautiful soul staring back at you! How can you hate it?
Try standing in front of the mirror and looking at yourself as if you were looking at your inner child who’s always with you. Look at yourself with love and watch how your face softens and fills with love. And how beautiful you are.
By hating yourself, your look, by complaining and picking details apart, you are wounding your soul, saying, in effect: I hate the house you live in. The body you live in is ugly. Ouch that’s harsh.
At this age, if we haven’t learned how to love ourselves yet… when will we? Time’s a wastin’ ladies! Haven’t we spent years criticizing ourselves? This stops now. Take the time today, to look at your face in the mirror, see your inner child and love yourself.
When someone holds a camera to photograph you, imagine you are looking at one of your children or grandchildren. Feel your face relax. Look with love into the camera and you know what? You will like the photograph. Because when the soul in your eyes shines through, you look beautiful. Stop studying your photographs for flab and wrinkles. Look for the soul in your eyes, your eyes tell your story.
The same goes for our bodies. Don’t hate your body because it’s old. Cherish your body because it’s taken you for the ride of your life.
I’ll tell you a secret. I was born with a cleft lip. I had multiple, bad surgeries as a child (this was in the 50’s when methods were primitive). I have been extremely self-conscious all my life. I felt ugly, and not perfect.
Early on I realized I was not going to escape cameras, and didn’t want to spend my life freaking out every single time someone pointed one at me. I told myself I better learn to love them. And so, I learned to look with love in the camera, believing myself to be the most beautiful me. And now, here is my face, in the selfie article, posted all over the internet. I will not apologize for myself or spend another moment hating myself. Been there, done that.
I believe it was Nora Ephron who said, and I paraphrase: smile when your picture is taken. You’ll think it is an awful photograph, but in five years, you’ll look at it and think wow, I looked good! I know you’ve had this reaction; you know it’s true. So save yourself the five years. Like it now.
A boyfriend said to me when I was young, “Love yourself. It’s the hardest thing to do.” At the time I thought, what a curious thing to say. But now, after a lifetime of self-doubt and yes, self-criticism, I understand.
We are always the worst judge of our own photographs. So put your thoughts on hold and “Smile!” Your loved ones want photographs of you. Have someone take a picture of you and look lovingly into the lens, into their eyes, into your child soul. Love yourself. It’s the hardest thing to do.
Why do you think so many women over 60 are critical of their appearance? Do you love your face? Has this article helped you to feel more positive about the way you look?