Self Esteem-An Inside Job
What is self esteem? Look in the dictionary, there is nothing under self esteem. It’s defined under self respect or self conceit and it says, a proper respect for oneself as a human being, regard for one’s own standing or position.”
Well my definition of self esteem is different. Self esteem: a very tiny voice in all of us that can make a day fabulous or terrible, it can make our relationship with our family and friends seem, in our eyes, wonderful or awful. It’s that voice we hear first thing in the morning as we look into the mirror. Oh my, what is that thing I see before me! It says, “Today is not your day, deary or you go girl.”
I’d like to express what I feel happens to that little voice in all of us as we begin the process of getting older. How powerful we allow that voice to become.
I had a sticker on my car for years. It said, Happiness is an Inside Job. Translated, unless we are happy within ourselves we cannot depend on anyone else to make us happy—so easy—yet so hard to do.
We talk about the physical and emotional changes created by hormones and the actual ageing process, but what we need to talk about are the outside factors which undermine our self esteem.
We tire more easily and it harder to stand straight and our tummies begin to pooch out as we add a little more weight. We get to the end of an evening and our lipstick is almost to our nose and our makeup has found its way into those little lines. This can become the first step in our self esteem breakdown!
You look at all the mail that arrives at your door, as well as what you receive from your computer for the “Senior Citizen.” It starts with one piece of mail a week and slowly thru the next years of your life it snowballs. You are sure Mrs. Senior Citizen lives here but you are not to sure about Mrs. Miller.
We have all heard the story that one mother can take care of 6 children but 6 children cannot take care of one mother!! Well, I used to think that was just a great way to lay on a little more guilt; but if you think about it, it’s true. Your child as a parent is trying to juggle a job, husband or wife, children and a social life. What happened to that fun time you had just a few years ago or the long serious talks. The loneliness for that “girls day” or that call from your son “because he had time?” That’s another breakdown in self esteem.
The icing on the cake!! Grandchildren! Many women confide, “I am thrilled to have a grandchild, but I don’t think I am ready.” We feel 20 but how can that be?
You wake up one Sunday morning and there is this exciting article in your newspaper or computer. Title: Those Fabulous 50 Year Old Women: one starts a business, one is designing clothes and it goes on and on (effect of media on ageing.)
There are probably lots more that you can all think of. I’ve just touched on some of the big ones I have either experienced or heard about. But even though these are pretty normal happening it doesn’t mean we have to sit back and let it eat away at our self esteem. No Ma’am, we can fight back! It’s easy to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves. It’s much harder to do something about it. But that is what we are going to do, beginning right now!!
Physically: learn to hold your tummy in very tight and you won’t be able to have bad posture. Your make-up can be beautiful. You have to learn the easy little tricks like powder on your lips so the lipstick won’t run. You learn to have a different fashion look. A skirt or slacks with a great looking OVER blouse and jacket can work miracles.
If you want to be around those children of yours, then you make a point to get yourself right smack in the middle. Kids, I am making dinner, put on your jeans and come over, or take them out. Become part of their lives. Put yourself in the mainstream of life. If it means a lot to you to try and start a business, don’t be afraid. There is nothing you can’t do if it really is important. Even if you fail, at least you tried and that little voice will also know you tried. Besides, your husband or wife can always take the loss off their taxes!
There are a lot of advantages to being a senior citizen, if you choose to look at it as a positive rather than a negative. Seven dollars for a movie rather than ten dollars isn’t all bad.
You see, it really doesn’t make a bit of difference how you look or what you do. You can look like Jane Fonda and be every bit as successful, but what good is it if you really don’t like yourself; if you don’t trust life; if you live with the fear of what is going to come. Everyday there is something new and wonderful to experience. Nothing is easy and you have to be willing to make changes. That’s what makes life exciting even if you are eighty.
I think the secret of holding on to your self-esteem as we age is to overcome your doubts and fears. You may not be able to jump in as quickly as you did when you were twenty, but going slow and savoring those positive steps is really much nicer.
Twenty years ago, I walked into my plastic surgeon’s office. As usual there was a wait. I sat next to a woman I know had to be in her 80s. I just could not figure out why she was there, so finally I asked her; this was her reply. “I have a boyfriend and we are going to get married. I had a mastectomy ten years ago and now I am going to have reconstructive surgery.” She was 83.
We can believe all those articles about staying young, dyeing our hair, opting for face lifts, body tucks and all the outward tricks to appear youthful. But no matter what you do to your self outwardly, if the powerful little voice deep inside us isn’t young, it’s not going to make a lot of difference. HAPPYINESS AND SELF ESTEEM ARE TRULY “AN INSIDE JOB.”