Are old people who look like old people supposed to live infirm and joyless, waiting to die in drab, baggy clothing, preferably closeted away so others don’t have to see?
In December I turn 75 and I hope you’ll support me with a bold and hearty “NO WAY!”
I intend to be here another 25 years at least and I am far from used-up! I have thrown off much of the body-shame of my earlier days (of deep depression) and live comfortably and proudly in this old skin. Hey, I’m not getting another body and I am grateful that it’s in as good a shape as it is as I move forward. I love me in it and lovingly take care of it.
While there are exceptions, most of us are less limber, more wrinkled and more “freckled” than we once were. We sag in new places as gravity takes its toll. As we move into our 60’s, our 70’s and beyond, our tummies are a little rounder, our hair a little thinner, our short-term memory a little frazzled (an excuse when we forget your name).
So What? That’s actually how we were designed! Do we reject babies’ bodies as substandard because they have rounded bellies, no hair?
We usually think we are unattractive “in comparison to others” – that is, in comparison to some inner (media) ideal we hold of what beautiful should look like. That’s why black children pick the white doll as “pretty.”
Is a rose beautiful? An eagle? A nursing doe? A daisy? An ocean sunset? A kitten? A homeless person? A grove of old-growth trees? A tarantula? (OK, that last one took some doing.) Which is more beautiful?
Here’s the deeper question: Can you love yourself and your naked, aging, wrinkled body just as it is as you step out of the shower? Can you smile at it, give it an approving shake? Can you undress in front of your beloved and not be shy? And, perhaps, can you even love someone else and their naked, aging, wrinkled body? I hope so!
I might add, you can substitute any other body shape/condition for “aging” and the question remains: Can you love yourself in your naked body just as it is as you step out of the shower?
The deepest fear we have when we loathe our bodies was that no one could love us as we are. We project our own programming onto other people. That’s WHY we feel shame. Why we make love with the lights out. Why we are never flirtatious and sassy. We’re afraid. And you and I know better than to base any area of our life on fear.
The real secret as to why you are attractive or not isn’t your features or your body shape. It’s your own confidence and belief about how attractive you are! Really! Just as soon as you silence your inner critic and let yourself believe that you are lovable, loving and attractive, you will be happily amazed at the response from the world.
If you carry body shame around with you (and who doesn’t?), how might you change that?
Here are some things that helped me to shift.
- Mirror work! Smile at yourself every single time! Look deep into your eyes and say, “I love you so much!”
- Appreciate beauty everywhere – look out with an artist’s eyes.
- Get out of your HEAD and, mindfully, into your body. Enjoy how it feels as it moves.
- Talk approvingly to yourself about your body. Edit out any negatives with a sharp “CANCEL” – and affirm that you are perfect just as God made you.
- With a soft smile on your face, gently caress your body with your hands, starting with your face. Your intent is not arousal, though it could occur and that’s fine too – your intent is to take that deep “Namaste” love you hold in your heart and so generously direct to the world, and now direct it to yourself.
Finally, You are perfect just the way you are.
“You will see it when you believe it” – Wayne Dyer