“Do I still “have it?” Am I still the strong, capable, confident person that I used to be? Or am I sliding down the backside of life, less worthy because, and just because, I’m older?”
Sound familiar? Sadly, it’s way too familiar in our youth-centric culture, although most of us are afraid to voice these doubts even to ourselves. Many of us in our 60s, 50s or even 40s have allowed the prevailing messages from the media, from employers, and even from our own family and friends to undermine our self-confidence and our sense of self-worth.
But pay close attention to the words of Dr. James Doty, in his book, “Into the Magic Shop.”
“Consciously or unconsciously, we decide how we are going to allow ourselves to be treated. What will you accept? What won’t you accept? You’re going to have to choose.”
Yep, we are our own worst enemy. We allow self-doubt to creep in and undermine our sense of self. We buy the insidious message that once our body changes, and gravity has its way with our once-perky parts, then our mind and spirit will be sliding rapidly downhill with it.
Really? Is there no way in which you’re better now than you were in your twenties or thirties? Is there nothing you’ve learned that you could pass along to someone half your age, if they cared to listen?
Think again. You can contribute to the business world: perhaps you’ve learned empathy and good judgement, allowing you to replace the harsh words and snap judgements of youth with fairness and compromise, bringing a successful resolution to many conflicts.
You can contribute to the community: now that your time isn’t consumed by raising and nurturing your own children, you can give your time and accumulated wisdom to help others.
You can contribute to your family: you’ve learned many lessons, some of them the hard way, and could share them with the next generation (except that, just like you, they are doomed to follow that learning curve themselves).
The truth is, we must create our own reality by asserting our own worth in the only place that really matters — our own hearts and minds.
So take charge of your mind once again. Feel your wisdom, and feel the power that is unique to this stage in your life. Take charge of your body: start now to improve your physical self in some way, however small at first. Allow your new-found strength to shape and form you from the inside out, so you stand taller, both metaphorically and physically.
And if anyone in your life isn’t able or willing to jump on your power bandwagon, then find people who share your spirit and who can enrich and enliven your life, as you do theirs.
Remember — “it ain’t over till it’s over” 🙂