Gracefully Aging and Self Esteem - my maturing outer shell reflects inner wisdom
"A week ago, I posted about our bodies and the unnatural expectations for everyone to look one way. I opened up about my own struggles with anorexia and other eating disorders," said Cristina Zenato.
That post triggered a lot of responses, comments, and shared experiences. One moment I was standing in a vast field by myself, worried about hitting "post"; the next, thousands were standing next to me as far as my eyes could see and even beyond.
That response made me determined to write about something else that, in this case, women more than men go through: aging.
A natural part of our lives, and a precious gift, from the words of my dear mom, it beats the other option; there is a race to counteract it, at least at the visual level.
We are constantly bombarded by the need of looking young, with smooth skin, no wrinkles, no marks, no blemishes to indicate the passage of time.
We are encouraged to fill our bodies with external agents to tighten, pull, stretch, un-sag, you name it.
I have honestly stood in front of the mirror and looked at all my lines, so many for each day spent in the sun, I have inquired about these procedures, recommended by worried friends that I was letting myself go, and I ran away as fast as I could.
Our lines are the marks of our experiences and should not be condemned, nor should we be asked to alter them.
It should not affect how we are valued and considered in our positions, expertise and contribution.
If anything, those lines indicate that we have invested the time and that our knowledge is based on experience; they are our valued possession for having lived a whole life.
They show how many times we have laughed out loud.
Some people will try to be kind and state that perhaps we look tired; we might, this image was taken at the end of a full day of diving and after my yoga practice, but in reality, it's a subtle way to tell us to do something about the way we look.
There is nothing to do but embrace. Aging is a privilege. Many people don’t get the opportunity to live a long life.
Never underestimate the power of having a high level of self-esteem and a strong feeling of self worth. They are both essential for looking after your mental health.
Life is better when you are confident and live each day being true to yourself.
However, sometimes this is easier said than done.
Remembering how important it is to love and prioritize yourself is essential to becoming happier and work towards creating a life that you love.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Acceptance doesn’t mean not to strive to be greater. There’s a subtle but essential distinction. If you strive for more without accepting yourself in the absence of what you think you lack then you will never have enough no matter how much you gain, and you will always feel “less than” because your worth will be dependent upon whether you gain what you think you lack.
By accepting yourself right now, as you are, you can and will still strive to grow, but that striving will come from a place of wholeness, not a place of insufficiency.
And when you truly can believe ‘I am enough’, you will absolutely be pulled toward growth and expansion because that’s human nature. But you will do it from a place of power, not a place of powerlessness. And that is the secret to lasting, true growth and progress.
So, I prepared you tools in the Manifestation Box to help develop building your Self-Esteem and feel good in your own skin, accept yourself as you are, because you are a very special person. Ageing is a gift and when you embrace, it you feel confident, and when you feel confident you are beautiful.
Stay strong, stay positive!
PS: I wanted to share my favorite responses to the post:
💙 Absolutely, yes!! Embrace our lines, they show so much of the life we have lived!! I have a scar on the side of my neck from having a cancerous tumor removed, when I look in the mirror it reminds me how precious life is ...❤💙💙
💙 Grow old gracefully, I say! As you quite rightly say those lines and grey hairs are a mark of our time, experiences, loves, laughs and losses. Wear them with pride!!!!
💙 My sentiments exactly, Cristina. Ageism is the last one we need to tackle as a global society. I'm proud of ever sign of age on my face and body. My only hope is that my maturing outer shell reflects inner maturity! 🤣 (not much chance of that). I live your posts, Cristina. Please keep 'em coming. 💜
💙 Yes yes yes. Just as my body shows signs of where it carried the miracle of each of my children, my face shows traces of laughter and life and love. I wouldn't wish these away, for the world.
💙 Aging is a privilege. Many people don’t get the opportunity to live a long life.
💙 I have changed my attitude about my wrinkles and sun damaged skin. All my years in the Bahamas sun, on the water, in the water, and on the beach has been wonderful and well worth the wrinkles!
💙 I could not agree more!! Coloring our hair is another pressure, I stopped about 6 years ago and it was so freeing, I am totally fine with having gray hair! Of course my hairdresser was the most adamant that I keep coloring it $$$ he told me it would age me by ten years. I told him that was perfectly fine. Thank you for your wise words Christina!!
💙 We have to embrace all of it, with a gentle curiosity, a a loving compassionate heart. At the end of my journey, and I hope I have more miles to go, I want my body to look lived in, to look traveled, weathered, joyful and worn...no different than my favorite pair jeans....❤️
💙 My father, who smiled more than any many I have ever known, had deep distinctive lines that ran the length of his face. Every time I notice my aging in the mirror I think of him and the badge of happiness we call wrinkles.
👏👏👏👏👏👏Agree 💯. It’s on our hands to change that mentality. I’m sure if more of us started appreciating our lines and gray hair without giving a shit about what everyone else is thinking it would help a lot. Men’s gray hair is charming but a woman has to dye her hair throughout her life. It’s insane and most of it our own fault for letting it happen
💙 “All of these lines across my face, tell you the story of who I am .. so many stories of where I’ve been … “- The Story (song by Brandi Carlile)
💙 One of my grandmothers was very into “aging gracefully”. When her hair turned white she said it was “God’s blonde”. I didn’t quite understand it but I do remember lying in her lap when she would scratch my back and play w my hair, and she would point to her wrinkles and age spots and say “this was your Mom” or your uncle, or your brother or you, and so on. And not in a mean way, but in a heartfelt, full of adoration way. She was proud of those Bc of showed her life. She was a fantastic human who I try to emulate. You are fantastic, too.
💙 I’m 31 male. Completely agree that women are judged differently to men which is totally unfair however and unfortunately i am in the minority with this opinion: i personally believe that women actually look better with age, and i mean when when she without having loads of cosmetic surgery to look younger. Some of the most sexy, beautiful, attractive… however you want to put it, these women have been late 40’s going to 60. Honestly more women did realize how amazing they look with age and embrace it and not try and fit into a narrow margine where women are APPARENTLY only attractive age 18-25 which is totally ridiculous. 40’s and 50’s are when women look there best. Honest opinion from a 31 year old man.
💙 love this reply because ageing is a gift and when you embrace, it you feel confident, when you feel confident you are beautiful.
💙 I may be crazy. But I’m not a fan of unnatural ways of “anti aging” eating well, exercising? 100% hell yes. Botox, fillers, surgeries? Not a fan, your body your choice, at the end of the day it’s whatever makes us happy. But to me? There’s nothing more attractive than a woman who is wise and comfortable in her own skin at an older age
💙 Ahh I’m not as secure as you are yet/ I still feel uncomfortable looking at my face most days bc it’s so shocking to me that I’ve changed so much in just a few years- but that time in the water is time that is magical and irreplaceable. Thank you for sharing.
💙 we all feel that, it’s shouted so loud in our ears we can’t miss it; one small step at the time ❤️
💙 You are countering multimillion dollar industries designed to tell us that what is beautiful and natural is not. Thank you Cristina.❤️❤️❤️
💙 Age is beautiful. It reveals the soul and tells a story