“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain
But how does a woman, living in this youth-obsessed world, avoid or escape the judgement sent her way each time she speaks to someone, opens a magazine, walks into a store or just goes online? How does she try to stop sending harsh messages to her mind about herself, each time she looks in the mirror?
Vivian Diller, Ph.D and Jill Muir-Sukenick, Ph.D, both professional models turned psychologists might have a six step solution for resolving the anxiety around a woman’s changing skin.
Step 1. Confront Your Changing Looks
Each time you encounter an “uh-oh” moment like that of the first gray hair or wrinkles or smile lines or darkening circles, try and confront this changing feature in this very moment. Do not run away from it. Plucking the hair might or colouring it can only offer you some temporary relief. What you need is a more permanent solution. And what is that? Slow gradual acceptance of your aging.
Step 2. Identify Your Masks
Not the beauty masks one wears at night but the masks one wears in order to build layers of protection over their anxiety and discomfort around their aging. This could be you trying to splat tonnes of makeup on your face or trying to fit into your wedding dress or attempting relentlessly to look like your twenty year old daughter. These masks will only leave you begging for external approval from others about your beauty when all you need is some internal compassion and comfort. The next time you put one of these masks, ask yourself who is it for? You or the person standing next to you.
Step 3. Pay Attention To What You Tell Yourself
Without even realizing, you might be hurling sticks and stones at your own self by calling yourself fat, ugly, skinny, dark skinned and what not! And these sticks and stones might not break your bones but they will definitely break your self-confidence eventually. One way to tackle this issue is to imagine yourself saying these very things to a friend. That might make you stop because who says such toxic rubbish to a friend, right?
Step 4. Go Back In Time
Have you learned to detest aging from your mother or someone you looked up to while growing up? It might be time to revise this response to something that’s not blindly borrowed but is constructed consciously.
Step 5. Turn Back To Your Adolescence
You might have buried your embarrassments of adolescence deep into your memory book but revisit them to find some otherwise hidden answers. There are parallels between the awkwardness of aging and adolescence.
Step 6. Redefine!
And by that we mean that you should redefine what beauty or youth means to you in a way that is more realistic and compassionate to your own self, to your own changing self.