As we age we gain a lot of experience in many fields, shaping our attitudes and forming our opinions. We’ve overcome some difficult situations and mastered lots of problems, thus strengthening our self-confidence. However, there comes the moment when we realize that despite the experience and knowledge we’ve acquired throughout our life, we start losing confidence.
Losing confidence as we get older is often linked to ageism in our surroundings and the loss of part of our social life after retirement. Engage in new activities, keep a healthy lifestyle and never stop learning to regain your confidence.
If you’re feeling that your confidence has been suffering for a while, you should try and look at the reasons for this change in your mindset.
How others see older people
How do you think you are being perceived by your surroundings? And what are the fears you have regarding aging?
Here are some of the STEREOTYPES we are confronted with when becoming seniors:
Older people are less attractive
Let us be clear, nobody really likes the idea of aging. When you look into a mirror and begin scrutinizing what you see, chances are that you are not enthusiastic about your mirror’s reflection. Wrinkles are showing and your skin has become somehow slack. Your figure seems to be a little out of shape and your posture has become somewhat stooped. Definitely, you’re no longer a teenager!
We all tend to be overly self-critical, focusing on the small things we don’t like about ourselves. This may lead us to have an overly negative picture of ourselves, far off from reality.
Older people are more fragile
At 50 plus many of us feel that they have less energy and resilience. We begin to feel our muscles and joints ache in our attempts to keep up with our younger friends when we exercise. Our bones begin to ache and some may have already problems with ailments such as arthritis.
For some of us, our hearts may show signs of fatigue and efforts have to be slowed down so as not to put us in danger.
Like me, many have seen their eyesight failing over the years and they are now proud bearers of eyeglasses. And when we fall ill we may need more time to recover than some years ago.
Our declining physical strength and agility may hinder us to try new sports activities or even slow down our actual workout because we are afraid of hurting ourselves.
Older people are losing their mental faculties
And what about our brains? Learning new skills or technologies has become more of a challenge than it was in the past. We think that we are slower when trying to integrate new concepts or ideas and we feel it is more difficult to adapt to new situations. Our memory begins to show signs of fatigue and we lose some responsiveness as the years go by.
But how true is this stereotype? At what age is it really harder to learn? And aren’t there ways to improve our brain’s capacity as we age?
Older people are old-fashioned and inflexible
After decades of having learned lots of lessons and gained experiences in various fields, we’ve forged our convictions and we have confidence in our capacity for good judgment. But the world around us is changing fast and we feel that there are so many different new things out there that bother us and shake our beliefs.
All in all, there is a feeling that we are slowly declining in some ways and this is not in the least motivating. And very often, it is ageism we sadly encounter around us, that tends to deepen our impression of being somewhat outdated and on the decline.
Find your vision of a bright future
I remember the first time I tried to figure out what my life would be when I would be over 50. Goodness, I thought, this must be frustrating. There isn’t much more to do in your life when you’ve reached this age – I thought.
It is because we imagine having built our family, career, and home is the most important part of what is to be achieved in life. What’s left? The day I realized that for me my achievements were by far not enough changed almost everything in my life.
The fact is that our life expectancy has steadily risen over the last decades and we will live longer and grow older, but healthier. So there is plenty of time ahead of us to live a full and meaningful life.
We are beautiful as we age
Yes, I mean what I say. Have you ever seen elderly people that impressed you with their aura? They may have wrinkles and white hair and yet their charisma makes us envy them for their beauty. They are full of life and actively participate in all sorts of events.
It is not age that defines attractiveness. It is our personality and how we take care of ourselves. Do not let yourself go with the excuse that you no longer have to go to the office or a meeting.
Take care of your face, skin, and hairstyle. Dress up even for a casual visit to your best friend. And discover the benefits of massage and going to the gym. Your own well-being will shine through.
Engage in activities that boost your energy
Are you as lazy as I am? For me, sports were always meant to be for fun only, skiing in winter and swimming and hiking in summer when the weather is fine. But now that we have much more time to take care of ourselves, we should take up sport activities that we can engage in on a regular basis.
Not only can we achieve better fitness and shape but physical exercise will prop up our energy level as well.
By training your muscles you strengthen your joints, cartilages, and bones. Moving your body stimulates blood circulation and increases oxygen supply. Be careful though, if you have a heart condition. It is good to take medical advice before engaging in any sports activities.
Regular exercise is healthy and contributes to making our bodies more resistant. In addition, if you exercise outdoors you can enjoy the surroundings and breathe fresh air. On a sunny day, we can enjoy all nature gives us as well as store our dose of vitamin D, provided we respect the rules concerning exposure to UV radiance. And daylight has a beneficial effect on our minds.
Train your brain to keep up to date
Even if it is true that we lose naturally some of our memory capacities as we age, this loss can be of minor importance if we engage in training our brain regularly. Just as our body needs to be trained to function correctly, our brain needs to be trained as well.
Of course, not everybody wants to solve equations as a hobby, but there are lots of possibilities to keep your brain in perfect shape. How about reading a good book instead of watching TV? There are instructive TV shows and a good movie may be a delightful distraction. But as we watch TV we are passive, whereas reading stimulates our imagination, creating pictures in our minds.
If you have some acquaintances who like to play games, this is a perfect opportunity to play instructive games like, let’s say, Trivial Pursuit. This is a perfect way of combining social life, having fun, and training your memory. Perhaps you are an aficionado of chess and have the chance of finding someone who shares your passion.
If alone, you can always do crosswords from time to time. The important thing is that you find an activity that you really like.
Look for new Challenges
There are lots of choices once you think about it seriously! We are used to our daily routine and the habits we’ve acquired over the years. But you should sit back and allow yourself to look beyond the horizon.
There is a great chance that you’ve no longer got family obligations and thus have more financial freedom, and perhaps retirement has already become your reality. There is much more free time to be spent on things you never even imagined before such as:
- take an online course to learn something new
- set yourself a new professional challenge
- start writing
- travel the world or simply your country
- take up a part-time job or volunteer activity that fills your life with a sense
- find a new hobby
- find new friends
- grow your social network
- spend quality time with your family
- become a mentor
- start meditation
- learn a foreign language
After having achieved so many things in your life it seems that you’re lacking objectives that you can invest yourself into. This may create a feeling of being of less use and in decline. Ageism in our society does not help us feel better and we begin to lose confidence. But we just need to understand that age is not a reason to stop being curious and try new things. Our personal development depends on our will to live fully our lives. You do not need to compete with others to show you’re the best. Just begin doing the things you really want to do and have fun!