When I was 22 my mother turned 60. This birthday milestone of turning 60 seemed such a long way away and it seemed so old. But today having arrived, after a journey of many challenges, at the wonderful age of 67 I do not feel old. In fact, I am feeling younger every day, and do not consider myself old in the least, although I am sure that others around me do, as they remind me of this fact every now and then.
It’s not surprising that this has become a readily accepted belief in many societies, as it is one that is fuelled by the media whose focus seems to be mainly on outwardly beautiful, younger women. If you are older the articles and advertisements that relate to you are, more often than not, about how to look and act younger – to be anyone except who you truly are. From facelifts to breast augmentation, Botox, the latest magic diet solution and the list goes on . . .
Magazines, television shows and the internet are full of how to ward off old age and the accepted downhill progression.
It appears that as we grow older we are often ignored and not considered to be a valuable part of society anymore; instead shouldn’t we be valued and honoured for the wonderful elders we truly are? Many mature actresses who have had very successful careers, talk about how the roles for older women diminish as the years go by and that they receive fewer and fewer scripts to consider, with some of them resorting to any method possible to stave off the inevitable aging process.
I had a very tiny taste of age perception recently when I attended the wardrobe appointment for a television commercial in which I had a very small role as the mother. I rolled up in my tight jeans and very snugly fitting top only to be dressed down in what I could feel was a very stereotypical way as to how an older woman is supposed to look; fawn trousers, a very boring top all covered up with an apron that looked like one of my mother’s from many years ago. They even put a ‘wedding ring’ on my bare ring finger, as if an older woman was automatically expected to be married. But how I looked like on the outside wasn’t going to change how I was feeling on the inside, I was still feeling rather young and vibrant.
So how did I come to a place in my life where I am feeling young at 67 in spite of all the age programming I have taken on over the years? And how is it that I am feeling the best I have ever felt which shows in the way I walk, the way I look - in spite of the wrinkles - and the way I relate to those around me?
I have rediscovered me – the ‘me’ that I didn’t realise was there as it was buried under layers and layers of those ideals and beliefs of what I thought a woman should be, how she should live and how she will age. As a result my self-worth was almost non-existent, my self-esteem permanently parked on the floor and my self-love – what self-love?
The re-discovery of me began when in 2005 I found my way to a workshop presented by Serge Benhayon, founder of Universal Medicine. At this time all of what had happened in my life – and was still happening - was etched into my face, it was reflected in the way I walked and the weight that had been increasing steadily was slowing me down in many ways. I didn’t like who was looking back at me from the mirror – the reflection was one of a very sad and un-well woman, one who I struggled to acknowledge was actually me.
When Serge began to speak I soon realised that finally here was someone who was making sense of a world that often hadn’t made sense to me. He shared that our life is a result of all the choices we had ever made; it was our responsibility.
That was a huge ‘ouch’ moment indeed when I realised that I, and no one else, had created my life, the life that I was struggling to live: I had created the woman in the mirror.
The vast well of wisdom that he shared was later added to when Natalie Benhayon began to present about what it is to be a woman. She offered so much support for us as women to let go of the shackles that have held us back from being the glorious and naturally beautiful beings that we are; that we are the ones that are holding ourselves back not only from us as women, but from the world.
Over the last twelve years as I began to treat myself with the self-love that had been missing in my life I began to understand who I truly am. I made the choice to let go of the many ideals and beliefs that I had allowed to keep me imprisoned in a way of life that I now realise was not true. I could no longer deny that the way I treated myself didn’t matter; it did matter and it had manifested in the way I lived, the way I looked at life and at myself.
Slowly but surely as my life began to change in ways I previously never thought were possible, my body began to change as did the reflection in my mirror. The weight dropped away with many aches and pains disappearing. With the choice to attend Esoteric Yoga classes the way I moved began to change as well. Gone were the stiff and sore hips to be replaced by a fluidity in my movement that I can only describe as delicious. And I began to look younger.
So what would I share with other women who feel stuck in the old way of being and are not sure how to make a change?
- Start to be discerning about all those old beliefs that say that you have to accept ‘your lot’ in life and that it is selfish to put yourself first, and if they don’t ring true any longer, toss them out!
- Delete all the negative programming that has had you convinced that as you age it is all downhill.
- Begin to treat yourself like you would a baby – with tenderness, a delicate touch, patience and unconditional love.
- Listen to your body and not your mind. The body is the wisest ally that you have, whereas the mind likes to play tricks and lead you astray.
- Know that you are worthy of all the wonderful things in the world and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Know that you are one amazing woman and that your true beauty starts on the inside and shines all the way out touching all those around you.
- And finally… appreciate, appreciate and appreciate some more, the wonderful woman that you are, and always have been.
Ingrid W., NZ