I always say that aging is not for the faint of heart. There are a wide variety of reasons this rings true, from physical ailments, emotional stubbornness, and more. One of the biggest reasons that aging tends to be difficult these days is that western society has evolved to perpetuate the view that getting older is, in fact, negative. In some ways, this makes sense. As your age increases, your body changes and some of the benefits of youth will fade. Still, the harmful view that westernized culture seems to have on aging feels fruitless and frustrating – as aging itself is unavoidable.
Age shame is a recurring problem for women and men alike. Not only is western culture becoming more open about shaming those who are aging, but people who are older shame themselves. This concept goes against all the healthy habits that the world promotes – self-love, respect, and acceptance, just to name a few. How can we justify looking at ourselves, or another, and passing judgments based solely on how long they’ve walked this earth?
The short answer is – we can’t. Feeling a sense of anxiety or shame about aging is emotionally damaging. After all, there’s nothing we can do to stop time in its tracks. Having a negative response towards something that is beyond our control sets us up for ongoing feelings of negativity.
Being ashamed about aging doesn’t only have a negative emotional impact on you; it also denies self-acceptance a core aspect of your health. In many ways, aging is a sign that you’ve been here, living, growing, and experiencing for far longer than many others who surround you.
You may have negative feelings about the skin on your neck, and you are entitled to whatever conflicting feelings you may have about your changing physical and mental existence. But know that your aging in no way diminishes the lessons you’ve learned, or the experience and wisdom you share.
You cannot control whether you age, but you can control how you approach the entire concept of aging. I’d like to promote this new approach to how we view aging – or maybe just how you view aging. This approach centers on accepting yourself and those around you for exactly who they are, where they are, and what they are. Accepting yourself and one another at this core level of truth leads to positive emotions, and less negativity or anxiety.
So, let us age with grace. Let us celebrate each day we’ve spent living and loving with fullness. Let us learn from the days where we did not do those things. While aging may not be for the faint of heart, I know that you are not faint of heart. You are strong, you are positive, and you can focus on celebrating and accepting yourself and those around you – no matter what age they are.