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Nurture Self-Love

Nurture Self-Love

When was the last time you showed unconditional love to the person in the mirror?

Too often the changes we see in ourselves as we age impact self-love.  Our inner critic takes over.  We spew false messages regarding our worth and value based on the changes we see in our appearance or experience in our abilities.

But self-love is more than admiration for our physical attributes and capabilities.  It is accepting who we are as a total package – our strengths, our flaws, and everything in between.   When we apply this lens to self-love, we give ourselves grace.

Think about it this way.  If the people we care most about focus too intently on their mistakes or shortcomings, we are quick to point out that such self-deprecation is neither helpful nor true.  So why is it so difficult to extend that same wisdom to ourselves?

The saying “we are our own worst critic” rings true.  Throughout life’s course, we apply self-imposed unrealistic expectations, wasting time worrying on things we view as negative, embarrassing, deficient, awkward, wrong, or even boring about ourselves.  For people with negative attitudes about growing older, this toxic mindset is amplified.

Life is not static.  Growing older brings changes.  Changes may bring grief.  Grief impacts our psyche. 

Keeping positive through life’s transitions can be hard because we long for what was and fear what lies ahead.  As things change, we experience different forms of grief - grief in relationships, material things, and in our roles and function.  We even experience grief when we assume things might be one way, and those things end up being different.

Grief impacts our psyche because we tend to be inflexible to change and want to protect what was.   As a result, we complain that things aren’t the same or think no one cares.  We internalize this to growing older and become at odds with the natural progress of aging.  Often, we blame aging for the changes.

It is especially important to nurture self-love in our later years.

Our abilities, appearance, strengths, and flaws will ebb and flow.  Relationships will be different; some closer, others more distant.  The things that are important to us will vary.  How we spend our time will differ.  Self-love helps us settle into the person we have become and adjust the ways we think, communicate, and do as we age.

What will you do today to lift yourself up? Be your own ally and prioritize self-love.  Below are some tips to help you.

Tips to Nurture Self-Love

  • Know you are worth loving: changes in your appearance or abilities as you age don’t erase the purposeful person you are!
  • Treat yourself how you would like others to treat you: you wouldn’t surround yourself with friends who constantly criticize you!
  • Say “NO” more frequently: set healthy boundaries and rid your day from things that are draining and create stress!
  • Ditch perfectionism: instead focus on trying to do your best because your best is good enough!
  • Stop comparing yourself to others: you are uniquely you!

Love yourself unconditionally,

Cathy

Cathy Bollinger
Cathy Bollinger
Managing Director of Embracing Aging, York County Community Foundation

York County Community Foundation’s Embracing Aging improves how people experience aging by making people aware of ageism and its impact and helping organizations be more age friendly. Contact Cathy Bollinger, at cbollinger@yccf.org or 717-848-3733 to learn more about our free resources to disrupt ageism and to join our movement to usher in a new age in York County.