Unlearning Ageing Myths and Embracing Authenticity
This week on the podcast we’re delving into myths and beliefs surrounding ageing.
Let’s start with our intention – WHY do we want to examine these beliefs?
The WHY will be totally personal to you, but oh so important!
A clear intention will get you where you want to go, and help you move through any tricky parts along the way.
Your subconscious beliefs about aging may be limiting you and negatively impacting your self-esteem.
So it’s time we examined them – throw out the ones that are not serving us, update and upgrade some, and take on new beliefs that are going to serve you in this next most empowered chapter of your life!
Let’s embark on a journey together to liberate ourselves from harmful age-related beliefs, so that we can choose what truly resonates with our lives.
Remember, you hold the key to embracing this next most authentic and empowered chapter of your life!
00:02:28 Beliefs about ageing need adjustment for empowerment.
00:09:08 Reflect on ageing with a flexible mindset.
00:16:39 Ageing beliefs shape our empowered next chapter.
00:22:57 Limiting beliefs around ageing hinder personal growth. Unlearn myths and embrace ageless self.
00:25:04 Appreciate your body, it’s a miracle.
00:29:11 Discard unnecessary beliefs; appreciate and share joy.
Full Episode Transcript
Hey, welcome my friends. Welcome to the podcast. This week what I’m doing is setting up a module for my course, the Midlife Upgrade course. And we’re running the pilot round, starts in just a number of days actually, and one of the modules is around unlearning the myths of aging. So I’m getting ready with the PowerPoint and the learning modules around that and some things that we’re gonna work through.
And something that really struck me is that it’s really important when we are looking at our beliefs and what we want to untangle ourselves from in terms of cultural beliefs, which is so much around, you know, we’ve got so many beliefs around aging that. We have just grown up in and with and have hand had handed to us that we don’t examine them.
And of course now we are starting to examine them, thank goodness. But I think it’s really, really important to set our intention for why we are doing this, because it’s the why that draws us forward. It’s the why that’s really important. So in this podcast, I’m gonna start with, why is it important for you?
Why might it be important for you to examine these. Beliefs, these myths around aging. And from that place, you know, you can think about, well, what do I want to keep? What is the belief? What is more just a pretty accurate reflection of my reality? Of course, reality is always altered. Our perception, our beliefs, the way our brain sees the world, however, We can start to identify beliefs, thoughts, ideas around aging in this case, and decide which ones we want to keep, which ones we want to adjust, and which ones we actually want to discard
totally. And so setting our intention as to why this is important. Is a very big piece of the puzzle because with anything in life, if we have our intention really clear, then the steps to walk down that path become a hell of a lot easier. And the heavy load, if I’m carrying a big suitcase on this journey and it’s heavy or a backpack, if my intention is really clear and I know why I am doing this.
Why I want to get to the end of my journey or why I’m embarking on this journey in the first place, then I’m much more willing to carry this heavy backpack with me. And if we’re carrying on with the analogy of the backpack and our belief system, if the backpack is carrying our beliefs, we’re gonna lighten the load as we go, right?
So it’s gonna get easier and easier as we go along. But why it’s important to. Uncover these beliefs around aging, I believe, anyway. And from my understanding is that so many of them are just not an accurate reflection of reality as it stands, and our reality as it could be. And a lot of these beliefs around aging, you know, beyond, beyond our forties, fifties, sixties, seventies.
And ongoing, a lot of these beliefs are actually holding us back, diminishing your self-worth and your personal empowerment and mine. And that’s why I think it’s so important to look at it. And like I said, we need to really set our intention. To be able to walk the path that may go against our cultural conditioning, that may go against the viewpoints that are reflected back to us through movies, television, media, that we are forging a different path for this generation of women that are here in our midlife that actually we’re kind of going.
I don’t know if I want to keep going with that belief. I don’t know if I wanna carry that belief around aging with me anymore. You may look at those beliefs for yourself and decide which ones you wanna keep and which ones you wanna throw away, but you need to understand for yourself.
Why it’s important and actually the barriers. The barriers that these beliefs put in the way of you and your most fulfilled life of you and your purpose, and making a difference in your community.
So I’m really on a mission to help women to dismantle harmful beliefs around aging, to decide what serves them, what doesn’t, to adjust the ones that they can, throw away the ones that are no longer useful.
So if I was to carry on with the beliefs that my mother had and that until I examined, it was something that just really sat in the background. Because beliefs do that, we don’t often think about the world and think, oh yes, that’s cause I have this belief about what it means to be a woman when she’s 60.
It doesn’t work like that normally. We are just. Seeing and planning and deciding through the lens of those beliefs, but we can’t actually see the lens that we’re looking through. And that’s why this work is so, so important. So if I was to continue with the belief that my mother had, for example that when you are 60, you need to be thinking about your retirement, you need to be thinking about winding down.
You should be thinking about giving up your work in the next couple of years. I know this is changing overall in society, if I’m thinking about my timeline, I’m thinking about 60 being there and I’m thinking, okay, so eight more years, which isn’t a long time as we know.
If I held that belief and I was just allowing it to be unconscious around what I should be doing when I hit 60, that is winding down. Well, how is that going to diminish what I’m doing right now? How is that going to alter the plans I put in place for my life and my business and my capacity to help women?
I think it’s gonna alter it quite negatively. It’s going to hinder where I think I can grow and go to. But if I was to adapt that belief, change that belief, and take on some of the wisdom from people like Jane Fonda who talks about. That third act in our life that that is a really important time for women because for the most part, if we’ve had children that phases over, we’re in a much more independent phase of our life and we can actually impact the community around us.
So the thing is, that’s just one tiny example. Another example might be that women become less attractive when they are beyond 40, 45, 50, 60, I don’t know, whatever it is for you, whatever it is you carry, and you might. Be like me and sort of notice, not that you so much had that belief inside of yourself, but you notice when you come into that age that you start looking at the changes in your body and your face and the way your physicality shows up in the world negatively and in an unaccepting way.
You might think, well, I’ll need to exercise more. I need to diet more. I need to get all the whatever’s done for my face. So that, and what is the so that for you? I know for many women, including myself, when I thought about it initially, it was so that I could get back to the size I was previously or the way I looked previously.
The thing is, in midlife we do put on weight. It’s a really normal thing to happen. That’s what happens.
You know, so if you think, if you are 40 now, think about how you want to be and what you want your life to be when you’re 50. If you’re 50 now, think about what you want your life to be and how you want to be when you’re 60. If you can’t see it, then imagine it. Notice what automatically pops up in your mind.
What is the image that shows up in your mind? And then compare it to how do you actually want to be. Bring a little bit of reality to that imagining. It’s really interesting for me cuz if I think of, and probably for you too, if I think of. My mother, particularly my grandmothers, when they were 50, they looked a lot different to how we look.
Now. That’s normal, you know, things are changing. But then if I think about myself, if I imagine myself when I’m 60 and I visualize it without altering the vision, what shows up as more of a sort of an altered version of my grandmother at that age. But I don’t look anything like what she looked like when she was 50.
So it’s unlikely I’m going to look like that at 60, but what is that image is informing how I show up and how I feel about myself. And maybe I’ll wanna change that image. Not from a grasping perspective, but from a. What if open, flexible perspective cuz a lot of what we think about aging and growing older comes from myths around women not being valuable past that age.
When we are bearing children, if we bear children, that men get to become distinguished. Women on the other hand, become diminished. We are not seen in the same way, and actually the very fact that we’re not seen in the same way has come as somewhat of a relief to me as a middle-aged woman to not have that.
Awful fucking eyes on me. Every step that I take as a younger woman through that male lens was so hindering
and complex as well. Oh, and it’s a longer kind of conversation I think that I than I can have on a podcast. But what I know for myself now in middle age is that not having that gaze in that particular way on my personhood, whenever I’m out, whenever I’m showing up. It’s a freaking relief.
Honestly, it’s such a relief and there’s so much more freedom and I to really acknowledge that and accept that and celebrate that within myself, I really did have to look at how I was valuing myself. How do I value myself? And I definitely value myself from the inside out. But as women, we have so much reflected back to us that is about valuing how we look, how we appear, the shape of our body, the parts of the body that we show.
Even clothes. You know, I saw this lovely woman in her thirties talking about dresses that she was wearing and getting really excited because it was really cinched in the waist and it gave you such a nice waist. And it kind of got me thinking, but how is it about a waist? Right? It’s a area of your body.
And then I, I realized, oh, of course, it’s a patriarchal lenss through what makes a woman valuable. She has a waist, she has wider hips. She can bear more children. Anyway, the way our body shows up in terms of what is attractive, what is not attractive. All of this can be examined by us, and it is so important at any age, but really particularly, I’m passionate about it in this time in midlife because first of all, while your body is changing, Your face is changing, your hair is changing, and am I gonna fight that?
Am I gonna be able to accept that? Is it gonna be become a thing that gets in the way of me being fully enjoying my life and be fully participating in my life? Am I gonna celebrate? Am I gonna be able to celebrate the fact that I am aging and getting older, or because it means I’m living a life and I’m living more of my life and I’m able to participate in whatever it is that I’m passionate about, or am I letting aging get in my way of that enjoyment?
So we can approach aging with a growth mindset or a fixed mindset, and it is a really important time to examine our intentions as to why we would look at these beliefs around aging and why it’s important for us. But we have to create some separation between the cells. The beliefs that the self carries.
And that’s not an easy thing to do cuz beliefs are inherently sort of merged with the self.
So how do we do that? We, you can catch yourself. So a friend invited me to an event and it was I think it was, oh yeah, it was mostly for younger women, so late twenties, early thirties, mid thirties, and. I said to her, oh no, I can’t go to that. I’m too old. I won’t, you know, I won’t know anyone, da da. And she really pushed back on me around it.
And first of all, I felt def felt defensive. Cause that’s my style. That’s what my system does. And then I was able to examine, well, really seriously, I’ve got friends that are 20 years younger than me. I’ve got friends that are 20 years older than me. Why did I say that? Why did I feel that? And I had a chance to examine that and to examine that.
I was had in my mind that because I was 52, that it meant I was getting older and not in a celebratory way, in a more of a negative way, and that I wouldn’t be able to fit in with that younger crowd of people. And maybe not, but I, you know, can go to lots of events and feel awkward and not fit in and enjoy myself.
And that’s okay. I’ve learned to be with that. It’s never stopped me before. So there was this unhelpful belief that I must have reached in a threshold with my age that was starting to hold me back. And so that was a really great moment to examine, you know, do I still wanna hold onto that? Do I wanna let that go?
Is this still serving me? And if this is here around that event, this belief shows up around that event. What else is this belief hindering? How else is this belief stopping me from dreaming big for this next chapter of my life?
Is there a subtle winding down that’s happening inside of me around my career, around how I’m showing up in my community? And as I said, it kind of seems silly cuz I’m only 52, but it’s also very different to when I was 32 and I thought about my career. Now I’m 52, and if I’ve got unexamined beliefs about what happens when we are 60 in our sixties, then that is gonna influence how I dream, how I think about this next, next chapter of my life, which actually can be an incredibly empowered chapter of a woman’s life because if you’ve been raising children, Then most likely, they’re quite a bit older now, and you’ve got a lot more free time on your hands.
Some of them will be moving out of home soon. Then you’ll have more free time on your hands. You know who you are, you know what you believe, you know what’s important to you. You might have more of a sense of what your purpose is. So actually, this is a really empowered time. To be connecting with your community, to be showing up in your life.
But if we have these beliefs around aging and being too old, whatever the hell that means, then they’re gonna hinder us without us knowing it. And none of this is our fault, right? None of this is our fault. It’s all coming through. Societal beliefs around valuing women and how society values women, what age range women are most valued at, and we can all think about where that comes from and what the purpose of that is.
And that needs to be challenged because it’s no longer useful for us. Right. And so if you are struggling with this, if you are in that middle phase, Of life, you’re in your midlife. Maybe you’ve gone through menopause or going through menopause and you are kind of like am I, you know, what next? And it’s not like you’re done cuz you’re not done.
But culturally, so much emphasis is placed on, you know, late twenties, early thirties, through that age. And the value of young women in that age that we’re in our fifties and we are kind of forgotten in some ways that kind of frees us up, but it, there’s also a belief around not being useful, not being powerful.
So if you have beliefs around aging that are unhelpful, and I guarantee you do, cuz we all do, those beliefs have been learned mostly unconsciously, and they can be unlearned. What helps us to unlearn them is to first identify them and to notice where we say things, where we think things, where we look in the mirror and we see something.
Our brain tells us something, our mind tells us something that is unhelpful diminishing. You can push pause right there and look for the belief around that. It’ll be something around female beauty standards, aging. What makes a woman valuable? Valuable to who, right? That’s a question we need to ask.
Now there is a lot of research that’s been done around positive expectations and positive perceptions and longevity, hope and longevity.
Participation in community and longevity, and so this is why examining these beliefs are so, so important. And yet we are. Swamped with images of either women that are much younger than us as being the standard for beauty or ways we can fix ourselves for aging, for that terrible affliction that is called aging.
And so we have to, we don’t have to do anything. But I think getting really clear on our intention around why would I wanna look at these beliefs around aging? What has been fed to me around aging, around a woman in her forties, fifties, sixties, seventies. Beyond
that, I’m not gonna keep, what is it that I see as beautiful? What is it that, what lens am I looking at when I see beauty, and is that a lens I wanna keep? Is that a lens that’s helpful? Is that a lens that uplifts women?
Midlife is often talked about.
Written about as being, as going through a second puberty. And I had a lovely woman say to me once, you can’t talk about midlife as a second puberty. No women want to go through puberty again. She’s probably right. I don’t wanna go through puberty again. I didn’t really want to go through menopause either, but because of the symptoms, but.
The empowerment on the other side of that is huge, and just like the empowerment on the other side of puberty is enormous. The empowerment on the other side of midlife and menopause is enormous. If we take the opportunity to go with what nature has opened up for us and ride the waves of change that are available to us, We do have a choice.
We can shut down. We can
not push to seek growth in our midlife, and we’ve seen that most likely with women around us. But we also have incredible examples of women in their sixties, seventies, and beyond who have continued to evolve, who are stunning exactly as they are, who we see the beauty in them because they’re so engaged in their life, because they had that spark of life.
So every time you look in the mirror and there is a criticism that shows up around that line, those gray hairs, that increasing belly that can happen.
My encouragement to you is to stay, take a step back.
Notice, where is this coming from? Where is this judgment coming from? Do I value myself more because my face is unlined? And if I do, where has that belief come from?
Cause it didn’t come from you. It either got handed down to you or you just grew up in that soup of that belief.
So if we want to feel more free within ourselves as a woman in our midlife, if we want to feel more free within ourselves, we need to examine the limiting beliefs around aging. That we carry, we need to unlearn the myths of aging.
They’re a little tricky to identify at first, but once you start pulling on that thread, you can see them everywhere and you have to get engaged with your why and my why. Has been around valuing creativity in my life and wanting to make a difference in my community and the community around me. wanna make a difference and support women. Around my age group, and if I’m going to do that, if I want to do that, which I do, then I need to look at everything that is in the way, everything that might stop me from continuing to evolve, from continuing to connect and from continuing to feel vital and confident, because when.
We can very much lose that confidence in midlife, and that is just a byproduct of our cultural conditioning around the value of women.
Okay. And the last thing I wanna say about this is that,
Part of this is embracing our ageless self. And I, you know, because I’m of this age, I’m in midlife. I talk with my female friends about it. And some of the things we fight against and some of the things, some of the things around aging, we accept and we are okay with. And sometimes I hear a friend say they really value seeing the beautiful lines on a woman’s face and the change of the hair and love that gray hair is made a comeback.
It looks stunning. And then in the next breath saying, oh, I ate so much when I was on holiday. I won’t have a bikini body anymore. We’re flipping between that timeless appreciation of beauty to, again, seeing ourselves through that patriarchal lens of what is beauty in a body, right?
And that’s normal and we all do that, but it’s important for us to examine it. And so this last piece that I wanna speak to is around, you know, this avatar, this body that we are born into is our expression in this world for sure. But it’s, of course we know it’s not all of who you are. You are timeless.
You are a timeless being. You are living in that body. And yes, that body is. Aging over time as you stay on the planet. And that’s a great thing. But the essence of you is timeless. And you would’ve heard, you would’ve spoken to your elder generation. And you know, speaking to my 85 year old grandmother many years ago, and hearing that she just feels like she’s still a young woman.
She looks in the mirror and she sees someone totally different. The essence of who you are is timeless. The essence of who you are, I believe is eternal, but we are given this experience of living in physical form in this lifetime of having this avatar and. Watching it, observing it change from a child to a teenager, to a young adult, to a mature adult, to a midlife adult, and hopefully, hopefully I get to witness this body as an older woman and experience my perception and my life from that place as well.
And if we just for a moment can suspend all of the societal bullshit around aging that is so pressured onto us, I think we can take a moment to really appreciate this form, this physical body and this life that we are in. It’s a miracle. It’s incredible. We open our heart to our physical body and the fact that it carries us through our life in the best way that it can with all of the inherited stuff that has come down through our family with all of the environmental stuff that it needs to deal with.
Your body is doing the best that it can in this life. So give it some more love, give it some more love. From the place of you are a fricking walking miracle, my friend. Get that body of your some love, some compassion, some rest, and some play.
I’m gonna do the same. I’m gonna go and appreciate the parts of my body they’ve changed over the last 10 years and continue to change. Actually, I had a moment a few weeks ago where a friend took a photo of me while I was meditating, but we were just hanging out and she just took a snap and I was not sitting up straight and my belly was really relaxed and my chin was like doubled.
And and it was a moment of. Not going, oh look, I look fat. Oh look, I’ve got a double chin. Oh look. Oh, my face is a bit saggy. It was a moment of appreciation for this body that I’m living in, for this vessel that moves me through the world. And that was, that was a good feeling. That was a good feeling.
So give your body some love. Give us some appreciation. It’s here moving you through life, doing the best that it can do, and it is incredible. Okay, my friend, hope you have enjoyed the podcast. Hope it has given you some inspiration to knock on the door of those beliefs and discard the ones that you do not need.
Tell your friend next time you see her. She is a stunning piece of art and that you think she’s gorgeous cuz she is. And so are you. Share this with a friend. Thank you for sharing the podcast. Really appreciate that. Thank you for sharing with me what you’ve gotten out of the podcast, and I cannot wait to talk to you again next week.
Okay. Bye for now.