Love After Sixty
Recently, I was talking to a friend, also in her 60’s like me, and we were talking about the difficulty with feeling sexy and passionate as we age, and how our changing bodies lead to not feeling sexy enough, and wondering if it’s realistic to expect the kind of passion we had in our youth.
She said something that really struck a chord with me: “Really, if I don't turn me on, who can?”
Society has led us think of love as something that others give us. But what I have come to realize is that it is even more important to love ourselves.
Love yourself first, because you need love as a human being, no matter your age or stage of life. And because this is how we take back our power instead of waiting for others to give us what we need.
Love Thy Selfie
Self-love and self-appreciation have become more acceptable and even fashionable in recent years, but that was definitely not the case when I was growing up.
The message I received was that it wasn’t acceptable to look for compliments or recognition. It was seen as vain to love yourself. For women especially, the expectation was to always be very humble and meek. Don’t get a big head. If you think too much of yourself, you're really just heading for trouble. Pride cometh before a fall. You should only be thinking about other people and you should put yourself last.
Like many of us, I really internalized this value of false humility. I became my own biggest critic. I was tougher on myself than anybody else could ever be. And I was always falling short compared to the others around me: I'm not good enough, I'm not young enough, I'm not slim enough.
Fortunately, that’s changing a lot. It is more acceptable nowadays to like yourself and even love yourself. And you can even admit to others that you love yourself.
But even as self love becomes more acceptable, it raises new challenges, especially online, where people are projecting these filtered images of living their best lives.
In our social media obsessed world, it is easier than ever to feel like I’m the only one who isn’t perfect, who still has all these flaws or shortcomings. It has become even more of a challenge to confidently show up without my make up or on a bad hair day or when I’m simply not feeling like the Superwoman I want to be.
Rather than participating in the games of pretending to be perfect or always putting others first, how can we genuinely appreciate ourselves and continue to build ourselves up so that we feel great and set examples for people around us?
Be the Love You Want to See in the World
We spent the first two stages of life doing for others so they would recognize us and give us what we need. We were young and energetic and had a lot to give. And give we did, again and again and again.
We relied on others to reciprocate, to give us the love and recognition we needed, to value us.
But as we age, society starts to push us into the corner. Think about ageing actresses and news anchors. We’re put out to pasture, at least if we allow it.
This is an opportunity in disguise. It challenges us to change our thinking about love.
Instead of chasing after others for the love you desire, start by giving yourself the love you need.
Love your selfie. Turn yourself on. Feel beautiful because you are!
You know how someone glows when they’re in love? They smile radiantly. Their joyful energy radiates out to the others around them. Love reveals their beauty.
We can do that for ourselves, at any age. Right now! You don’t need to wait for anything or anyone to feel amazing, worthy, and desirable.
Because the thing about deep self-love is: It’s unconditional if you decide it is.
Do you love yourself? And if not, what will you do now to change that?
On the Lift As You Climb podcast I did an episode on this meaningful topic.
Click the link below to listen: