Obsessing Over Wrinkles? Depressed About Aging?
5 questions to help you re-focus on what really matters.
Posted Feb 12, 2015
There’s an Irish proverb that says:
“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”
This is quite true.
But I have had clients who felt a great deal of guilt about this.
They said things like:
“I know people my age who are sick, even dying. I have friends who have passed away already—friends younger than me. And here I am, obsessing over my wrinkles and feeling bad about my sagging skin. I ought to feel grateful just to be alive. I ought to be savoring my autumn years. I ought to be serving and mentoring young people. But I’m just so depressed about the fact that I’m getting older. What’s wrong with me?”
If thoughts like these are running through your mind, that doesn’t mean there is something “wrong” with you.
But “something” is blocking you from experiencing your natural state, which is Love.
(Hint: that “something” is most likely a build-up of negative emotions that need to be released—and resolved.)
But self-exploration can be a good place to begin.
Here are five questions to help you begin to identify where some of your negativity about aging might be coming from, and start to release it… so that you can re-focus on what matters.
1. “Am I really bothered by my wrinkles, or am I following someone else’s script?
Maybe your mother thought that growing older was terrible, and told you this, often.
But do you really believe that?
Question that script. Ask yourself, “What do I really believe?”
Don’t let other people’s negative scripts become your own.
2. “What makes me feel alive?”
Do it, if you can. Don’t let your age stop you. Age is a privilege, not a handicap.
Doing what makes you feel energized and alive is a form of self-care—and when you take extra-special-good care of yourself, it’s much easier to let go of negative feelings when they arise. (Think: the difference between zipping down the highway with a full tank of gas, versus crawling through gridlock, running on empty.)
3. “Is there a part of me that needs to be comforted or soothed? What would feel good right now?”
Soothe that part of you that feels depressed about aging with a hug, a walk, or a few words of reassurance.
But in order to comfort yourself, first, you may need to discharge some of the negative emotions that are getting in the way. One way to do this is by thwacking a pillow with a hand towel that’s been knotted on one end, safely, in private—while simultaneously verbalizing all of the things you’re angry about. Imagine all of those negative feelings leaving your body. Feel yourself growing lighter and less burdened with every thwack.
4. “What kinds of thoughts are repeatedly running through my head? Are those thoughts helping me or undermining me?”
If you’re constantly allowing your inner critic to run rampant, filling your mind with thoughts like, “Ugh, my wrinkles are gross!” are those kinds of thoughts helpful to you—or anyone else, for that matter?
Remember that you have the power to change your thoughts.
Choose thoughts that are helpful, not undermining.
5. “What can I do, right now, to make the world a better place?”
Focus on your inner light—the Love that’s inside you—and let that light radiate out into the world.
Don’t let perceptions about aging dim your brilliance.
Share yourself with the world, right now.
Remember, too, that you don’t have to do anything “big” in order to make the world a better place.
You can write a letter to a friend. You can be present and attentive when someone is speaking. You can smile. You can remain calm in a crisis. You can be a good parent or grandparent, giving unconditional love to a child.
The best antidote to feeling “invisible” or “unimportant” is to treat yourself with love and respect.
When you do this, your inner light grows even brighter. You feel naturally inspired to give love to others, to help, and to serve. You don’t have to “try.” It just happens.
When your inner light is shining bright, you make the world a better place… just by existing. This phenomenon happens whether you are 1 or 100.
Love has no age limit.
Don’t let age limit your Love.
PS. Do you tend to obsess over wrinkles, sagging skin, or other perceived “flaws?” What helps you to back-out of that negativity—and re-focus on what matters?