Just Because Your House is Empty Doesn’t Mean You Have to Be
“I don’t feel old.” Andrea was in her late seventies when she told me she still feels like a teenager most days. I met her a few years earlier when we started working together. A vivacious modern woman with a voguish coiffure and stunning smile. She appeared to move with conviction, but told me she mostly felt “invisible” and wanted to “boldly move into the next chapter with confidence– so what now?”
She is not alone.
It is common for older adults to lose confidence as their body changes and they face life-altering events, like retirement, health issues, and loss of a spouse. Although age often brings a lifetime of experience and valuable wisdom, older women especially are vulnerable to feelings of unworthiness. Feelings that they are unattractive or undeserving of attention from others, or that society no longer cares about them occupy their mind. The result is self-doubt, fear, and negative self-talk take residence during their golden years, while confidence gets evicted.
“Don’t feel bad if you can’t do everything you once did, or at the same level of intensity,” I told her during one of our coaching sessions. Adding, “It is important to stay focused on your achievements and keep growing and learning when these negative feelings arise.” After working with hundreds of women, I know that it is never too late to regain confidence. However, there is an art on how to do it so it sticks. We must address the obstacles that keep us from feeling confident, for our ambiguous friend (confidence) to reappear.
Here are 5 useful tips to get you started:
- Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to focus on one activity fully at a time. If you are cutting carrots simply enjoy the sight, sound, feeling of the activity. Don’t let your mind wander to other things that you need to do later in the day. One activity at a time– being completely mindful helps you stay in the present moment. When we are fully present we can appreciate the goodness of our lives. It is impossible to feel bad about yourself when you are enjoying the goodness around you in each and every moment.
- Become Aware of Negative Self-Talk. Whenever negative thoughts about your appearance, health, or age start to surface, pay attention to the situations that trigger them. Are you repeating old patterns? When negative thoughts emerge, find ways to challenge each specific thought through logic or reasoning. Ask, “do I really believe that to be true?” Take a moment to imagine you are standing outside of yourself observing the scene. Through this questioning, you separate yourself from your thoughts and therefore they are not a part of you.
- Practice Gratitude. Make it a game to see how many things you can find to be grateful for throughout the day. Jot them down as they happen so you don’t forget. Then before you fall asleep, re-read your list. Doing this daily will help you stay in a positive mindset. When you appreciate the things around you, you notice more good and your confidence increases.
- Smell Good. Pamper yourself with pleasant aromas that you enjoy. Perfume, flowers, candles, scented lotion. Whatever you enjoy! Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation to increasing our confidence when we smell good. Find your favorite cologne and spritz away!
- Positive Community. Who you surround yourself with matters. Find positive people who appreciate and compliment you and spend as much time as you can to be around them. Avoid negative, toxic, energy drainers from your life at all costs. If family members are the cause of negativity, limit your contact with them. Set a firm boundary that prevents them from bringing negativity into your life.
How do you deal with negative self-talk or low self-esteem?
Do you need help setting boundaries, removing self-doubt, or speaking up to be heard?
It is never too late to develop confidence. Whether you are ready to find your voice or re-enter the workplace after a change of life, these are only 5 of the numerous tips you can learn by working with a confidence coach.
Dara Connolly is the author of the new book Flip Your Fear and founder of PTC™– an award-winning confidence program for women. Dara helps women who are tired of getting talked over or ignored– speak to be heard, kick fear to curb, be TEDx confident!?
A nationally recognized expert in the field of confidence, Dara has coached over 10,000 women and has been featured on FOX, CW, The Connect Show, Dr. Laura, and other media outlets.
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