At BOOM!, we believe that women only get better as we get older.
When we say “better,” that includes it all. We can get stronger, wiser, more confident, happier, sexier, and more beautiful with age. That’s because living is a process of growth.
The more time we have on the planet, the more time we have to grow, learn, and expand.
But as we all know, society is full of messages for women that contradict that truth. Almost from birth, we’re bombarded with messages that we are most beautiful when we fit a youth-centered beauty ideal.
We’re told that our value peaks when we’re in our childbearing years, and getting older means becoming less visible, less relevant, less beautiful or less feminine.
We might know intellectually that’s a bunch of bunk, and we might even feel how those falsehoods contradict our life experience. But these messages are everywhere, so they can influence how we look at ourselves even if we don’t believe them.
These messages are so pervasive, that sometimes it’s not enough to know intellectually that we get better with age. Sometimes we have to work with ourselves—and get creative—to fully internalize what we already know about aging, and how we get happier, bolder, more confident and radiant as we get older.
So how can we contradict these messages when we find them showing up in our lives? Here are a few things I’ve found that help me embrace my age even when society tells me otherwise.
Look for beauty.
If we don’t actively develop our own perception of beauty, we can wind up defaulting to the messages of so-called “beauty” we absorb from advertising.
Being “active” means not just noticing beauty, but intentionally looking for it. This search for beauty can start in the mirror!
The other day, I noticed a silver hair right at the front of my hairline. It was more “out front” than any silver hairs I’d noticed before. And in that moment, I decided to see that silver hair as beautiful—on purpose. I took an extra minute, and noticed how it sparkled, how it reflected the light, how it contrasted with the rest of my hair.
I could have just noted it and moved on, or even stressed out about a visible gray. But instead, I took a moment to actively see it as beautiful.
We can do this in the mirror, and we can also do it with women we see around us. Try looking for the beauty in older women—you’ll find it!
Think in developmental stages.
We’re used to doing this with kids. We often think about what developmental stage a two-year-old is going through, versus a third grader, versus a teenager.
We share a wide understanding of the stages that lead to “adulthood.” We know that every phase brings new developments, new learning, new identities and strengths all throughout childhood.
But did you know that developmental phases don’t end at 22? Neuroscience now recognizes that our brains keep developing and growing in every decade of life—especially if we stretch ourselves and keep trying new things.
We don’t just “develop” in childhood. We keep evolving through every stage of life!
Cultivate a growth mindset.
This is another big one from neuroscience and the personal development world.
Studies have shown that one of the best predictors of increasing success and happiness is having a “growth mindset” rather than a “fixed mindset.” In other words, seeing life as an ongoing process of learning and change, rather than a “thing” that just “is the way it is.”
The frameworks that tell us we lose value as we age are the same frameworks that say “people just are how they are” and that our identities are fixed.
If you cultivate a mindset where you’re always growing and learning, then you’ll inevitably start seeing aging as a process of expansion!
How have you embraced new perspectives on aging? Let us know in the comments below!