The ageing process is something all of us are going to experience, if we’re lucky, and taking a pragmatic view of the process is important.
With so much on the Internet and in the press about health and how to prolong or regain it, there is little left to share. Our inner self, however, is a different matter.
As we approach middle age and the ensuing years, it would seem inevitable that by then we should be brimming with self-belief and able to conquer anything. For some, however, this is not always the case.
What could bring about this lack of self-belief?
Our health can play a big part in this, because if we’re aware of any degenerative elements affecting our well being, it precipitates anxiety that things will only get worse. This, by default, reduces our level of confidence and our ability to feel on top of things.
Working alongside younger and seemingly more up-to-date colleagues can play havoc with our self-esteem. There is always the fear they might be perceived to be two-steps ahead of us.
These are just two areas that can bring about the fear of ‘not being good enough’. Unfortunately, if you’re feeling as though you’re not as worthy as you once were, the chances are it will be reflected in your performance.
With this in mind, confidence is a quality, which can be seriously lacking in older people. Feeling ‘ignored’ or ‘invisible’ is a common analogy, and can be seriously undermining for some. This may be more a state of mind rather than an actuality, but nonetheless can seriously alter a person’s perception of their self-worth.
Maintaining our health and appearance are key elements, which can help us to keep a valuable presence wherever we may find ourselves. However, it is important to truly ‘feel the part’ for the magic to work.
You might be thinking confidence is a quality that was the preserve of your younger self: but no such thing. We can rebuild our confidence, although it does mean applying extra effort into how we present ourselves to the world.
So what can we do to achieve self-confidence?
My first recommendation is to find a mirror with enough space in front of it for you to walk towards yourself in your usual way. Take a critical view of what you see. Turn sideways and check to see that you’re not hanging your head. Posture is key and unless we have some sort of health issue preventing us from standing up straight, it’s crucial we walk tall.
What expression are you wearing? Do you look glum and indifferent? Or do you look focused and intent on where you’re going and what you’re doing? Is your mouth open or closed? It definitely shouldn’t be open! (The ‘gormless’ look is not a good one.)
Are your clothes and shoes clean? You don’t have to look like a fashion icon, but it’s important to look as though you’ve taken some thought with your appearance. Quirky or smart, it doesn’t matter, but clean and considered does.
Always have a last minute check before you leave home to make sure you haven’t dropped cornflakes down your front. Are there holes in your socks/a ladder in your tights? Are your shoes clean? Be sure that you look your best!
Maintaining eye contact when talking to someone is very important.
Never rush what you’re saying. Speak clearly and you’re much more likely to get your point across.
Reflecting upon and mastering your inner-self
As a mature person you have a wealth of personal experience to call upon. Use this experience to your advantage.
Reflect upon your achievements, including any fears you may have overcome. Let these be your ‘spur’ to achieving more.
Set yourself goals and be determined to reach them. By really applying yourself to whatever your current ambition may be you can get the result you want. When you do, you will feel great!
When faced with a problem, try not to be anxious. Before a major event, apply some mindfulness techniques to ensure you remain present and in the moment. Deep breathing and connecting with your surroundings can help you stay calm and this will reassure others around you in times of crisis or unease.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. A weakness could hold you back from something you really want and it’s worth trying to overcome it. Recognising something you’re good at and using it to your advantage will initiate faith and earn you the respect you deserve.
The more we achieve success, the greater our confidence will grow.
Accept that rejections and errors of judgement are an inevitable part of life – and we all experience them. Learn from mistakes and then the experience will have been useful.
Once self-confidence has been mastered or reaffirmed, your life will change for the better. You will feel much more able to accept the changes expected as you grow older. Problems you had ignored because you thought you were not up to them, become challenges you are comfortable about taking on.
You might not recognise the mature, older man or woman looking back at you from the mirror, but learn to love yourself and who you are and the world will love you too.
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