One day you look in the mirror and think: “Where has my youth gone?” The face and the body change but, instead of abandoning ourselves or wanting to recover the aspect of the past in an obsessive way, we must vindicate the charisma that experience gives us.
To abandon yourself is not to accept yourself. Neither is obsessing over staying young. At bottom, both positions suppose an attack and a rejection. In maturity, a vital phase, having a certain nostalgia for the past, for how we were and how we feel, falls within the normal range. The problem arises, when the acceptance of the passage of time is conspicuous by its absence, and we enter the loop of thinking about what we could have done and did not do, or what we could before and not now.
Maturity entails the mourning of what was and will no longer be, to open ourselves to new experiences from being as we are now and not from the youthful ideal. And we can continue to enjoy and lead a full life.
When it comes to taking into account vital stages where body changes occur that can cause discomfort and body dissatisfaction, adolescence always appears as an example. Attention is paid to this evolutionary stage as an example of maximum vulnerability, of being careful and vigilant to avoid mental health problems such as anorexia and bulimia.
CONCERN FOR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE IN MATURITY
We can consider maturity as the state in which the fullness of development is reached. In people it is usually estimated that it is reached between 40 and 60 years.
The passage of time shows physiological changes that are not always assumed naturally. There is a myth that with age the concern for physical appearance decreases. That’s not true. There is increasing evidence that the passage of time alone and in isolation has no effect on body satisfaction. What does happen is that women tend to have a worse perception of body image at any age, and that body satisfaction goes hand in hand with life satisfaction.
Body image is the somatic perception that each person has of himself, and it is very subjective. Body satisfaction is a decisive variable in self-esteem, and it is highly influenced by social pressure, which is also highly variable over time.
If you look at it, the majority in advertising are young and slim models (often underweight). It seems that people over 40 do not exist. Maturity is not represented. And it means moving away from the ideal of beauty and aesthetics that is characterized everywhere, where the young and beautiful stands out and universalizes.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE REJECT OUR BODY?
The body is not something alien, we are body, and the acceptance of our body part is acceptance itself. After all, it is our home, our support and our structure. His rejection is the rejection of much of who we are.
This lack of representativeness can make us feel that we do not fit into that normative model. After 40 we can look in the mirror and feel that we have nothing to do with those young and beautiful models. We observe ourselves and detect sagging breasts, stretch marks, scars, spots, wrinkles. and we feel that we do not like ourselves, that we are increasingly different from the beauty models that surround us.
The lack of protagonism can be perceived as a lack of social value, and therefore, a lack of personal value. If we add vulnerability factors to that, we can reach maturity with self-esteem problems and a very negative self-concept.
It would be good to claim more the wisdom that age and the charisma that life experience can bring.
It is a pity that everything that maturity can bring is overshadowed by the disparity between how we feel and perceive, and the lack of social symbolization. That seniority is not valued.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO ACCEPT OUR AGE?
The relationship with our body part should focus more on health and well-being, and less on aesthetics. We have to accept and take care of ourselves even if we don’t like each other, and stop denying and mistreating ourselves in order to approach a more friendly treatment focused on real needs and not the “imposed” ones.
You have to learn to live with the body structure that has touched us and give it the necessary care, despite not being our ideal. This can be a process not without complications, and to achieve this it may help you to work on some aspects.
Don’t forget to take time to get to know yourself in every vital moment. What do you need? What makes you feel good? Body satisfaction has a great influence on mood. But you are more than the envelope: there are thoughts, attitudes, desires, relationships, behaviors, feelings. Why limit yourself so much?
Set real goals:
- The body changes, accept it. It is not possible to stop the impact of the passage of time, but we can take good care of ourselves.
- It is not a question of willpower to be more or less young. There are aspects that we cannot control. No matter how much you oppose, you cannot slow down the pace of life. Your body is going to change and you won’t always be able to avoid things that you don’t like.
- There is nothing wrong with you. Even if you change or have difficulty doing things you used to do. Nature takes its course, so instead of struggling to be in a way that you are not, enjoy your abilities now.
- Everybody is different. Body diversity is the norm. Stop chasing an ideal of eternal youth and take care of yourself in the best way, without hurting yourself. Focus on what your body is capable of, rather than what it looks like.
- Self-love is not achieved by criticizing and judging ourselves, it is achieved from acceptance and good treatment. Stop chasing after loving yourself when you initially hate yourself. Set less ambitious goals and start by focusing on not rejecting everything about yourself. Learn to appreciate the role that your body dimension fulfills for you.
If you are feeling very unhappy or miserable, or deeply unhappy, it may be time to ask a professional for help.