Low self esteem is on the rise
Low self esteem in older women – particularly around looks and appearance – is on the increase, according to a recent study. And it’s hardly surprising really, given the increasing focus on how we perceive that we ‘should’ look.
Social media pressures
All those lines and supposed ‘imperfections’ are out there for the world to see, and once you get to a certain age even the fiercest of filters struggle to hide them.
But is it really so important to retain a perfectly smooth face and youthful appearance, no matter how old you are?
Wrinkles don’t hurt, after all – although you’d imagine they were lethal, by the way the media presents them.
For a long time now I’ve been growing increasingly frustrated at the way society portrays women – older women in particular.
It seems that the slightest sign of aging is looked upon with horror or disdain.
There are a million fancy face lotions out there pre-fixed with the word ‘flawless’. Are we really so flawed; so damaged – simply because we’ve survived a few extra years on the planet?
We’re taught that we should hide these ‘flaws’ immediately, using expensive creams, botox or other interventions. Is it any wonder that low self esteem is so common amongst women?
Hollywood actresses don’t seem to be allowed the tiniest of lines on their face before they’re pressured into having ‘work’ done.
Models in magazines are photoshopped to impossibly perfect standards.
Photos on Instagram have been put through all the necessary filters until they’re of an acceptable standard to face the world.
New societal norm
This results in a new societal norm: we look around and see female celebrities with the same perfectly smooth faces, no matter whether they’re 18 or 60.
This can have a powerful effect on our psyche as women. We look in the mirror and see those lines that naturally appear as we age, but somehow they don’t look right to us.
What age does low self esteem strike?
Is low self esteem really related to how old we are – or is it simply to do with our own thought processes?
I’ve had clients of all ages with low self esteem, for many different reasons. These include women in their 20s who tell me they’re too old and that life has passed them by…. beautiful women who are convinced they’re ugly…. women of a perfectly normal weight who still feel they should ‘lose a few pounds’…. women in their forties and fifties who look amazing for their age, but who still feel they look ‘too old’.
These women all have one thing in common: they feel like they’re not good enough.
These thoughts may seem irrational to others, but when you’re faced with a constant barrage of fake perfection then the low self esteem starts to make sense.
Heading further from reality
As the media continues to promote an idealised image of women who are ‘forever young’, we head further and further away from the reality of what it really means to be old.
We may dread the thought of it, feeling as though we’ll be washed up and spat out once society has no further use for us.
And if society tells us we’re useless after a certain age – what’s the underlying message here? That our only use is bearing children, and that once we’re no longer fertile then we cease to have a purpose in life? Don’t women have far more to offer than that?
What does ‘getting old’ really represent?
As I head into my fiftieth year on this planet, I reflect on how I feel today, as opposed to how I felt when I was 20. I have to say, I feel more confident, more self-assured and more self-reliant now than I ever did back then. And thanks to a healthy diet and lifestyle, I even feel healthier now than I did then – both in mind and body.
It’s a good feeling, and I wouldn’t give any of it up to go back to how I was when I was young.
Yes, my face has plenty of lines on it, but when I look in the mirror I remind myself of what caused them: too much laughter, too much sunshine, and too many crazy parties during my misspent youth… I wouldn’t give any of those memories up in return for a blank vacuous face without a mark or line anywhere on it.
Life is about growth, experience, and transformation
Life is about growth, experience, and learning lessons along the way. It’s not natural to stay stagnant; stuck in the same place forever. It’s a universal human trait to want to transform and expand. Our faces and bodies transform with us as the years go by – and that’s ok, isn’t it?
So if you’re an older woman with low self-esteem, here’s my gift to you: a relaxing guided self-hypnosis for you to listen to whenever you feel like reminding yourself of your power, wisdom, and magic.
(NB: please ensure you’re in a safe comfortable space while listening. Don’t listen while driving or doing anything that requires concentration, as this can be an extremely relaxing process and you may drift off to sleep)
Low Self Esteem in Women – Guided Self-Hypnosis
Further individual support
If you’d like further support to help with low self esteem, get in touch to discuss working with me personally. I use a unique blend of holistic therapies to help you build your confidence, increase low self-esteem, and step into your true power as a woman.
We can work via online video (eg Skype or Zoom), over the telephone, or face-to-face if you’re in the Glasgow area.
Lisa Murphy is a counsellor and hypnotherapist based in Glasgow who specialises in anxiety, anger management, and weight loss.