Six ways to overcome the Fear of Ageing
By Ama H.Vanniarachchy
“Women not only bear the brunt of the equation of beauty with youth, we perpetuate it—every time we dye our hair to cover the gray or lie about our age, not to mention have plastic surgery to cover the signs of aging.”
– Ashton Applewhite, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism
Modern beauty standards promoted in tv commercials, the entertainment industry, and social media don’t seem to be alright. According to these standards women are expected to be dolled up all the time and look picture perfect. A pimple, acne, or a wrinkle is shown as if it is the end of the world for a woman; dark skin is shown as a hurdle to get a job opportunity or achieve career goals. But why? Do these commercials say that a woman should always force herself to look like a doll, with young, wrinkle-free fair skin, no dark circles, and bright lips, neat eyebrows, painted eyes, perfect hair, and perfect teeth? Why do these commercials and promotions always idealize a woman like this? The answer is simple; marketing their products.
The truth is, there is very little reality behind these commercials and promotions. These commercials and promotions create myths and fear against women being aging as they portray a woman’s physical appearance in a so unrealistic way. These have made us believe or feel that a woman with wrinkles, dark circles, grey hair, and dull skin is ugly and unpleasant; and women cannot be like that. The danger is that these are creating immense pressure on women, forcing them to fit into these modern unrealistic beauty standards. This pressure causes them to spend unnecessarily and use unhealthy products.
These commercials and promotions have created a fear of aging, forcing us to believe that old age makes us ‘ugly’ and ‘miserable’, therefore we must use anti-aging products and all sorts of beauty products to make us look ‘young’, and ‘desirable’.
But ladies, this is not true. There is no need to force yourself to look young and dolled up and there is no need to believe that these beauty standards are true. The truth is that you should be confident about who you are, and welcome aging with an open mind. Tons of makeup and chemical treatments are temporary, fake, and not healthy.
Aging is a natural process
Aging is a natural process and that is the reality. Everyone born in this world grows old. The fear of aging and looking old is natural and common all over the world. Thus, there is no need to put ourselves under pressure thinking about this. It is important to understand that, and no matter how many expensive products and treatments we use, this natural process cannot be stopped.
Youth is temporary as our childhood was.
There is nothing wrong with being old
As it is a natural process faced by all living things, there is nothing wrong with it. It is just another phase of our lives, just like our childhood and youth. So be ready to embrace it with an open mind. Understand and realize that there is nothing wrong with looking old, to have wrinkled skin or grey hair. No one in this world has discovered the fountain of youth.
It is important to look good, but it is more important to feel good and be good. Invest the time you spend on beauty products and treatments to focus on your inner self. Embrace your age and body as it is. Instead of spending hours and money on beauty products, attempting to fight this natural process, spend that time to love yourself. When you start to love yourself, you will learn to feel comfortable in your own skin. You will also realize that being content about yourself is important, but not to please anyone else nor look beautiful to feel validated by others.
Do not compare yourself
There is no need to compare yourself with what you see on social media or tv commercials. You and you and accept it. We all are different and unique human beings. This uniqueness should be understood and accepted. There is no need to follow someone who is looking ‘beautiful in front of the camera’.
Take care of your mental and physical health
It is more important to be healthy, physically and mentally. To be physically healthy, eat well, drink plenty of water, stay fit and most importantly be clean. Have a balanced diet. Make it a habit to be clean. Cleanliness is not only keeping your body clean but also your environment. Make sure your clothes are clean, house, garden, workplace, etc.
Make it a habit to walk outside, be close to nature. Gardening is a great way to keep up your mental health. As we grow old, to feel depressed or the fear of loneliness is natural. This is why having hobbies and socializing is important. Stress and depression are major factors that have a negative impact on our physical appearance. Therefore, maintaining good mental health is important. Arts and crafts, gardening, having a pet, reading books, participating in charity, meditation, and yoga, religious or spiritual activities helps you maintain your mental health.
Do not wait till you retire or most of your loved ones are gone, to start preparing yourself to face aging. It is always better to start now; start practicing self-love, adopt good health habits, be fit, meditate and do yoga, make the best use of time by spending them on fruitful tasks, etc.
The trick is, when your mind is trained in your younger days, you will not have to struggle when you are actually aging; it will be a smooth, graceful phase of your life.
“A mature man does not lament aging, engage in adoration of the self through cosmetic treatments, and partake of drug therapy to prolong his virility. An independent thinker does not capitulate to societal pressures or other forms of coercion.
– Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls