Friday, 9 September 2016

MIDLIFE ROCKS! ~ Finding The Real Me

Midlife Rocks! ~ Finding who you really are - having confidence in yourself and liking yourself

AUTHENTICITY

One of the biggest lessons midlife has taught me over the last few years is how empowering authenticity is. Once I gave up trying to be what I thought others expected me to be, my life opened up and the sense of relief was palpable. It took a weight off my shoulders that I didn't even realize I was carrying. No expectations is so liberating!

ACT LIKE A LADY?

I read a post recently from Michelle
 (who writes at Rubber Shoes In Hell) about being ladylike and how that concept is restrictive and confines women into a box that can be so minimizing to who we really are. We come from an era where we were taught to act like ladies and I know I tried hard to conform to an expectation for years. How restrictive and how wrong is it to behave in a way that meets some unreal expectation from an unknown origin? Who decides what's ladylike or what is the norm? Whoever it is doesn't get to tell me about it any more - I think after 50+ years, I have earned the right to decide who I am and how that translates into my interactions with others.

Being part of a church and all the niceties that go with being a Christian woman can be so stifling to someone like me who didn't grow up in that world. I struggled for a long time to be all that a nice church woman should be, but midlife has brought me full circle and I can now just say - "this is me, take me or leave me". If you don't like the colour of my hair or my worldview or my tattoos or my turn of phrase, I'm really sorry but we can't be friends - we can agree to disagree, but I'm not changing to fit your box. It is so freeing and it is so pleasant to just be "me" and not someone else's version of "me".

50 YEARS OF LESSONS

Being authentic and being true to yourself breeds self-confidence. I can't go back to being the uncertain person I was a decade ago. I don't want to vacillate between several different personas depending on who I am with at any given time. I want to be free to be me and enjoy who I have become through life's ups and downs. I've had 50 years to get where I am today and those years have taught me a lot - I'm not going to waste those lessons by trying to compete with others or wish myself back to being 20 again.


it's time to give up the idea of who you think you're supposed to be ~ Zen to Zany
Who you really are ~ Zen to Zany

IT'S NOT A COMPETITION

I mentioned back in my first Midlife Rocks! post that a friend asked me how I had such a good sense of self worth. What I've learned in midlife is that self worth is something you can develop, it's never too late to be the person you are capable of being. I read dozens of blogs and they are all different, they are written by people who are thriving and wanting to share their love of life with others. It's not a competition, it's not a race, it's all about sharing the journey and encouraging each other along the way.

I catch up with various friends - some weekly, some monthly, some randomly when we get a moment in our busy schedules. Every one of my friends is their own person, they are doing what they love and they are doing it well. They are all midlifers and most are empty nesters. None of them are sitting around feeling sorry for themselves or trying to maintain what they had before, they are out there finding new interests, working the hours they want, travelling, contributing, and generally having a great time. What is there not to love about this time of life?

OWNING WHO I AM

Leaving all your preconceived ideas of who you are supposed to be on the doorstep and living with who you actually are is just the beginning. Once you take ownership of the real you, then your choices become easier - you think "would I like this?" or "does this interest me?" or "is this worth my time?" or even "so what's the worst that can happen?" These questions are so much more empowering than "what would people think?" or "should I be doing this?" or "what if it doesn't work out?" 

I'm getting so much better at thinking "Who gives a toss?" and getting on with my life. I don't live selfishly, I just live a life where I am more conscious of who I am and what is authentically me and my values. This actually leads to being more selfless in my choices because there is less resentment - I'm doing something because it is what I feel committed to and what resonates with me, rather than acting under obligation or trying to "do the right thing". I can't think of a better motivation than being authentic and wanting to share that with the world. What do you think?


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Midlife Rocks! ~ Finding who you really are - having confidence in yourself and liking yourself

44 comments:

  1. Isn't it liberating Leanne? I wish I had known all of this 30 years ago when I was a self-conscious girl who never felt good enough. At least we have arrived and now can enjoy the rest of our lives.

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    1. I'm the same Sue - all those years of lack of confidence - it's such a waste in a way, but it makes me appreciate these years now - and as you say, the rest of my life is still ahead!

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  2. "Ladylike" has never resonated with me. Just saying. ;-)))))
    Carol

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    1. I don't know Carol, I think there's a lady in there - just not the stereotype "lady" - and that's wonderful!

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  3. Bravo! Standing ovation!! Lady like? fuck that ;-) I'll be 53 in 2 months and I'm loving my mid life!!

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    1. Succinctly put Peggy - no more lady like and lots more authenticity and getting out there and being real!

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  4. I have always embraced "who" I was and now who I am...but it wasn't until I got rid of my husband that I really found out. He held me back and wanted me to fit in his idea of who I was. And that wasn't good enough.

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    1. That can happen so easily Renee - where we gradually find we've made ourselves smaller trying to keep someone else happy - ain't nobody got time for that! :)

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  5. It's so great, isn't it? As I leave my 50's and move on to the next decade I can tell you that in this regard, it gets better and better. I say what I want, I do what I want and I encourage all those around me, including my daughters to get into being you. It's a spectacular love affair!!

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    1. I think our daughters are so blessed to have examples of midlife women thriving - they can see it gets better and better and it's all about developing into yourself and becoming a whole and happy woman.

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  6. Such a great post! Ditto to all of it. I love being me! A friend who was a social psychologist paid me the ultimate compliment once: she said "you are always the same person in all situations, you are truly authentic". Isn't that terrific??

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    1. That is a HUGE compliment Tam - I'm working on that being the case for me too. If we are content in ourselves then we don't feel the need to adjust to every situation - so liberating!

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  7. Yes, yes, and yes again! The only one-size-fits-all that I subscribe to is BE YOURSELF, whoever that is and whatever form of expression it takes. Great post, Leanne, so wise and well-written!

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    1. Thanks so much Lee - I love that we're all different but there is a place for all of us. It's a wonderful time of life to be discovering this (although sometimes I wish I'd figured it out a bit earlier!)

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  8. It is so liberating -- and refreshing -- to finally discard those societal norms. Done trying to be ladylike!

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    1. Me too Helene! I'm not sure when or how we took those norms to heart, but I bet they weren't put in place by women who were confident in themselves - rather by people who were trying way too hard!

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  9. Amen to everything you just said, Leanne! And I really like to ask myself the question "What's the worst that can happen?" Very liberating. Great post!

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    1. It's a great question isn't it Cathy? Because often we avoid something because we have worry about it way too much - usually the worst is a lot less than we imagined.

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  10. I totally agree with you----it is a liberating time of life. I feel so much more free to say and do as I please. This was a great post, Leanne!

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    1. Thanks so much Marcia - I'm the same - just enjoying the freedom to be myself and let others take me or leave me. Strangely enough I haven't really lost that many people along the way!

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  11. Well, I can't say I've ever acted "ladylike!" That doesn't seem to be me - and I'm happy about that!

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    1. You haven't missed anything Lois :)

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  12. The idea of finding the real me mystifies me. I can'd be anything but!
    carol

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    1. I'm getting there Carol - I just needed to learn the things you absorbed by osmosis :)

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  13. It's so empowering to get to the point in your life where you just don't care if other people are happy with your choices! Thanks for joining us at #Fridayfrivolity this week!

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    1. It is a lovely feeling isn't it Lisa?

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  14. I love that we can keep working on our confidence. It is not a set point, but a mindset.

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    1. Perfect - it's definitely a mindset Anna - we determine our own confidence and that's so liberating!

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  15. Are you sure you don't have a sister in CA?! I can so relate to these points. It's not a competition. It's taken me such a long time to realize that simple fact. The only person I'm competing with is myself. That person in the mirror. If I can look at myself and know that I've done my best, tried my best and fulfilled my potential then that's all i need!

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    1. I think there were several of us separated at birth Rosie - and we all deal with the same issues. It's nice to think we're coming out of the tunnel and owning ourselves - it's a great feeling isn't it?

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  16. I just finished saying the same thing...I'm sick of having to deal with bs that is unimportant, and fake behaviors. I'm living life real now!

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    1. Fake and all the piddly stuff are just so not happening in my world any more. When I find myself slipping back there I just think "no way!"

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  17. Leanne, Don't you find that so much of self-worth is about taking away rather than adding to? We take away what doesn't fit anymore and keep what does. I love your uplifting, inspiring posts.

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    1. I read a great quote about life being about "unbecoming" all the things that you don't need to be and I loved it Laurie - it's easier to let go than to keep struggling and adding extra layers.

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  18. I think midlife is liberating, Leanne. I don't care what other people think and I do feel I am able to be more authentic, without pretenses. Writing has helped me further free my spirit and not worry what others think. My biggest critic is the one I look at in the mirror each day. If I could just get her off my back, I'd be a free woman!

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    1. I'm the same Molly - I hate how self critical I can be at times, but blogging has certainly pushed that person more into the background and let the more positive elements of my character come out - I love that (and all my blogging friends!)

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  19. Very wise words. I agree about the concept of being ladylike. And I think it is so important to try to avoid treating life like a competition.

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    1. It's such a myth isn't it? I like that we can kick those ideas to the curb and start just being real women doing what is positive and helpful and not always conforming.

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  20. Love the spirit and spunk Leanne.

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    1. Thanks Gary - that's high praise from you :)

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  21. I very much agree!! Be authentic, live your life for you, and if others aren't happy with that, OH WELL! :-)

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    1. I couldn't agree more - if they don't like the real you then why would you want to be in the same circles. Move on and let them find others who fit their box. :)

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  22. I say take me or leave me! Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Remember to laugh often. It is a great cardio exercise!

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