HEADING TOWARDS MY SIXTIES WITH SELF-ACCEPTANCE AND A SMILE

What is the one thing worth working on over the year ahead? For me it's self-acceptance and the freedom it brings.
 

WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR IN THE NEXT DECADE?

It was my birthday last month, and it was the last one in my 50's - yes.... I am now officially 59 and looking at finishing out another decade of life. I've been asking myself over the last few weeks, what it is that I want to set in place in preparation to embarking on my sixties. Basically, what ongoing issue do I need to finally get sorted?

I keep circling back to words like self-confidence, self-love, self-worth, and self-esteem, because I feel like I still haven't attained that inner sense of self-assuredness that I see in so many other women of my age. I can put on the mask and pretend to be confident, but underneath there's still that little voice in my head that tells me it's not real and I'm not comfortable in my sense of "self". I'm not sure what's lacking, but I'm planning on doing something proactive over the next year to finally step into being relaxed and confident in who I am - no more pretending.

CHOOSING TO FOCUS ON SELF-ACCEPTANCE

I've given this whole area a lot of thought and talked to my husband (the Family Counsellor) to get his input into my ongoing struggle in this area. I told him that I needed to work on my self-esteem so that I could boost my self-confidence. His reply was to point out that maybe I was looking in the wrong place and pushing for something that might not achieve the results I was hoping for. He said he tells his clients that self-acceptance is a better goal because it allows us to accept both our positive and negative attributes.

Self-esteem and self-confidence can continually experience setbacks if we feel like we have a fault or failing. The perfectionist in me hates it when something goes wrong and my confidence always takes a hit in the process. By stepping away from basing my worth on being good at everything, and accepting that there are areas I still need to work on (and that's okay), I can ease up the pressure on myself and start turning off that inner critic who always has far to much to say for herself, and that's where self-acceptance comes into play.

I thought becoming myself was improving each part piece by piece. But it was finding a hidden wholeness seeing the fractures as the design.” — Brianna Wiest

BEGINNING THE SELF-ACCEPTANCE JOURNEY

I've been doing some reading on how to embrace self-acceptance and firstly it's about acknowledging both the good and the not so good parts of myself - to not expect perfection, and to allow myself to be a human with all the associated fears and flaws. It's about allowing myself to make mistakes, and not letting those mistakes define me.

Darlene Lancer defines self-acceptance really well
Unlike self-esteem which varies, self-acceptance is steady and unconditional. You accept yourself despite your flaws, failures, and limitations. You’re more self-forgiving and let go of self-judgment. It includes self-forgiveness and overcoming guilt. Instead of comparing yourself to others, both positively and negatively, you appreciate your singular individuality. You feel that you’re enough without having to improve upon yourself.

Self-acceptance works wonders. Once you start accepting yourself, you gradually stop worrying what others think and become more spontaneous and natural. Self-acceptance is what allows you to be authentic. You can finally relax, and allow more of the inner, real you to be seen. You’ll have no shame or fear of revealing yourself when you accept yourself unconditionally. 

WORKING TOWARDS SELF-ACCEPTANCE

The quote above from Darlene opened my eyes to several areas I need to work on:

    1. Accepting my flaws and limitations - not expecting perfection.
    2. Forgiving myself when I fail and not being such a harsh critic/judge of myself.
    3. Stepping away from comparing myself to others - a constant battle.
    4. Recognizing I'm enough without having to constantly earn approval.
    5. Being true to myself, and not worrying about the opinions of others.
    6. Relaxing my own expectations and alllowing the real "me" to be seen.

It comes down to having faith in myself, and turning off the inner critic. If I can free myself from that inner voice, and step away from seeking the approval of others, then I can begin the process of settling into the idea that I'm fully capable of facing any challenge that comes my way, and I can choose my own path through life without having to justify it to anyone. I can be quietly confident in my own "self" and settle into a more self-assured way of living my life.

WHAT SELF-ACCEPTANCE WILL MEAN IN MY SIXTIES

I think mastering self-acceptance will be the key to really enjoying my sixties. If I can finally shed the inner compulsion to run everything through my "what will other people think?" filter, then I can start relaxing into how I want my next decade to unfold. If I can let go of comparisons then I can allow others to do as much or as little with their lives as they choose, while I get on with living the life that feels right to me.

You're allowed to get up one day and just decide to change who you are.

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to claim my confidence. I don't even know how I lost it in the first place! But, I do know that I don't want to live the next decade (and onwards) second guessing myself and waiting for the approval of others. I want to create my own path, live on my own terms, be my own person, make my own choices, and bear the consequences. I won't be perfect - far from it - but I'll be content and at peace with myself - you can't ask for much more than that can you?

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you innately self-confident? Do you stride through life without a care and never get caught up in self-criticism? Or are you still finding your inner-calm and learning to silence the critic inside your head? I'm planning on big changes next year - maybe you can join me and we can work through getting our self-acceptance sorted out at last.

RELATED POSTS


What is the one thing worth working on over the year ahead? For me it's self-acceptance and the freedom it brings.

To keep up to date with my posts, feel free to add your email into the spot especially for it on my sidebar and I'd love you to share this post by clicking on a share button before you go xx
This post was shared at some of these great link parties
Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive
What is the one thing worth working on over the year ahead? For me it's self-acceptance and the freedom it brings.
to remember who you are, you have to forget who they told you to be


46 comments

  1. I immediately liked your title, Leanne. I don’t know whether that little voice in my head totally disappears, second guessing some of the decisions in my life. I do have more tools under my belt to manage the self talk. Wow, a very wise husband, and an even wiser wife, when you communicate these feelings with your husband. “....accepting both our positive and negative attributes” resonates with me. It reminds me of the concept of sometimes staying detached and watching myself. Difficult to put into words. Sort of when my ‘spirit’ Erica watches ‘human’ Erica interact with life and challenges.

    I love Brianna Wiest’s quote. You remind me of Leonard Cohen’s saying in how the light gets in. I love being over sixty, yet I am still learning to silence the inner critic at times. Hopefully to a lesser degree. I suspect my journey of self discovery will not be over until I fully become my ‘spirit’ Erica. In the meantime, Leanne, I made some homemade ‘chippies’ in your honour for tonight.xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoyed those chippies Erica - I had fish and chips last night because I was tired and grumpy from my sore leg and from trying to get things "Christmas ready" - it was my comfort/reward I think. You're so right too about this journey being a constant one of self discovery and learning. I don't think I'll get there before I'm "spirit Leanne" too, but if I can figure out how to turn the inner voice into a cheerleader instead of a judgemental crone, then I'll have done well I think. x

      Delete
    2. Your response gave me goosebumps, once again, Leanne. I can be a cheerleader for friends, yet often not for myself. I will save this gem and work with it. Re: chippies - my friend "google" put me onto a recipe where sugar is sprinkled on the fries first for 30 minutes helping release moisture. Patted dry and oven baked. Tasty, crispy results. xx

      Delete
  2. My inner critic is an absolute nag and talks all the time, I mean ALL the time. I need to learn to tell him to just shut up already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too Jo - or figuring out how to change the dialogue into something positive and encouraging would be even better - I need a "go girl" voice instead of a "what were you thinking?" voice!

      Delete
  3. Ah yes, I remember reading about self-acceptance in the realm of 'body acceptance' and the concept that you can accept yourself while still recognising you might have some evolving, growing (or shrinking!!!) to do. I like that concept though guess it's a balance to not constantly feel like a piece of work in progress.

    I'm not innately confident. For a long time my confidence (as a whole) was diminished by how I felt about my physicality. I eventually was able to separate them and knew that I did a good job and could excel in certain things while being unfit and super overweight and feeling unattractive. I think that's suffered a bit though since I've been unemployed. That part of me that still felt as if it was 'worthy' is slowly disappearing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a battle isn't it Deb? I envy women who have that innate sense of confidence and a complete disregard for the judgements of others. I seem to have a needy school girl living in my head who is constantly looking at herself and wanting to be "more". I figure it's got to stop sometime, so why not aim for my 50's to be the end of it, and a new and more self-accepting persona to emerge by the time 60 slaps me over the back of the head. It must be do-able - it's just figuring out the "how" that's giving me trouble....

      Delete
  4. Leanne, You've got two excellent resources: Your husband's advice and Darlene's definition of self-acceptance. Believe in yourself and embrace your uniqueness and individuality every day. #lifethisweek

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right Natalie - I think I need to put her quote up next to the bathroom mirror and read it every morning to remind myself that it's okay to not be perfect and it's even more than okay to just be "me" :)

      Delete
  5. I still have my self critical moments Leanne but when I reached my sixties self acceptance kicked in. It does take the pressure off. Looking forward to whatever it is you have planned for next year #lifethisweek

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer - I want to be able to say that self-acceptance kicked in at 60 too. That's my goal and I have a year to position myself and be ready for it! :)

      Delete
  6. Hi Leanne, I agree that self acceptance has to do with being authentic and being ok with our faults as well as the good traits. Even though I feel I am authentic, I still judge myself harshly so that's an area I need to work on. Happy birthday, I hope you had a lovely day, regards Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christina - it does seem to be an area a lot of us struggle with - that darn inner critic needs a slapping! I'm really going to work on consciously catching myself out when I'm being self-critical and start changing my inner dialogue - it's about time I started cheering instead of critiquing every move I make.

      Delete
  7. Hi Leanne. Christina Daggett here. I'm also working on silencing that inner crtic. I like this idea of self-accetance. It's seems like a much more attainable goal. Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christina - how are the renovations going? I'd love to see an update on where you're at. And yes, I really appreciated the idea of not having to attain some degree of perfection before starting to feel more assured. Accepting that I'm on a journey really resonates with me. x

      Delete
  8. This made me think of the quote "fake it till you make it" which is how I've lived a lot of my life - faking the self-confidence and hoping that someday I'll make it. That I will stop the Compare & Despair, the I'm not enough thinking, and the need to external validation. Two things that are helping me in my own quest for self-acceptance are affirmations and being more aware of the inner voice. I do think I'm getting better, but feel a lot of times I'm still faking it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat - I feel like my life over the last couple of decades has definitely been based on the fake it til you make it mantra.....and you know what? I'm over it. I want my inner voice to match my outer persona and to have that innate sense of self-worth that I seem to be missing. I also really need to shut down the inner critic - that's going to be a big one for me!

      Delete
  9. Leanne, it is nice to have the angst of the 50's well in my rearview mirror. That decade proved to be more of a challenge for me than any other. Half way through my 60's, I still love it, and I am especially proud of the woman I became somewhere along the way. I'm not ready to stop wearing make-up, let my hair go gray and wear baggy clothes, but I feel pretty good about all the rest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suzanne it's comments like yours that are making turning 60 so much more appealing to me. I feel like my 50's have been a decade of trying to figure out what was missing - you know....when you wake up from a coma and have to get up and do life again. I think I've gotten some reasonable progress, but I just want to kick that last niggling insecurity to the kerb and get on with living life really well - you inspire me to believe it's possible and it will be great when I get there! x

      Delete
  10. Wise words from The Counsellor. I have had a life-long struggle like you, for self-confidence. I may never have that confidence I admire in other women but I have finally come to a good place where I am self-accepting.
    I wore too tight pants today. And it bothered me post of the morning while I was wearing them. But I liked the outfit as a whole and I reminded myself that I am tracking my Weight Watcher's points and starting to exercise again.
    When I came home from shopping, I put on a tank top (and sweat shirt over it). I noticed my arms in the mirror. Had been working on improving their tone before Covid. Silently chastised myself for a second for letting my 'bat-wings' return. But then I reminded my harshest critic (me) that I am working out again. They will look more like arms and less like wings soon.
    It is ongoing for me. Little conversations/battles, day in and day out. But overall I like myself, accept myself better now than ever before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leslie - I think the "little conversations" inside my head are the things that have really been the biggest hold backs for me. I need (like you) to turn those little self criticisms into more accurate self awareness and acknowledgements that I'm doing my best and I'm doing a good job. Once that becomes the norm for me, I can see my life really moving forward - roll on 2021 - I have big plans!

      Delete
  11. I think your husband gave you some good advice, Leanne. We all feel twinges of doubt and self-criticism now and then. I used to be more self-confident than I am now. I think the pandemic has a lot to do with it. The lockdowns have caused a fair amount of anxiety, which affects my self-acceptance. I think one of the best things I ever did (for me) was start to run. It gives me some successes that are just for me, which help my self-confidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laurie - I'm not sure I'll ever be a runner - I've tried a few times and given up in frustration. But I totally get what you're saying about having some little successes to cheer yourself on with - I think I'm going to start looking for mine and focusing on all that I CAN do, rather than the things that I feel I'm not doing all that well.

      Delete
  12. Another great blog Leanne! I love your openeness and willingness to share your thoughts with us. I always learn something from reading your words. I agree that self-acceptance is a great goal. We can only really change (if that's what we want) if we first accept ourselves the way we are now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't realise I'll show as unknown...it's Birgit Patenall :-)

      Delete
    2. Hi Birgit I was so excited to read your FB post and see how you've leapt into this new stage of life. It's so exciting for you to be stretching yourself and growing and I will be cheering you on all the way. I think we often don't give ourselves credit for knowing what we want and what we're capable of - but when we do......watch out!

      Delete
  13. Some real gems here Leanne. It seems there are many more of us in the same boat than we realised! Your post resonated with me in lots of ways and I am often taken over by 'who I think I should be' rather than 'who I am'. I'm turning 60 in just a few days so I'm hoping I turn the corner and get some clarity on where I'm heading. I'll keep you posted :) #lifethisweek

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deb - I think it's something that will be a gradual process - "it won't happen overnight but it will happen!" A lot of us were late to the self-confidence party, but that doesn't mean we can't make the most of the next few decades - we're going to rock our 60's!!

      Delete
  14. Hi Leanne! You have so much to look forward to! I turned 60 five years ago and for whatever reason it was a real turning point for me (like several other commenters have pointed out.) I'm not as far as I want to be in terms of total self acceptance but compared to where i started I am pretty far along. Of course, what's the saying, "It takes as long as it takes?" I just know that with the right intention it will happen. And isn't it great with a blog that we get to share our journeys with each other. ~Kathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kathy - thank you so much for your encouraging words. I'm surprised at how many women say that 60 was that mark in the sand when they really let go and started owning who they are and loving the journey that resulted from it. I want to be part of that tribe! I look to you and many of the others and see you living such rich and full lives and speaking (and blogging) so confidently - that's my aim and I know I'm going to get there because I'm already on the way xx

      Delete
  15. Hi, Leanne - I like Darlene's quote. I wholeheartedly agree that it is more than okay not to be perfect. Just imagine what a uniform, boring world it would be if we all were! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great point Donna - and why do I put so much pressure on myself to be something I'm not even sure I truly want to be (nobody likes perfect people!) So I'm going to own my good bits and my bad bits and keep on being a work in progress.....but with the disclaimer that I'm going to enjoy the journey instead of second guessing myself all the time!

      Delete
  16. Here's the thing. No-one has the self-confidence game licked. No-one. Behind every so-called confident looking/acting person there will be a doubt, an inner critic and who knows what else. I see that your husband's advice was spot on (you and I won that lottery with our men who are also counsellor-trained!) and I think that if you can continue to let go of timelines (e g I will be confident by my next birthday) and just enjoy so much more of the present. Nothing comes quickly or as noticeably changed but over time, when you reflect I bet you will see and feel differently. Take care, and hope you leg is better soon.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week is the last Share Your Snaps for 2020 and then only one week to go after that before a short break with Life This Week returning on Mon 4 January 2021. Hope to see you next week too. Denyse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denyse - I think I'm using 60 as a kind of motivating "go girl!" call to action - I know it won't be an instantaneous thing, but when I read about how many other bloggers felt that 60 was the true beginning of their self-acceptance, I think it's a good goal to aim for. I'm not sure what makes some people more self-confident than others (there are some awful people out there who think they're great!) but I definitely want to let go of that inner critic - what a waste of energy she is!

      Delete
  17. Hi Leanne - well this is a post I can very much relate to. I still struggle with all the self stuff - self love, self esteem, self confidence. I love the quotes you've included here - particularly the bits about accepting ourselves as we are, faults, failings and all. I am so hard on myself. I'm kinder to myself in many ways these days but the inner critic in my head is a nasty buggar! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here Min - I think we need to give ourselves more credit for how far we've come, and that we're putting things in place to improve more. Once I figure out how to mute that little voice in my head I'll be veery happy!

      Delete
  18. Such an important distinction to make, Leanne--self-esteem versus self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is something I continue to work on. I feel like I've made progress over the last several years, but I am definitely not there yet. I have a few affirmations that I repeat each morning as I start my day. One of them is "For today, I am enough just the way I am." I feel like it allows room for growth, but also self-acceptance for who I am today. Good luck to you on your journey to self-acceptance. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christie - I just read an interesting article on self-acceptance that suggested we repeat frequently "I am enough" - every time we fail, or question ourselves, or whenever because repetition makes it sink in and we become more accepting of it as a truth. It's something you seem to have figured out already and I'll be doing it more too.

      Delete
  19. Hello, Leanne ~ it is SO good to reconnect with you again. I basically took the entire year off, but I am ready to jump back into the blogosphere. This post was the PERFECT way to begin.

    My Word of the Year for 2020 was Acceptance :) At the time, I thought I would delve into this idea of self-acceptance and gaining confidence. Little did I know that it would become my mantra for a global pandemic entirely outside my control.

    I will turn 61 next week. I believe it is time to relinquish the "I'm not enough" mindset and embrace Molly for who she is. I look forward to continuing this dialogue throughout 2021.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Molly! I missed you x So glad you've come back and not disappeared forever. I'm very excited about the idea of choosing to believe that I'm enough as I am - but still having room to grow and develop - silencing the inner critic, believing in myself more - and turning off the need for approval or acceptance from others. Lots to tackle and I think our 60's are the perfect time to do it - better late than never!

      I hope all's well in your world and I'll look forward to reading your posts when they appear again xx

      Delete
  20. The best part about aging is that we have the privilege to experience it. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And not just experience it - actually appreciate it and enjoy the good stuff that we still have in our lives every day :)

      Delete
  21. Hi Leanne, what an interesting post. I was severely lacking in self-confidence when I was younger. In fact, I used to think I was so inconsequential that I was invisible. I didn't believe that people knew that I existed. It took me a long long time to get over that, and I still don't think I'm completely free of that thought. Now I'm much stronger within myself and I don't usually worry what people think of me. But I do need to work on self- acceptance a bit more, because like you, I'm a perfectionist and I want to be good at everything I do and feel pretty bad when I'm not. We live, learn, and continually grow and we at least can be grateful for that. Wishing you and your family a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl - I can't believe that you used to think you were invisible - you are one of the bravest people I know when it comes to making life choices! It's interesting how we don't have to stay in the mental space we start with - we can move ourselves forward and engage and grow - that's my plan over the year ahead - to become more of what I have the potential to be. And a belated Merry Christmas to you too x

      Delete
  22. Hi Leanne, I am catching up with reading. Great post and I just joined the club of heading towards 60 and have taken the time to work out some milestones to achieve by Jan next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jan - welcome to the club - perhaps we can cheer each other on over the year ahead. I'm expecting my sixties to be really good (based on what the 60+ year old bloggers are writing and saying!) x

      Delete

Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.
If you don't have a Google account please choose "Name/URL" from the drop down arrow and type in your first name (you don't need a URL) and hit "Continue" to leave your comment.