Accepting Your Aging Body
Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40
Here's what happens when you can't accept the changes that aging brings to your body: you may shun intimate relationships, you may shut down your sexuality, you may see yourself as ugly, and you may avoid activities you would otherwise enjoy. Here's what happens when you do accept the changes that time brings to us all: you live life to its fullest. Which choice do you want to make?
Accepting your aging body doesn't mean being passive about your looks. You can do a few things that will make you feel more attractive and vibrant. First and foremost, keep moving, or start moving if you have been sedentary. A simple half-hour walk each day will brighten your outlook, sharpen your brain, and counteract many of the negative effects of getting older. Pay attention to what you eat; nutritious and wholesome foods will replenish your energy. Take the time to choose clothing that accentuates your positive features and makes you feel good, no matter what your body type. Don't let good grooming and hygiene suffer as you get older. If it is hard for you to remember grooming tasks, schedule them on your calendar or associate them with some other part of your routine that you are likely to remember. And smile. It's amazing how much better-looking people are when they have a pleasant expression on their faces.
Beyond these actions, there isn't too much you can do about the changes you are experiencing. Unlike Hollywood stars, most of us aren't going to get plastic surgery, stay rail-thin, or have a team of makeup experts to help us look decades younger. So what? Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone who seemed plain-looking or even homely, then finding that person to be more and more attractive as you became better acquainted? Your inner beauty has no age limit, and can shine even more brightly when you are self-confident and focused on others, rather than on your own appearance.
Don't forget to tell your partner and your friends that they look wonderful to you. Sometimes it is harder to receive compliments than to give them. If you are told that you look great, just say "thank you." Don't push the compliment away; hold it close and enjoy the glow. You look just fine, because you look like yourself.
Northwest authors Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, PhD, a psychologist, and her husband Charles Peck are write a weekly column on midlife relationships. They are working on a new book, "Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40."
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