“It’s prevalent, I tell you,” a girl friend of mine told me last week, “It’s amazing the number of women out there with low self-esteem. There are so many women I run across in their late 50s or older who believe they have given life all they have to offer and they don’t have any more to give.”
The UK’s Daily Mail reported on a study commissioned by herbal remedies company, A. Vogel, on self-confidence and self-esteem in older women. In their article, Daily Mail shared that “more than half of the women in the study felt “left on the shelf” and were judged negatively simply because of their age.”
“Only 15 per cent of thousands of women over 45 declared themselves as having high or very high confidence while nearly half described themselves as not very confident at all,” the article said.
Eileen Durward, health expert for the company sponsoring the study, concluded the findings, “The world can feel very geared toward appreciating younger women, leaving those of a certain age to feel neglected or less worthy. These women are not invisible and neither are their concerns,” she said.
Huffington Post writer, Michelle Martin, PhD, published her own take on this study. She summarized the study with the following statistics:
- 75 percent felt ignored by men when they walked into a crowded room,
- 50 percent felt as if they’d been “left on a shelf” and were judged negatively because of their age,
- 60 percent felt that society was geared toward younger women,
- 50 percent wished there was more focus on the plight of older women, and
- only 15 percent of the women surveyed reported feeling confident in any area of their life.
When asked what contributed to their lack of self-confidence, most of the women cited things like graying hair, having to wear reading glasses, and a lack of appropriate fashion opportunities.
I agree with Dr. Martin. Self-confidence, internal feelings of worth should have nothing “to do with competing with younger generations of women” or judging oneself by physical characteristics, like hair color, skin quality, or how others may or may not be sexually attracted to them.
Here are Dr. Martin’s five suggestions to help older women (actually it’s good advice for everyone) to “feel less marginalized and more visible, vital and relevant.”
- “Go on a solo journey of self-discovery.” My personal journey has been this amazing Master Key Experience. Mark and Davene Januszewski have designed an unbeatable program to help you start … and finish … your true heroine’s journey. You can browse through my other blog posts to see what treasures await. For example, one of the concepts from this week’s lessons (Part Sixteen) of Haanel’s Master Key System, “If you wish to bring about the realization of any desire, form a mental picture of success in your mind, by consciously visualizing your desire; in this way you will be compelling success, you will be externalizing it in your life by scientific methods.” (16-32) Older women, like me, can create their own image of their future selves, make that vision confidence, vital, and successful. Strong visualizations like that can’t help but become reality.
- “Renegotiate your self-esteem.” Dr. Martin recommends you reconsider what you base your self-esteem on. “Consider valuing yourself for intrinsic traits, such as your resilience and your creativity, rather than superficial traits. More insight from Haanel on this is in 16-34. “Feeling is the very fountain head of power, why the emotions so easily overcome the intellect, and why we must put feeling into our thought, if we wish results. Thought and feeling is the irresistible combination.” Thinking of yourself in terms of your value and then adding the feelings of love and acceptance of yourself – there’s a powerful combination!
- “Challenge your existing belief systems.” “Develop new standards and practices that feel right for you and your … lifestyle,” Dr. Martin writes. Mark and Davene share lots of new scientific research, and examples to help us challenge our beliefs by helping us see how concepts and tools to rebuild your life are alive and well … and most importantly, how it actually works on a personal level.
- “Find your voice.” Share your wisdom. Write a book. Get involved in things that matter. Speak up and make a difference. Another gift I got from the Master Key Experience was coaching and encouragement to blog. Hey, hopefully you’re enjoying what I have to say right now!
- “Practice acceptance.” According to Dr. Martin, it’s important to not only accept others and give them room to be who they choose to be, but to accept ourselves and our lives as we are, as they are. Forgive yourself for your self-pity, for your self-degradation, then accept who you are and move on to the new you that you choose to be. Haanel, (16-37) “Try to bring yourself to a realization of the important fact that harmony and happiness are states of consciousness and do not depend upon the possession of things.” So wherever life has lead us, this is where we are. We still have the power to choose – what we want from life, what we want to give to life, and where we want to lead our lives for its duration. Choose and go for it!
And if you need some help and encouragement to stop living a life of desperation and live the life you want, join me and my friends in this marvelous heroine’s journey. Please leave your email address in the box on the right and I’ll make sure you’re contacted about a scholarship the next time the class opens. Meanwhile, be confident, be strong, be YOU!