Aging Out Of Our Insecurities (Or Not)

style blogger Susan B of une femme d'un certain age takes a break at a sidewalk cafe in Paris

Older And Mellower?

“With age comes wisdom,” or so we’re told. I don’t know about wisdom, but one of the pleasures and privileges of reaching a certain age is realizing that a lot of stuff that we thought was SO important when we were younger really isn’t. We were raised with so many conflicting sets of rules and expectations about what women were “supposed” to be. And those rules and expectations seemed to change every few years or so.

So what a relief it can be to wake up one day and realize that the world isn’t going to come crashing down if the towels aren’t folded just so, or we didn’t make someone’s Top 10 list in our field, or we didn’t sign that new client, or we bought cupcakes for the school bake sale because we didn’t have time to make them.

The ability to let go of some insecurities that have plagued us may also be a perk of age. I’m much more confident than even a decade ago. Negativity rolls off my back more easily these days than when I was younger. I don’t take most other people’s “stuff” personally. I’m (usually) able to remain mindful that criticism or put-downs usually say more about the person spewing them than the recipient.

The Chronic Inner Critic

But I still have some areas of insecurity that when triggered manifest themselves in bouts of self-criticism, not the least of which is my weight and shape. I’ve done a lot of work on this over the years, but still it’s there.

No, it’s mostly not rational. There’s some deeply ingrained s&*t from my childhood, kind of like a virus that no longer exhibits outward symptoms but remains in the system. Both of my parents were fat-phobic, and my mother especially was extremely and vocally critical about anything appearance-related. I know it came from her own insecurities. I know better, and yet sometimes still respond reflexively, seeing myself as filtered through her critical lens.

The thing is, I don’t do this to anyone but myself. And it goes against what I believe about diversity and the tyranny of current beauty standards. So I give myself the talk, “you wouldn’t judge a friend this harshly, why do you do it to yourself, shouldn’t you be more evolved at this point in life? yada yada yada” And then I end up being hard on myself for being hard on myself.

Ingrained Behaviors

our dog Byron, guarding a "treasure," in this case a rug from our bathroom...

Lately I’ve been trying a different tack. It was inspired in part by our dog, Byron. He’s almost 12, which makes him a Senior Dog. For his entire life, he’s had a behavioral issue called “resource guarding.” He’ll aggressively guard his empty food bowl, and anything of interest he finds the floor gets taken to his bed and By Dog it’s HIS. (Above, he’s taken to stealing the area rug from our bathroom.) We’ve worked with three different trainers and one behavioral vet over the years. Training and behavior modification techniques, even medication…nothing’s ever completely eradicated this tendency. It just seems to be how he’s hardwired.

At some point, we gave up trying to eliminate the behavior and switched to managing it.* We know he’s going to do it, so we just try to minimize his opportunities, and when it does happen, we ignore him. Nine times out of ten, he forgets about his Preciousss within an hour and wanders off. We’re all a lot less stressed.

Managing My Inner Critic

I was thinking about this one day when I was out walking the dogs, how at some point we came to accept his foibles and manage rather than trying to change them. And it occurred to me that I could try this on myself. So now when those critical thoughts start up, rather than pushing back or trying to eliminate them, I try to remind myself, “oh, there’s my insecurity again,” and move on. Naming it and bringing it out into the light robs it of a lot of power. Like Byron with his treasure, it’s sooner forgotten.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t take an honest and clear-eyed look at ourselves from time to time. I hope to continue to learn from my mistakes, grow and keep trying to be a better person. But it’s been my experience that the Inner Critic isn’t conducive to that. When the IC voice pipes up, I feel defensive and shut down.

Nixing Comparisons

And I also try to remember the adage “don’t compare your inside with someone else’s outside.” I’m certain that even the most outwardly serene, confident and self-assured people also wrestle at times with insecurities and their Inner Critic. To struggle is human.

What strategies have you come up with that help manage your Inner Critic?

Top photo taken last year in Paris by Carla Coulson. I was a bit self-conscious at first about having my picture taken in public, but everyone else seemed to be taking it in stride, so eventually I did too.

*While you are welcome to share in comments any training techniques that have worked for your dog with a resource guarding issue, we are sticking with what’s working for us now. Thanks.

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74 Comments

  1. Francoise Reynolds
    June 8, 2017 / 3:03 am

    I admire your mindfulness in just observing your negative/self critical thoughts and then letting them flow away. Way to go! And yes we all have our “stuff”!

    • JIll
      June 8, 2017 / 3:23 am

      Susan, you are so kind to write this post. I believe no matter who the human being is, we are all self-critical from experiences we had in childhood, right through adulthood. When I finally reached that point of realizing that I don’t need to be my enemy, it was so freeing. There are days at 69 years young, that I look in the mirror and think, “Not bad for almost 70”. Then there are days when the mirror looks back and shows me a new age spot or wrinkle…..but I still embrace my life and like you, I let it go……Thanks for sharing something that is so spot on with all of us women. The media/Holloywood, etc….advertisers, want us to all be airbrushed inside and out…..My best to you! Here’s to being comfy in our skin! Cheers

  2. June 8, 2017 / 3:18 am

    A very thoughtful post. Thank you for sharing your feelings so candidly.

  3. Mari
    June 8, 2017 / 3:19 am

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. Just bought a bathing suit for an upcoming trip and being uncritical was very hard. I know I must put on and use the suit, but sure hate being in public in so little clothing. At my age, everyone probably needs to cover most of their stuff’, but not possible in a bathing suit! Vacation, just reminding myself to enjoy the journey and pray my husband does not post a ‘selfie’ of the two of us in pool attire!

  4. WendyFD
    June 8, 2017 / 3:41 am

    Thank you for sharing your insight and techniques in handling your “inner critic”. I think most of us have these issues but it is so much more helpful and freeing to know others struggle and also how to overcome. Half the challenge is knowing when the inner critic is talking and stopping her before she takes hold. Then we can adjust the volume or tune her out, that is the trick.

  5. Marianne Jensen
    June 8, 2017 / 3:54 am

    Dear Susan-
    Have so enjoyed your Blog over the years; this is my first time writing. I really like/love the idea of inviting the bad thoughts, doubts & negativity in. There is a wonderful poem by Rumi called “The Guest House” that addresses this. For me this works most of the time. Thank you for your work over the years.
    Marianne

  6. June 8, 2017 / 4:01 am

    A really kind and thoughtful post. Thank you.

  7. June 8, 2017 / 4:11 am

    Susan, thanks for this post. Acceptance without judgment is not the default response in our (American? global?) culture, is it? I’ll be digesting your perspective for a while.

    Only in recent years (I’m 71), and really only since I retired a year and a half ago, I’ve begun to glimpse the possibility of Not Needing to Fix It. That seems a somehow kinder version of “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

    Surely, there’s more to come. Or perhaps it will be less. Perhaps even creativity for curiosity’s sake, not for admiration or approval.

    • June 8, 2017 / 6:46 am

      Love that phrase as a reminder! “Not my circus, not my monkeys” — two years retired from full time work, (62 now) but still working part time (related field), I’ve really been thinking a lot lately about exactly what MY circus and monkeys are. I have a tendency to be the one who says, “I’ll do that!” Just because it needs doing. Might be time to let go a bit….and really focus on my own monkeys. Thanks for the inspiration, both to Susan and to Ann.

  8. LisaBee
    June 8, 2017 / 4:15 am

    You are beautiful as you are and you should enjoy that gift!! I thought your post was honest and thoughtful, but I want to just be the voice saying – please enjoy the time you have: healthy, stylish, able (physically and financially) to travel – just REVEL in all that good stuff. And if you were 10 pounds heavier, it’d still be fine! Also – no one else really cares – that sounds harsh, but it’s also liberating. Everyone else is busy worrying about her shape and size (sadly).

  9. June 8, 2017 / 5:16 am

    I know that inner critic voice. I can leave my apartment feeling fine and glimpse myself in a mirror and think
    “too old”, “too fat”. While I do take time with my “outside” and enjoy doing so, the “outside” is only part of who I am. Interestingly, I am married to a man who takes little time with his appearance and doesn’t think twice about it when he’s out. That critic voice does come from the past. I go to church with my mum. Sunday is my day to “dress up” a bit as I am retired. No matter what I wear, I never get a compliment from mother. My little “jeune fille” would love her to say just once “Oh, don’t you look pretty!” I’m sort of like your dog because counselling has “taught” me that we need to love ourselves and to give that “inner child” what
    she needs but…. Thanks for such a thought-provoking post.

  10. June 8, 2017 / 5:16 am

    Best. Post. Ever! You have no idea how much you spoke for so many of us!! In the weight thing—I almost cried reading because it struck such a chord!! Thank you!!!!!!

  11. Terri
    June 8, 2017 / 5:23 am

    Thank you! I discovered your blog about six weeks ago as I was preparing for a trip to Paris; I just returned. I traveled with a relatively new friend and some of her friends. It was quickly apparent that we had different traveling styles and not many shared interests, so I tried to go off on my own to ensure I had the trip I wanted. I found myself lonely, even when I wasn’t alone – both literally and figuratively, because not surprisingly, my inner critic was a constant traveling companion. She does come out with a vengeance when one is in an unfamiliar environment!

    So reading your post this morning was very reassuring. In spite of the inner critic and my differences with my companions, I’m proud that I went to Paris. I’m proud that I was brave enough to go out on my own. Proud, that more often than not, I was able to quiet the critic and enjoy the trip the best I could. Yes, it is getting easier with age (I’m 56.). Maybe my next trip will literally be a solo one. 😉

    Lastly, some of your fashion and packing tips were invaluable. Please know you are much appreciated.

    • Joyce
      June 8, 2017 / 7:37 am

      Traveling with friends is always tricky. Don’t beat yourself up, and i trust you will find the right fit of travel companion. In the meantime….go and enjoy.

  12. MaureenC
    June 8, 2017 / 5:34 am

    Yes a brilliant post. There are people who don’t have that inner critic but usually you find they have an appallingly high sense of entitlement and self belief that is both delusional and toxic to other people. You wouldn’t want to be one of them and nor do I (political content removed by admin). So like you I’m learning to accept that inner critic and re-calibrate her effect so that she doesn’t send me into a bout of self loathing. I’ve started learning when to tell my inner critic to shut up and when to accept she may have a point and I need to change some aspect of my behaviour. Good luck with it, you are definitely not alone!!!

  13. Linda
    June 8, 2017 / 5:36 am

    Thank you for your encouraging & thought-provoking post.

  14. Hope Springs
    June 8, 2017 / 5:40 am

    That voice is SO hard to quiet, but like you I’m finding it easier as I get older. What irony. My body is betraying me in more ways than I care to count. But overall, I’m healthy and happy, so I’m grateful to be alive and well. The rest is gravy. Self compassion is my goal now, and I agree with your thought process: Would you be that critical of a friend? I wouldn’t either.

    Great post!

  15. June 8, 2017 / 5:48 am

    Thank you for this post! I have shared it on my Facebook. I think younger folks will benefit from it, too.

  16. Sally
    June 8, 2017 / 6:16 am

    We all suffer from insecurities. It’s brave of you to post about yours — you could be the voice of many of us. You are really beautiful (inside and out!) and accomplished. I admire you. Don’t let that IC be too hard on you. You have an adoring fan base <3

  17. rose
    June 8, 2017 / 6:17 am

    Susan, I agree with Catherine–best post ever.
    At sixty-one, my experience is the same.
    I am most grateful to have lived long enough to be blessed with this insight.
    It is forgiving of others and ourselves, and tossing to the side the extraneous.
    It is life distilled.

    Also, the black and white outfit with the touch of red watch and lipstick is perfection.
    Best outfit ever, as well.

  18. Michelle
    June 8, 2017 / 6:54 am

    Right on Susan! I thought by the time I arrived at being une femme d’un certain âge, I would’ve conquered that self critic & accepted me for me. Still in process of letting it go.

  19. Charlotte
    June 8, 2017 / 6:56 am

    Thank you for this post. I have recently started following your blog and love your insight. This post brought tears to my eyes as lately the IC is so loud and forceful that at times I feel like it has me beat. I watch my mother who is almost 80 and is still concerned about every morsel she puts in her mouth, it makes me sad and scared that I will be her someday, still listening to this IC. Sometimes I am so frustrated with my bone/body structure that I was born with and then (as you said) beat myself up for beating myself up because I know I should be so thankful for the healthy body that I have. I like your suggestions and appreciate you posting about this. And yes this picture of you is stunning!

  20. June 8, 2017 / 6:57 am

    This is such a great post. A bit of inner critic is always good–we do want to be our best selves and not just say, “oh, whatever.” Like anything–dieting, working, social media–there’s a spectrum of not enough to too much and we have to find the right balance.
    I have gotten easier on myself with age. Yes, I’d like to lose a few pounds. Yes, I’d like to work out more. Yes, I’d like to have a more perfect home and garden. Yes, I’d like more professional success. I’m not giving up on trying to be better, but I’m no longer brooding about these things.

    • June 8, 2017 / 7:45 am

      Indeed! Balance between aspirations and relaxed self-acceptance is the key to my happiness. Bien dit.

  21. Cathy D.
    June 8, 2017 / 6:58 am

    I love your blog, and one of the many things I like about it is the quality of your writing. This post is a good example. I also love the photography, as in the picture of you looking both elegant and chic sitting at an outdoor cafe. I especially like the fact that you don’t take yourself too seriously. This helps the rest of us realize that life can be great, but doesn’t have to be perfect. Thanks for all the hard work!

  22. June 8, 2017 / 7:04 am

    I loved your post, too — great insights, thank you for sharing. I also adore the photo of you at the cafe in Paris!

    My inner critic has quieted a little over time, and I think part of it is really consciously stopping the constant judgement/assessment of others, women in particular. When we judge ourselves harshly, I think the same critical voice judges others, too. And we have no idea what her life is really like, what she has been through or is challenged with. So my approach now is gentleness — both with others and with myself. Quieting the inner critic and allowing the “inner friend” to be more present.

    I’m also reminded of a friend’s application of ideas from a children’s anxiety prevention program. The strategy is to develop awareness of your thoughts and the way they trigger emotions, by asking yourself, “is that a red light thought, or a green light thought?” If it’s a red light thought, how can you change it to a “green light thought”?

    My friend’s example is applied to golfing — and switching up the “I’ll never make that shot!” thought to something like, “this is a hard shot but I’ll really focus and do my best”.

    Or, in the land of inner critic — being aware of the “I don’t look good in a swim suit” and replacing it with something like, “I love the feeling of the water and sun, and I’m going to be present in this moment and enjoy the luxury and joy of it.”

  23. Karen
    June 8, 2017 / 7:05 am

    As a fellow Cavalier owner, I especially enjoyed the photo of sweet Byron with his prized bathroom rug. Insightful post!

  24. B. Jean
    June 8, 2017 / 7:08 am

    Susan,
    I love that you aren’t perfect in body, and that you struggle with some inner version of perfect which will never be, as you actually look wonderful. It’s reassuring to know someone who is as accomplished as you has that inner critic too. I’ve had a life time struggle to remind myself that it is health first and foremost which matters. I try to ignore the Inner critic and keep priorities in mind. The crazy thing, is when I look back at pictures of my younger self, I see a very attractive person, but I didn’t feel that way then. So I ask myself will I look back at me now in ten years and feel the same? Why not enjoy me now, I ask!

  25. June 8, 2017 / 7:16 am

    Wow, interesting post. I like your thoughts on aging and found them positive. I watched Carl Reiner’s wonderful documentary on HBO yesterday, “If I’m Not in the Obits, I Eat Breakfast.” If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. Such a great outlook on getting older with so many great interviews with 90+ seniors.

  26. Kathryn
    June 8, 2017 / 7:35 am

    Opened up your post and the picture for these thoughtful words is absolutely beautiful!!
    Yes, it’s not all about how you look but your look gorgeous darling!

  27. Adele Miller
    June 8, 2017 / 7:55 am

    Just want to say that if each and every one of us who has found that this post resonates with use were to get together, what an awesome, amazing group it would be! Still trying to quiet my inner critic, but it gets easier all the time, especially because I have three adult daughters for whom I want to be a fabulous role model.

    Love the concepts of “not my circus, not my monkeys” and “red light vs green light thoughts”.

  28. Mary H.
    June 8, 2017 / 8:04 am

    Beautifully said. I agree wholeheartedly.

  29. June 8, 2017 / 8:24 am

    Our inner critics are the loudest voices too!
    I have one that natters to me about my weight and I do listen but do not always take the advice when I feel like a bowl of chips!
    You look so relaxed at that cafe…and what a beautiful setting for a photo shoot!
    XO

  30. Pam
    June 8, 2017 / 8:39 am

    Although you may feel differently, I laughed at the photo and “adorable-ness” of your beautiful little dog protecting HIS rug!! Surely needed the humor this morning. It’s helpful when you share your personal insights as you did today. I believe all of us struggle with our IC. Being mindful & consistently “calling it out” in the moment has been somewhat helpful to me also. I’m currently working with my therapist on self “re-parenting” techniques for some more intense and lingering issues from my youth and finding it effective.

    • Susan B
      June 8, 2017 / 8:49 am

      Oh, we laugh too. He’s a very intelligent dog, and at times I think this is almost a game to him. Otherwise he’s as sweet as could be.

  31. Lisa Laree
    June 8, 2017 / 9:30 am

    This is a great post. Thanks so much for writing it! And…I love the photo of you at the bistro. 😉

  32. marsha calhoun
    June 8, 2017 / 9:32 am

    This is so very well written and thought provoking, and (wonderfully) just what I needed this morning – thank you! It occurs to me that the actions I attempt during my attempts at meditation (i.e., noticing thoughts and naming them) really need to be attempted “off the cushion” during the rest of my life.

  33. June 8, 2017 / 9:34 am

    Wouldn’t begin to tell you how to deal with your dog! Mine is 8 and I don’t think will ever be trained out of being aggressive towards other dogs… I just have to be aware. The ongoing – probably lifelong – battle against that inner critic … and then being hard on myself for being hard on myself … Sometimes it feels like I’m being ridiculous, and silly, and why should I have to remind myself A-GAIN … but I do, and will. Well said.

  34. jgsh
    June 8, 2017 / 9:42 am

    I loved your post and can certainly relate! I grew up with a fat phobic mother and married a man who points out every overweight person he sees and makes a negative comment (he also commented on a known anorexic and said, “She doesn’t look that skinny to me”). Before you all jump all over him, we’ve been married for 40 years and he has many, many positive qualities.
    I’m kind of average/stocky and, while I dream of being tall and thin, am learning, at 62, to ignore both his outer and my inner voice.
    You are lovely and I love your insight!

  35. Tammy
    June 8, 2017 / 10:09 am

    Byron is adorable and hysterical. Indeed, why shouldn’t he have his rug? It smells like himself, and his people; as such, it is a treasure to be guarded at any cost! The floor is his territory, so of course anything there is HIS! Such a clever boy. We once had a beagle whose greatest joy in life was to drag dirty underwear out from the laundry hamper. He was completely bereft of social awareness, too; we could be alone or we could be entertaining, it mattered not to Henry. He once met our pastor at the door with a pair of my sassiest pink panties, which he graciously laid at his feet.

    I know many people have fierce inner critics, but I also think we never quite give up the hope of being beautiful, and so it’s always a bit of a shock when we catch that glance of ourselves not looking like a super model! But we are all of us possessed of our own unique beauty, and that’s what matters.

    • Susan B
      June 8, 2017 / 10:32 am

      Tammy, your story about your beagle and the underwear made me LOL!

      • Tammy
        June 8, 2017 / 5:44 pm

        Henry was one of a kind, and is dearly missed.

    • June 8, 2017 / 4:35 pm

      Dyin’ laughin’ here at your beagle / panties / pastor story. Hubby is laughing, too.

      • Tammy
        June 8, 2017 / 5:46 pm

        He kept us in stitches, naughty boy that he was!

  36. Daniella Karo
    June 8, 2017 / 10:31 am

    After 33 years in the medical field and the very painful loss of two husbands whom I worshiped, very little matters other than ones health and well being. When I look in the mirror, I see a blessedly healthy survivor who is moving forward with living life, and yes, still dating!! Still doing everything to look good and yes, “chic”. After all, I am European born, bred and educated, and being
    “Soigné” is by now in my DNA. My mother made sure of that! My “American Education” taught me practicality and a love of athletics, an essential quality to good and healthy living. I feel blessed, despite of loss of my native country (born behind the Iron Curtain during the war), and by everything good that followed by being allowed to come and live in this amazing country! Feeling lucky with No regrets!

    • elizaduckie
      June 14, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      Congratulations on it all!!

  37. Monica
    June 8, 2017 / 10:32 am

    Good on you! You are right on target and I believe each of us has a societal inner critic. It’s normal to battle this… but I see you are also rolling with the punches at the same time… so know that some days you will be a little picky on you, and then other days, you won’t be. I often say, really, I know I am not a model figure, and this body keeps me going…so why do I berate my looks? Work with what you have and dress for style and elegance.. and comfort. I always think about Hepburn, (Kate and Audrey) … how they act and carry themselves. They do not apologize… look in the mirror and choose to see all the good first, and work with it!

  38. Nebraskim
    June 8, 2017 / 10:54 am

    My only comment is that we had a beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and resource-guarding was her deal, too. It may manifest itself in this breed more than in others. And yes, we just let it go. I enjoyed this post and your blog in general. Thank you.

  39. Kay
    June 8, 2017 / 11:10 am

    That is a beautiful dog.

    • Susan B
      June 8, 2017 / 11:55 am

      Thank you!

  40. jeffer23
    June 8, 2017 / 12:02 pm

    I loved to hear how you manage to control or limit your chronic inner critic. It makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  41. June 8, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    Just one inner critic? I seem to have a whole village of them. Hahaha! Seriously, they are nasty and I am learning over time how to shut them up or at least muffle them. I’m glad you’ve found a way to deal with Byron’s behaviour. I wish I could see my bathmat as Preciouss too. Great post, Susan. I can absolutely relate to what you’ve shared here.

  42. Pamela
    June 8, 2017 / 2:07 pm

    Before I retired I travelled a lot internationally for work, usually flying on my own but meeting up with a delegation in a different city each time. It was always a fantastic experience and I became very confident about travelling alone and helping others who were less experienced. Now I mostly travel with my husband which works out well as we have similar interests but sometimes I want to do “girl” things which he has no interest in – like fashion parades etc – so after I have my day, he gets his turn.

    But one time I flew alone – to meet up with a group of women, mostly, (we were all strangers to each other) in Paris that unfortunately fell apart after two days and we were all on our own. it was disappointing but no problem for me as I know Paris quite well and I had a ball just on my own, sometimes meeting up with others in the group who had stayed on anyway (one poor woman flew home again immediately).

    I’m happy to eat out in nice restaurants alone and have found it’s actually quite possible to meet other solo diners and enjoy their company. One day in Le Grand Colbert I met a French artist who was busy sketching the restaurant and other diners. He was very entertaining. It’s a matter of confidence I think – as I’ve got older not much bothers me. I am what I am, no longer svelte, going grey, but love life, travel, fashion, people and I don’t worry about what others think. I meet so many people and chat to them and find I’m invited to Chanel collection previews with champagne drinks, people give me their phone numbers asking me to contact them to get together, etc. I think it’s just a matter of being confident and friendly and open to people, not thinking about oneself or worrying. Also for the lady worrying about appearing in her bathing suit, we just spent 8 days in Antibes and French women (and men) mostly seem to be totally happy in their skin – they lie on the beach a bit wrinkly, a bit saggy, some overweight (don’t believe the myth about French women not getting fat – it’s true of certain groups of women, particularly in Paris, who breakfast on coffee and a cigarette, but certainly not universal) and aren’t bothered. That was Antibes of course – it would be different in St Tropez. But I think Americans seem to be more worried about such things than other nationalities and you seem to have more “rules” about what is acceptable or not. I wonder why? Best wishes, Pamela

  43. MJ
    June 8, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    You’re smart to “name” your negative feelings in order to manage them. I first ran across that in the meditation I sometimes do with the Headspace app and have found it helpful. Here’s a fairly recent NY Times article that you might find interesting that talks about that same topic.
    NYTimes: The Importance of Naming Your Emotions
    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/04/business/dealbook/the-importance-of-naming-your-emotions.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share

  44. Doreen
    June 8, 2017 / 2:43 pm

    This is a wonderful post! I thank you for giving me a little “pep talk” about my self criticism. It gets in the way of a lot of things I plan to do. I shall keep this post and read it again when I need a “kick in the pants” to keep moving forward. Many thanks Doreen.

  45. Bobbie
    June 8, 2017 / 6:19 pm

    Great post. I feel I am at a good place in this area and want to help young women with their IC. I think it’s harder now than ever. Probably no way to fast-track this.

  46. June 8, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    Great post Sue – and there is good psychological research that says naming your negative feelings really reduces their power!

  47. June 8, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    It takes practice to be alert enough to observe your thoughts without buying into them, or letting them rule your life. Once you can do this, even occasionally, there is enormous freedom. Great post, could be applied to almost any area of life.

  48. Sherilyn Sorensen
    June 8, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    1st time reader…I’ll be back. I think we all have stuff, and this is a good reminder of what we can do about it.

  49. Ciara
    June 9, 2017 / 1:46 am

    Thank you Susan for posting about the narky voice in all our heads. Really, it gives solace to all of us that we are not alone with that voice telling us how we fall short of the self imposed/family imposed/society imposed standards. These days, I note that it is negative thought either about me or another and think ‘quiet, everything is perfectly fine’. I find it works a treat.
    That photo of you is beautiful as is the photo of your dear little dog.

  50. June 9, 2017 / 5:25 am

    Don’t know much about dog behaviour but I deal with my inner critique by welcoming the “stories in my head” like old friends and giving them labels preferably labels with a slight sense of humour to them.

  51. Veronica
    June 9, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    You are beautiful Susan! And your weight and body shape issues are in your mind only! I am sure nobody around you sees anything wrong! You are loved, we are all loved, regardless of how we look. And love is all that matters 🙂

  52. June 9, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    Say its name, look it in the face, and breathe.

    At least that’s what I’m trying to do;).

  53. MARLA
    June 11, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    Wow here I am commenting AGAIN. I just ADORE the cafe photo at the top of this entry. Susan, while your exterior is very “smart” and attractive it is just dressing for your wise insides.You have learned how to express your inner beauty thru your external chic and beauty (and pass it on to the rest of us!). I think Americans are and have been very influenced by Hollywood where the ever important commodity is sexual value!!! I mean we are finally just now realizing what the French have known for years. Sexuality and attractiveness and self worth has nothing to do with youth, the size of your breasts nor even you weight.
    When I watch French women from within my own family ( I am half…mom) or in Paris what I note is a relaxed “bein en sa peau” that we American gals hear so much about. They are comfortable and never seem rattled nor particularly self observant when in public….however they are passionate about their passions IE politics, arts, books, family whatever it may be. I do wonder if they are as hard on themselves as we yankee girls are? My birthday one week ago was 68. I endeavor everyday to be more relaxed and forgiving. I have learned also from the French to greet people….shop owners, those I pass on the street or walk near as I enter a bldg or restaurant. Americans seem either charmed or bewildered by this but always surprised! Isn’t that interesting? So one of my self worth value is to see myself as a groomed ray of sunshine as I pass thru life each day. I have thought of starting my own blog on this subject. Frankly I am told about twice a week how “great I look”…..and here’s the kicker I’m an Eileen Fisher size 3X former plus size model. Voila, cest moi! Love you SUSAN. Theeee best!

  54. The Lisa Marie
    June 11, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    Susan, thank-you for sharing your personal struggle. Many of us are in the same boat. Something I’d read long ago helps me. (I’m sorry that I don’t remember the author.)

    “We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.’

  55. Sharon Martinuzzi
    June 12, 2017 / 12:46 am

    My goodness, Susan, so well said! You are so ‘me’ though I couldn’t have said it so well! But let me tell you something, I am ten years older than you ,and you just get better at it from here on! All those issues we have carried with us just start to minimalize (is that a word?) I cannot believe from where my new found confidence has come! So there are some great things to be said for aging! Or should I say maturity! And I no longer worry about what ‘people’ might say about me, just hope they still do! Ha ha! I so admire your confidence doing it as you do! Keep it up, I do love reading your stuff! Sharon

  56. Patricia
    June 12, 2017 / 2:27 pm

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman struggling with Anorexia. She could look in a mirror view of the two of us and see me as “normal” and herself as obese and I probably outweighed her by 40 lb. To some extent, many of us have a milder form of this sort of vision. We judge everyone else as normal and ourselves much more harshly.
    I’m working on focusing on my virtues; I’m healthy, loved and quite happy. But I’d still like to fit back into a size 8. So I’ll notice that and then move on.

  57. sequinist
    June 13, 2017 / 2:21 am

    First, that is such a beautiful photo of you. No one would ever guess from the ‘outside’ that you struggle with critical thoughts on the inside.

    I also have fat-shaming parents and grandparents who feel that commenting and judging everyone on their figures is a god-given right. They spend so much time and energy discussing the fat on strangers they see out in public. Yes, America has an obesity problem, but it isn’t theirs to fix!

    I’m not immune to their critique, and while I’m not fat, they enjoy reminding me that I’m not at ‘my best’. It is hard to silence such a loud critic, but I remind myself of my great health and the fact that my body is MINE and functions very well. I can run, lift weights, and do anything I need to do with it, which is the whole point of a body in the first place. xx

    • Monica Mary Maul
      June 13, 2017 / 9:58 am

      Those critics are ‘not at their best’ when commenting silently or verbally on your figure. Remember that!

  58. Lori McKee
    June 13, 2017 / 8:20 am

    I knew I liked you! Great post – and what a lovely community of commenters you have, too!

  59. Monica Maul
    June 13, 2017 / 9:55 am

    What I am facing this week is the disappointment of not being hired because of my age. I have a great resume, it is sensible, full of great talents and loaded with great history. Unfortunately, I am being passed over at 58. I have more education (specifically trade work in design) and work experience than any college graduate…. I would like to be able to uncover ‘how ‘ discrimination happens, even though it is written into laws, there are loopholes, including the one person who can decide on a good or a bad day… whether they like your resume or not, or your face, or ‘meh: she looks too old, maybe she will want to retire in ten years….” why not ask the candidate instead of assuming. Many of us have to work until we can no longer, (i.e., 70) …. and we are loaded with talents to advise and teach others….. Really feeling sad about this. I remember when it was nothing for me to get an interview. Now I am no longer being invited to the ‘party’.

  60. Judy
    June 14, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    Something to keep In mind is that, much as we may loath to admit it, women of a certain age become invisible. But the beauty of that is you can simply quit worrying about what anyone else thinks about you. Just let it all go. Let it all go! No one cares except you. Stop worrying about others and try…try.. to accept, and enjoy, yourself. It is a good place to be.

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