Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ageless Beauty—Part II

Following is the conclusion to the last chapter in my first book, Timeless Skin. Hopefully you have already read Ageless Beauty—Part I. Here is Part II:

Choosing how you age. When you look in the mirror, you make a choice (consciously or unconsciously) to either like and accept what you see or not to like it. If you choose not to accept something, lines and wrinkles for instance, you’ve got a problem. And a problem begs for a solution. [Some of the possible solutions are discussed in the trends & fads category of this blog.] However, you have the answers inside of you. In order to resolve this conflict, it will require discipline and a paradigm shift. If you change the way you see yourself, you can change how you age. To some, this may seem like a simplistic approach. But committing to changing your attitude—your inner dialogue—can profoundly affect every aspect of your personal and individual aging process.

What you spend your time thinking about is what you will eventually create (attract) in your life. Why not choose thoughts that are healing and kind versus negative and hurtful? It is a choice. How you see the world and how the world sees you (through your most constant thoughts) is up to you. If you believe you look bad, ugly, or aged, that will be your experience when you’re out in the world. If you choose to see your beauty, the world will reflect this thought back to you.

If throughout our lives all we ever heard was how great it was to be old, how cool wrinkles were, and how we’d gain wisdom and stability with age, we’d be totally into growing older. Reverse all that, and it’s the way we think about aging today. Like many things in life, your attitude comes down to choice. Will you choose to deny or abhor aging? Or will you choose to acknowledge all the good that comes with those wrinkles? What if wrinkles were cool? That attitude shift can change your life. It is within your power to create new thoughts to promote your well-being. I believe this with all my heart.

Acknowledging your inner beauty. Have you ever met someone who wasn’t physically beautiful but had an inner beauty so radiant and so strong, it made this person beautiful in all ways? It really is your inner beauty that makes you attractive, beautiful, and radiant. Without the acknowledgment of your inner beauty, you are just an empty shell. Perhaps a physically attractive shell, but a hollow and vacant shell nonetheless. Being able to recognize your inner self (your beauty from within) isn’t easy. It takes work. But if you commit to discovering and developing this part of yourself, the rewards are immeasurable.

It’s a never-ending process. You won’t wake up one day and forevermore not need to work on keeping a positive attitude. You won’t suddenly look in the mirror and think you’re utter perfection. It’s a constant and unending effort to not give in to your negative, self-condemning thoughts and to raise yourself up to a different level. It takes strength to keep yourself on track. And just like exercising your muscles to keep them strong, you have to exercise your desire to see your inner beauty. You have to exercise your belief in that timeless, ageless aspect of yourself. Without this persistent pursuit, your will and determination will atrophy and wither away, just like your muscles do without exercise.

Acceptance. Our first inclination is to resist aging. Then, for some, comes the reluctant acceptance of the changes aging brings. For others, it’s time for “The Big Fight,” electing to change the outside through surgery or other invasive procedures. At some point the decision of how to deal with what we’ve got (or lost) will come about for everyone. I propose, whether you change the outside or not, to commit to changing your inside first. Changing your attitude toward yourself, plus truly accepting the aging process. This isn’t about giving up, it’s about acknowledging the reality of life and finding beauty and positive things therein. This is a strange concept in comparison to the predominant trend of cutting and sewing and pasting ourselves back to being young. I gladly go against the grain.

When you look at photos of yourself from when you were younger, is that the look you are trying to bring back into your life? When I see pictures of myself in my 20s, I look like a baby—no wrinkles and flawless skin. But who was I? A naive young woman struggling on a daily basis to find her place in the world. Now years later, I no longer battle the angst of youth I used to. What a pleasure! And with this inner stability I have gained comes exterior signs of maturity as well—wrinkles, less elastic skin, pockets of fat that just won’t go away. One goes hand in hand with the other—wisdom and experience along with various signs of aging.

Acceptance of aging (for me) means embracing the process instead of running from it. I don’t really like to see the lines etching themselves into my face, but I have chosen to accept their presence and acknowledge their beauty. This is a conscious decision of acceptance; one I continually make. I choose to see these etchings as markers of my growth in life. In other words, they don’t take anything away from me; these lines add to who I am. I want to go through life finding positive ways to see the changes that are taking place, rather than pursuing the alternatives. It really is a creative process—trying to find new and positive ways to look at the aging process as it unfolds.

Aging with grace. Acknowledging your inner beauty and accepting the natural aging process is what aging with grace is all about. It is not about bowing down to the outside world, but drawing strength from within. Whether or not you have had or are planning cosmetic surgery, it is never too late to start working on the inside; the inner, all-knowing voice that says you are OK just exactly the way you are. Slow, methodical, internal changes can actually result in long-term benefits—given a chance.

The bottom line is you will do exactly what you want to do. This may mean having surgery to get back something you feel you’ve lost (or never had in the first place). It may mean choosing to find the positive aspects of aging naturally. Whichever path you choose in your life, I wish you well. Serenity may come from cosmetic changes; however, I believe true peace comes from doing inner work. It takes longer and seems to be much more difficult than the quick-fix alternatives, but the benefits are everlasting. The results from changing the inside of who you are will in turn change how the world sees you. It’s a beautiful thing.

For more articles I’ve written about the aging process, see:

May health, clear skin, and a feeling of inner peace
be yours—for a lifetime.