GUEST POST: We project to others the image of ourselves that we believe and carry in our own minds

March 27, 2024
self image

Please enjoy this guest post from Lydia of Where the Wild Things Were. Lydia sent me this post quite a while ago but as you’d know, I needed to completely drop the blogging ball for a while so I handed over the weekly #WWWhimsy linkup to Deb and Sue who very kindly helped out for a few weeks. Now I’m finally getting around to sharing this wonderful thought provoking post by Lydia. Sorry it took a while Lydia!

Please note that I probably won’t get around to replying to comments or reading your posts until tomorrow. Today I will be spending all day and into the night over at the family home. We’ll be packing up contents of cupboards etc and we have removalists coming to remove some of the furniture that family are taking. It’s going to be a big day!

Have a great week everyone!

Ciao for now,


self image

“We project to others the image of ourselves that we believe and carry in our own minds. With humble pride think well of yourself and others will do the same.”

self imageA friend of mine is getting married. She’s had rough years of marriage breakdown and rebuilding a life as a single parent. She’s now met a lovely man and they are cementing a life together. She made a comment about losing weight before the wedding.

It got me wondering, how do we as mature women, having lived a full life and embarked on a menopausal journey still be reduced to this? I am not immune. I was listening to a book on menopause for another post and while my symptoms are manageable, I did start to wonder if I should take HRT to shed the pounds that have decided at this stage of life to suddenly live around my middle. I did shake that idea away but I will admit I pondered it longer than I’m proud of.

Why do we still rarely see wrinkles in movies or a size 14 on tv? Why are all our achievements eclipsed by a few pounds in the ‘wrong’ places?

We are meant to be the guiding lights for our daughters, but I find I’m learning so much more form the younger generations than those that came before.

I was at the Sumo and the host made a joke that was deemed a ‘fat’ joke and the audience quickly turned, making it clear it was unacceptable. The MC quickly back-peddled and I was a little proud at how far we have come in this mentality, at least when it comes to others. Or is it just when it comes to men?

I am exercising more and trying to eat more cautiously but most of all it’s my thought processes I’m trying to work on. I’ve been experimenting and whenever I wear a dress I think I’m a little too out of shape for, I almost always get a compliment from a stranger.

So even at this ripe old age, what I see in the mirror is distorted by beauty standards of my youth. Intellectually I understand this but over-riding the critical vision is much harder.

My question – who put it in there and why is it so hard to update?

As for my friend, I told her to enjoy the dress and she will look wonderful. Confidence is like make up than covers up our flaws…


 

LYDIA LEE

Lydia C. Lee is a haphazard Sydney-based blogger, who can be found at Where the Wild Things Were or talking travel at her terribly named Holidays, Hellidays and the Journeys in between. She is still working out what to do with her one and only precious life but is too distracted by fun…

 


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19 Comments

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 27, 2024 at 6:28 am

    Great post – bahahaha! Thanks for sharing. Hope you got all you needed done, without too much distress. It’s a big job emotionally. Big hugs to you. I’ll pop by during the day for comments…

    • Reply Min March 28, 2024 at 7:39 am

      It IS a great post Lydia! Thank you so much for guest posting. It’s been such a big help to me during this busy time! Sadly, I still have that critical inner dialogue over my body. I hope that someday I can just accept how I am but I’m not sure that I’ll ever get rid of it. It seems ingrained. A sign of the times I grew up in perhaps? Thanks again and have a wonderful Easter! xo

  • Reply Christie Hawkes March 27, 2024 at 7:55 am

    Well said, Lydia. When I was younger, I thought for sure by the time I was in my 60s I wouldn’t worry about my body shape anymore. I was wrong. I am more confident in myself now, but that little voice still speaks out on occasion. One of my daily mantras is “I love my strong healthy body. I treat it with kindness and respect.”

    Thanks for sharing this guest post with us, Min. Good luck with the house!

    • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 27, 2024 at 9:27 am

      It is surprising how long that little voice has hung around in some of us…but yes, we should be grateful for what our bodies allow us to do!

    • Reply Min March 28, 2024 at 7:41 am

      Hi Christie, I’m the same. I don’t think I’ll ever be completely happy with my short, curvy body shape but I do try and shift my focus to one of gratitude whenever I find my inner critic is at work. I focus on being grateful for having legs that carry me wherever I want to do and arms and fingers that allow me to be creative and more, etc. Thanks for the good luck wishes! Have a wonderful Easter! xo

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 March 27, 2024 at 7:56 am

    Good luck with the move, Min it will be a very emotional time for you. Sending love and hugs.

    Hi Lydia, body image has been an issue even since I was a teenager (back in the dark ages). I do think that there has been slow progress in fashion with most fashion labels now gearing their styles to cover the fuller figure. In fact, I think it has gone the other way as I struggle to find clothes that fit my petite size. Who put it out there? The media! I remember reading Dolly and then progressing to Cosmopolitan when I was young and it was all about how we should look with impossibly thin models who were airbrushed to wihing an inch of their life. I think with age comes hopefully wisdom and by the time you are in your mid 60s as I am, you worry more about a healthy body and what you need from your body to live a full and active life in aging. xx

    • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 27, 2024 at 9:29 am

      Yes, a lot of stuff was wired into us as kids (teens) and it was designed to make us feel bad – because you don’t make money if women are happy with their looks!

    • Reply Min March 28, 2024 at 7:47 am

      Thanks Sue! Body image is something I’ve struggled with ever since having my children and my body was never quite the same again. I try to shift focus to gratitude for all the things that my body allows me to do but I’m not sure I’ll ever be happy and accepting of my body shape. It seems to have become an ingrained way of thinking of myself but you never know … miracles can happen! Like you, a healthy body and keeping good mobility are way more important to me these days so along with gratitude for all that my body allows me to do, that’s where I try to keep my focus. Have a wonderful Easter! xo

  • Reply Cathy March 27, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    lol HRT was suggested to me many years ago with the aside that ‘you won’t get wrinkles either’. Nothing mentioned about losing weight. I declined and have accepted me for what I am. The big M came and went and life carried

    Now and again when the GP gives a little (soft) well meaning pep talk I’ll stay off the sweet stuff and exercise more – for health rather than looks. Although sometimes it can be difficult to find some clothes for pleasantly plump short in stature females which annoys me. Even classic styles seem to be cut for a thinner shape.
    There are plenty of healthy strong slightly overweight females around these days – that’s what we should all be.

    I’ve no idea where it all started – I remember my mother (always the practical one) once saying it was easier (and sometimes cheaper) to buy ‘size 12’ clothing than ‘size 16’ so to think about that as I grew older.

    • Reply Min March 28, 2024 at 7:55 am

      Hi Cathy, I tried HRT in various different strengths and so forth but it made me feel worse. It didn’t agree with me so I don’t take anything for ‘the big M’ and it’s aftermath. I’m certainly curvier than I was in my younger years and that is something I struggle to accept. I’m not feeling the most comfortable in my skin at the time of typing this though. I ‘stress eat’ and as I’ve had quite a lot of stress lately I’m not feeling my best. If I can get myself back into a good routine I’ll be feeling much better about myself and more comfortable in my own skin again. Hope you have a wonderful Easter! xo

    • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 28, 2024 at 3:27 pm

      No idea where it all started….I don’t think many of us could answer that. But it’s probably worth investigating!

  • Reply Denyse Whelan March 27, 2024 at 3:30 pm

    Great to read and consider your words Lydia. Thanks for sharing.

    I have such a complicated relationship with myself, my appearance and my size…and I sure have been someone who’s done the up and down thing and up again too, that I really can’t comment.

    I see many more women proudly showing their bodies at whatever their size is and my old words in my head, and those I took on board in my earlier years, means I still want to ask them if they are REALLY OK?

    I hope today is going well Min.

    Denyse.

    • Reply Min March 28, 2024 at 7:56 am

      Hi Denyse, I have a complicated relationship with myself, my appearance etc too. Yesterday went ok. The rain was not great! We made another dent in the job ahead so that is good but there is still a lot to be done! Guess how I’ll be spending my Easter break??!! Wishing you a very Happy Easter! xo

    • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 28, 2024 at 3:28 pm

      Oh yes. I think you and I have talked before about old wiring that seems to be able to over ride our imporved intellectual thoughts….

  • Reply Joanne March 28, 2024 at 12:52 am

    OH I can so relate to this… sadly the voice I often hear in my head is my grandmother’s who was quite vocal about “she has such a pretty face”… usually followed by a remark about someone’s weight. It’s a hard mindset to change! I struggled with eating disorders for years so I’m happy that I’m healthy and I try really hard not to obsess over numbers either on the scale or on my clothes but I can’t deny that I still sigh anytime I see the scale go up or feel like my clothes are getting tighter.

    • Reply Min March 28, 2024 at 7:59 am

      Hi Joanne, I can relate to what you’ve said. It IS a hard mindset to change when you’ve been judged on your body your entire life and taught that without it being the perfect slim shape, then you weren’t acceptable in society. Sigh! I would hope that this wasn’t the case for the current young generations but sadly with social media as it is, I doubt much has changed. Hope you have a wonderful Easter! xo

    • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 28, 2024 at 3:30 pm

      The strangest thing is at times the voice in our head says things we would never say to or even think about freinds! It is one of the oddest parts of human nature imo…

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 28, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    It’s an interesting subject Lydia and we all seem to fall for the ‘weight loss will make us happy’ line as evidenced by your friend and her upcoming wedding. My mother at 85 is still concerned about her excess weight so I think it’s here to stay for some. I am spending time and effort in getting fitter and healthier and am trying to tell myself that the numbers don’t always tell the story. We all have so much going on but it seems some things never change!
    Hope all is going well Min! Happy Easter.

    • Reply Min March 29, 2024 at 9:37 am

      Hi Deb, all is going along ok. Still lots to do over the Easter weekend and probably more after that! On the topic of worrying about our weight – I still do and I think most of us do at least to some degree! However, I do also have gratitude for a functioning body that allows me to do all the things I can do, and I put effort into keeping it healthy and well (as much as I can at the moment) so when I start getting fixated on my weight, the advantage of my nearly 60 years on earth is that I do have the wisdom now to know to switch my focus to gratitude for all my body can do as I know that many are not so lucky! You have a fabulous Easter too! xo

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