An A-Z of Midlife - Part 2 (C&D)

ageing midlife Oct 11, 2021

In this second part of my A-Z of Midlife I am covering the letters C & D. I think I’m getting it in the right order! Part 1 covering, A & B can be found here.

C is for Courage Confidence and Comfort

D is for Doubt and Dance

Confidence and Courage

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I often have clients say they want to feel more confident, that they lack confidence to do a certain thing or in themselves.  However, you can behave confidently without feeling confident.  What is needed is courage - a decision to take the action, do the thing, 

It’s more about developing our self-trust, self-belief, self-acceptance.  Courage is what we want to develop so that we can take action despite our fears or doubts.  When I talk about confidence this is what is at the crux of it.  

Reframing our thoughts so we can find the courage to act confidently, to take action and in turn develop our self-trust and belief.  It’s taking the action despite our fears.  Stretching our comfort zone and taking small steps.

If we wait for the confidence to come we could well never take action.  It is finding the courage to take the first small step that increases the feeling of confidence.

As we head into midlife it is understandable that our feeling confident may take a bit of a knock.  As I’ve previously talked about our role changes and we can feel uncertain - a bit lost.  It takes courage to admit that, to talk about or face how we are feeling.  If our life has been structured around family and children we can feel like we’ve lost some of our identity to being mum.

Then there are the physical changes - physically ageing can make us feel less accepted, and less attractive.  With all the emphasis in the beauty industry of staying young, and looking young, ageing can be seen as a negative.  And again, as I’ve said before it’s a gift.

The more we can develop and use our courage the more our feeling confident grows.  Each action we take, each time we trust ourselves, each time we stretch our comfort zone we grow.

Confidence is not a necessity to do anything, it is a byproduct of doing the thing.
— SAMMIE FLEMING

I think this is the quote I use the most. It sums it up nicely and is so true. Do it and you feel confident but it’s the courage to do it that is the first requirement.

Comfort

Comfort zone, comfortable in our own skin, comfort in what we wear, comfort in who we are - all relevant uses of the word comfort.

It’s easy as we age to get stuck in our comfort zone - and this is the thing about comfort zone, it can actually be uncomfortable.  It’s when we want more, want to change something, want to grow that we refer to it as the comfort zone as a negative thing.  Up until the point, we feel it is keeping us stuck in some way we don’t even think about it.  


I’m not into smashing our comfort zones - but stretching it a bit at a time.  Too big a stretch and you are likely to rebound back.  Small steps, and stretching feels more manageable, not so scary but you can still see progress when you reflect.  It’s also a more sustainable approach.

Linking to courage above, it’s finding the courage to take the first small step to stretch our comfort zone to take the action and move towards wherever or whatever it is we want. 

As I nodded to above, midlife can be a time where we go through physical changes that make us lose confidence in our bodies and appearance but it can also be a time where we become comfortable enough in who we are that we care less and are affected less by what others may think.  It can be a time when we stick 2 fingers up to the expectations put on us to look and act a certain way and do it our way (I feel a song coming on).

I love the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph

It starts…

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
— WARNING - JENNY JOSEPH

And ends…

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
— WARNING - JENNY JOSEPH
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I say let’s embrace the attitude of this old lady now!

Surely that’s the aim?  That we all feel comfortable in who we are that we no longer feel the need to please others by sacrificing ourselves.  To know that we need to be our own priority too. That putting ourselves first, and focusing on our dreams and goals is not selfish.  It doesn’t mean we’re going to ignore and abandon everything else in our lives. For women, in particular, so often their own needs and wants are at the bottom of the list after everyone else.

I spoke about the comfort of big pants in Part 1 of this series.  But more than that, wear what you want, what you find comfortable and feel yourself in.  

A bonus for the letter C - chin hairs.   Do I really need to write anything other than that😂

Doubt 

Obviously, we can feel doubt at any age, but as we head towards midlife, our 40’s, 50’s & beyond doubt can definitely rear its head.  If you are having feelings that life is rushing by, is this it?, uncertainty around getting older, it is totally understandable that you could start to doubt yourself, Doubt what you’re doing in your life. Doubt about making changes. Doubt that what you are doing already or want to do are enough.

Coupled with some of the perimenopause symptoms that can arise it can be a time of losing trust in ourselves, losing belief.

We need to show ourselves understanding - if we are hit with symptoms that make you feel foggy, uncertain, emotional know that this will not be forever.  For many it’s not every day, so on the days that you are affected are you able to take some time out, clear the diary, ask for help?  Don’t just try and battle on through -  you could well end up feeling worse. Explain to those close to you how you are feeling and what’s going on - even if they can’t help with the actual symptoms, just knowing will help them to be more supportive and understanding.  

How are your thoughts when you are feeling this doubt?  Check out this previous article, in which I talk about ways to reframe your thoughts and the language you use. 

Can you find the courage to overcome your doubts and do “the thing” anyway - big or small.  That will help dispel the doubt.

Dance

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Now, I’m no dancer - even if I did do ballet when I was a young girl, but over the last 18 months or so I have rediscovered how dancing can change how you feel - it can be a real processor of emotions, help you raise your energy levels, end up having you in stitches.  Most of my dancing is done in the privacy of my kitchen when no one is watching - I may occasionally try and get my son to join in - not impressed😂

Putting on some loud music and getting the blood pumping can be a real quick fix to low energy, low mood, lethargy.

That seems pretty obvious really - it’s releasing the endorphins, just like when you go to the gym or do a workout or go for a run.  Physical movement makes you feel good.

What I’ve really learnt in the last year or so is how dance can help me move emotions through my body and clear my mind too.  Not just due to low energy but when things are feeling stuck, fear, uncertainty - the emotions that have come up over the last 18 months.  This tends to be quieter music, I’ll often close my eyes and move in the way that feels right.  This is definitely done in private!!!! I’ll always feel freer and clearer.

They say “dance like no one is watching” & I’ll admit, I generally make sure no one is😂

Try it - see how it makes you feel.

Do you feel you need to uncover your courage to be comfortable as you, to stretch the comfort zone, support to overcome doubt?


If so I can help.  To find out how why not book a discovery call to chat it through with me. Click here to book.

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