Embracing the Evolving Self

October 25, 2023
Embracing the Evolving Self

Today, I stumbled upon a thought-provoking article that really resonated with me. The piece, written by Lucy Cavendish for the Guardian delves into the journey of self-discovery and self-love as we age. As someone who's passionate about personal growth and self-acceptance, I couldn't resist discussing this inspiring topic.

Lucy's story begins with a moment of self-reflection that many of us, particularly women in their 50s, can relate to. She found herself on a solo holiday, watching young families on the beach, and realising that she no longer fit into the roles she once held. As a mother of four, she had defined herself as a working mother, but now, with her children grown, she was struggling to answer the question: "Who am I?"

This sense of feeling "lesser" or "irrelevant" is something many women experience at this stage of life. Maybe you resonate too? It's like an internal struggle to reconcile the new version of ourselves with the roles we've left behind. Lucy highlights how the feeling can be described as feeling "othered," as if you’ve lost touch with your true self. The discomfort and unease this creates is, of course, unsettling.

What's intriguing about Lucy's journey is that she came to realise that this feeling of irrelevance wasn't solely about external factors like her physical appearance changing. It went deeper. She discovered she had denied and suppressed aspects of her true self, what she calls the "shadowy bits," for so long that they were now emerging and challenging her perception of who she was.

The article quotes psychologist Susie Orbach, who suggests that this self-othering may stem from our inability to receive care and support. We're so accustomed to giving to others that we've neglected taking care of ourselves.

It's fascinating to think that our self-esteem and self-worth are often defined by how we think others feel about us. When our social landscape shifts as we age, those external affirmations become less accessible, and our "darker" self can start to dominate our thoughts.

So, what can we do about this? Lucy suggests deep acceptance of self and learning to love our new, emergent self. It's about embracing the fluctuations that we naturally will have over our lifetime, and being open to those changes. This shift in perspective can empower us to let go of external validation and cultivate a sense of contentment.

I couldn't agree more with the idea that this is a call to action, an opportunity to love ourselves in ways we might never have before. It's a chance to honour our true (or maybe newfound) feelings, needs, desires, and passions, to set and enforce boundaries, and most importantly, to acknowledge that we are lovable just as we are.

In the end, this article is a testament to the resilience and strength of women. We navigate this complex journey of self-discovery and self-love as we move on in our years. It's a reminder that we can adapt, grow, and thrive, no matter our age or circumstances. So, let's embrace our evolving selves and start loving who we are becoming. After all, we're perfectly imperfect, and that's something to celebrate.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you experienced a similar moment of self-reflection or self-discovery? I'd love to hear your stories and insights. Let's keep this conversation going. 

Written by Alice Abba

Sharing my love of all things adventure, travel, food & fun at Connected Women