Aging Gracefully with the Freedom to Express Ourselves
Is expressing our opinions a reality for all of us?
Yes, it is definitely a reality. Most of us have the ability for aging gracefully with the freedom to express ourselves. You will form your own definition of successful and graceful aging. It is important to acknowledge that while you are a winner in many areas, you might be lacking in others. Self-expression is important and many of us believe that we have not gotten there yet. It’s just not that easy for everyone. Expressing our opinion takes practice for those who are not used to it. Many are accustomed to wavering–should I or shouldn’t I. Let’s face it. There are times when we think that no one will care what our thoughts are, that our thoughts might not get relayed without getting them mixed up, that no one will understand us, that we will get tongue tied, etc.
Why is this? If you have spent years in the workplace, you probably learned to keep quiet unless asked or unless you held a position where your opinions were appreciated or required. Another scenario has to be the one where one spouse never wanted the other’s opinion, and if given, found that it was rejected. And then there were the parents who did not value or encourage our opinions.
Why should you be concerned about expressing yourself?
Talking about our thoughts and feelings is liberating. Not talking about them can lead to pent-up anger which displays itself in other ways. It is hard work to keep them in and people don’t get to know you for you. What do I mean by that? They only get to know what you choose to tell them or demonstrate to them—that’s what we call having a superficial relationship. One sure test of this is that a person who is always telling people the good things about themselves and not owning up to the rest of who they are will most likely be questioning if someone really likes them. We have to be willing to examine ourselves and take responsibility when we make mistakes that affect other people and our relationships with them.
“It’s this freedom that’s the key to becoming visible again. Not caring what others think is freeing. Expressing yourself any way you want is freeing. Having opinions, emotional wisdom, spiritual understanding…these things free you. And in freedom, we find power.”
What can you do about it?
- Convince yourself that you can do it—it is in the realm of possibility.
- Ask family members to help you with this: Tell them you will be offering more opinions and ask them to give you honest, but respectful, responses. Learn how to accept that feeling of being different when someone disagrees with you. We all have our differences. Set yourself up for disappointment on purpose and learn how to appropriately respond to the situation? You will feel successful and empowered to continue. It is okay to be different.
- Branch out and practice with people in a group, remembering that you can handle those feelings that come with defeat or with being different.
Other ways of self-expression
- Learn a new hobby or get back to one of those you used to do and enjoyed. A hobby offers endless possibilities of improving your ability to express yourself. We like talking about things we are passionate about.
- Write about your life and what you are doing to improve it.
- Scrapbook all of those family memories and pictures: This will force you to go through all of those boxes you are saving, free up space, and have more to talk about on those special holidays.
- Educate yourself about alternative points of view. You might not always have the right or best answer! You are the one who will benefit the most by being honest and expressing your point. Use the search bar on the Internet, take courses, watch YouTube videos, join local organizations or clubs, and read other blogs. Also, being a good listener is a learning tool you can’t neglect.
- Experience what it means to be authentic, being true to yourself and to others, knowing that you are loved for yourself and that you are happy with yourself. It is a mountaintop feeling!
As much as I loathe this aging thing, I’m beginning to recognize that I am now a healthier person in terms of self-worth and knowing who I am and where I fit in the world. That’s been a good trade-off for the wrinkles. Patty Duke
Feel free to share your comments on the values of self-expression in the Comments section?.
A beautiful display of affection implying peace.