The authentic self is the soul made visible.Sarah Ban Breathnach
Have you ever found yourself saying to yourself, or to someone else, “Act your age”? What does that mean anyway? Does it mean that if we are a certain age, or have a certain status in “society” that it is not okay to be playful or silly? Does it mean that it’s not okay to spontaneously dance in our living room? Does it mean that if we look great in jeans, or heels, that it’s not okay to wear them because of our age? Does it mean that after a certain age it’s not okay to listen and enjoy current music?
No one has determined an age limit to behaviors we enjoyed in our youth, yet many of us have beliefs, whether they are conscious or unconscious, that at a certain age we need to stop doing some things and think in a different way.
I’m not talking about an adult who is immature. I am talking about an adult who is a contemporary thinker, young at heart and spirit, and enjoys life to the fullest despite their age. I’m talking about allowing ourselves the natural inclination to be who we truly are.
Do You Act as Old as You Are, or as Old as You Feel?
Do you feel like the age you truly are? Is how you think, feel, and act in alignment with what others, and your own perceptions, are regarding your age? How do you reconcile the difference? Do you feel compelled to act the way you believe you “should” act given your age? Do you follow the expectations of how you “should” behave based upon whatever your perceived status may be in your community, or society in general? Or are you allowing yourself to be truly who you are despite this notion?
Are You Being True to Yourself?
If you’re not being true to yourself, you might be depriving yourself of the little joys in life. You don’t have to retire activities that brought you happiness in your youth just because you feel you’ve capped the age limit.
- Do you feel out of step with your contemporaries because you may tend to suppress your true self?
- Do you “fake your feelings or actions” to avoid behaving in a way which might be perceived as younger than you are, even if you may be completely comfortable with yourself, and your views, taste and interests?
- Do you feel younger at heart, soul, body, mind, and spirit than the people who are in your age bracket and socioeconomic status?
- Is there a sense of alienation because those of a similar age bracket, and societal position, are in a very different place than we are?
Do You Sit with the Crowd? Or Dance to the Beat of Your Own Drum?
I know for some of us feeling self-conscious may keep us from doing certain things because of the fear that doing so would ruin our sense of belonging. We want to fit in and be accepted by our peers. For others there are judgments around what is okay for certain ages, or if one has certain status in the community, and what is not acceptable.
For more tips on comfortably expressing your authentic self, please clink on the link below for my complete article.
My wish for you today is that you permit yourself to rediscover the joy in expressing your inside self on the outside and that this experience brings you much happiness.
-Kathleen Dwyer Blair, LCSW, BCD
Director Nassau Guidance and Counseling