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The Biggest Problem for Midlife Women…Negative Self-Talk!

This has been quite an interesting summer as I transition from high school teacher to small business owner.  As many of you know, while I made decisions, I worked as a retail sales associate at Soft Surroundings.  While the work is very hard, I learned so much and am glad the company allowed me to come on board knowing it was not long term.  But, it looks as though I will continue to be there for at least one day a week…really for the fun of it.  I love the experience, the people and the company! (Not to mention the clothes!)

The Biggest Problem for Midlife Women...Negative Self-Talk!

I could write a whole post about treating sales associates with respect…smile, don’t talk down to them, and button those buttons on clothing you do not want.  Please do not make someone earning a living while on their feet for hours the brunt of your bad day.  Ok, I have vented enough….it is always good to walk in someone else’s shoes for a time.

However, what has resonated the most with me is how the majority of women midlife and beyond seem to have such low self- confidence.  Soft Surroundings is popular with this target audience, giving me time to listen to the customers day after day.  Here are the typical comments:

  1. I am too fat to look good in anything.
  2. I am too skinny to look good in anything.
  3. I am too old to look good in anything.
  4. My boobs are too big to look good in anything.
  5. My time is up….I do not expect to look good again.
  6. I need my daughter to tell me what to wear.
  7. I need my husband to tell me what to wear.
  8. I am so short now, there are no clothes made for me.

They come in hoping for answers, but full of excuses as to why things will not work.  It has been fun to look into eyes and say, “You are beautiful.  Just as you are.  Dress the body you have. I am here to show you how.”  Some relax and we have fun learning together, but, sadly, others leave still feeling defeated because they would not allow themselves to believe otherwise.  One lady accused me of lying about my age in order to get her to buy clothes…she did not believe I am 62 or that she could look or feel better about herself in her sixties.

I like to ask women, “When was the last time you felt amazing in your clothes?  What did that outfit look like?  What were the colors, the design, and where were you going?”  It opens new positive conversations and helps them to remember confident, powerful moments.

Ladies, I would like to ask you today…Why do we do this?  Why do we participate in such damaging self- talk?  Why do we tend to believe the negative more than the positive?

A healthy dose of confidence can be a pathway to joy, strength, and opportunity.  This issue is deeper than the clothes we wear.  How have some of you turned it around?

Thanks for your comments and for stopping by the Joy Boutique…see you next week!, midlife, columnist, blogger

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Leslie Roberts Clingan

Saturday 29th of August 2015

Great food for thought. I am guilty of negative self speak but at the same time, I feel better about myself than I ever have. I honestly have more wrinkles, more grays, more cellulite but more confidence. Being 57 agrees with me. Leslie

kay kerns

Monday 24th of August 2015

So right! I used to work as a retail sales now I always try to be courteous and appreciative of any help I may get when out shopping. The sad truth is that I feel so much less confident now in my late 50's than ever before. It is a constant struggle to perk up and make the most of myself. Thank you for the encouraging words!

Paula Reyne

Friday 14th of August 2015

I think we put too much emphasis on beauty and not enough on much of anything else when it comes to women and girls. If all we are, is just what we are on the outside (i.e. just our physical beauty), then of course we're going to get more and more down on ourselves as time goes by because beauty fades. I'm not saying that we stop paying attention to it, but only that it should be the only thing.


Wednesday 12th of August 2015

Pam I know how prevalent this is and some of the blame goes to the fashion, beauty and advertising agencies that for years held up to us who the PERFECT woman SHOULD look like! It was such a farce and finally a few companies like Dove, and Nordstrom using older models are making a difference. We must all change our negative self talk though because it has been passed on to our daughters.

xoxo Karena The Arts by Karena Artist Nicoletta Belletti

Pamela Lutrell

Wednesday 12th of August 2015

This has been a great conversation, ladies. After I posted this yesterday, I was later in the nail salon. I love to listen to conversations in beauty salons. Today is the first day of school for some in our area, and one mom was lamenting that her nine year old daughter will only wear long sleeves to school...even in 100 degree heat. Some of the other students have made fun of her darker arm hair. Suddenly, it hit me that we begin this negative self talk as kids...often after bullies have made an impact. For some, we carry it our whole lives. I love so much of what Angela wrote above...I do think in conversations and as mothers and grandmothers we can make an impact with others about acceptance. It is time we engage in this endeavor to silence the bullies and the inappropriate media messages and make a difference for all of us. We are all beautiful...curves, wrinkles and all! Just keep those smiles going!

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