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Conversationalist

Yes, Image Matters

I have not submitted any comments to this community recently.  The reasons are the same – still grieving, still alone, still journaling, still thinking about what the new future will look like.  In the midst of this uncertainty, I have begun to realize that those around me, although not necessarily supportive, are consciously or subconsciously, judging me.  Who cares?  You may think you can toughen it out alone, but we all still live in a world with others.  We still need them for various important reasons – our jobs if we work, our kids if we have them, our family and friends, etc.  So, while we are grieving and hurting, we have to face reality and start thinking about how we are perceived by them.  If we want to start healing, we have been advised by professionals to take care of ourselves.  That is not always the first thought on our minds.  Once you start doing this, I have found that some of my prior vanities remerge, like how my hair looks, should I start wearing makeup again, should I polish my fingernails?  These thoughts could sound out of touch with grieving, but I think it is actually healthy if we want to rejoin society.  No one, other than a Grievance Counselor or other medical professional, really wants to hear in detail about your past experiences and loss.  That is the reality.  Unless folks have gone through a major loss, they will not understand and expect you to magically recover.  So, while you are going through your own private grievance, you still have to function in society and in my observation project a more independent and can-do persona.  Not easy and may sound superficial, but I am going to start thinking about this while I try to reenter a more sociable environment.  New perspective for the future.  Have a good one.

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Trusted Social Butterfly

(1 comment) Yes MC @mc6844 , this is so sad, Nicole 😥

 


@mc6844 wrote:

I just read this post. I too have been amazed at pre-conceived notions of Seniors. For instance if a Senior repeats something they said. I've noticed this is usually because they've not been acknowledged. And feel they weren't heard. Or under stress or being dismissed because they're old, as if they don't know anything. I've seen this firsthand. It's very disconcerting.✏ 

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Conversationalist

Hi, Nicole and mc, I am encouraged by your thoughts about aging and image.  As we know, they are not the same.  This can lead to self-doubt as we are grieving and aging.  Very unnecessary.  I am approaching this dilemma with some practical improvements - staying healthy physically and mentally is key.  Also reorienting oneself to productive relationships and activities has helped me.  As you said, seniors can be marginalized in our society.  But then again, in the larger context, many other people are also marginalized which may help explain the increased mental health issues we face.  I try to reach out to others as often as possible, neighbors' kids, dog walkers, etc, remembering that everyone deserves to be treated with respect.  Sometimes it is a struggle, but I find it is worth it and can make a difference in their lives and mine.  We are all in this together.  Good luck and please stay positive.  Your friend, Sue

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Honored Social Butterfly

Very good topic @SueS788527 I really thought I

was doing okay until pictures were taken of me

when my son married in January and again in

KY two weeks ago. Despite feeling like I’m smiling,

I look dismal in every picture. I don’t know why.

I feel I’m smiling until I see the picture and it’s so

upsetting. Everytime I think I’m solidly on my

feet, something like this shows me that I’m not

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Conversationalist

Hi, BeatloverKT, I am sorry you are experiencing the same feelings I am. To some extent the difference between the photo and how you visualize yourself.  That may not be all bad, because on the inside we are feeling stronger and more like our "usual" selves.  Unfortunately, age also plays a role as well.  While I will never by a "10" (and never was), I am starting to think how I can project a healthier (not sure if that is the right word) image.  Perhaps this is an opportunity for me to work on areas of improvement without too much expense - it may also be time to start letting the newly earned self-confidence shine through. A smile might help as well - which is still hard, just like being able to laugh is also a struggle.  These are little steps.  I am working with what I have, which is more than just a reflection in the lens.  I wish you continued progress on your journey, knowing that you are unique and special.  Good luck. Your friend, Sue

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Honored Social Butterfly

@SueS788527 I am sorry for all

you’re experiencing as well. Thank

you for your good advice, as always.

I do know some things that would

definitely make me feel happier.
I have been working hard in that

area. Best of luck to us both 💜

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Conversationalist

I started to think about image, and specifically self image again, now almost 2 years after my husband died.  I can easily add another 2 years to the anticipatory grieving during the caregiving mode.  In fact, I am still remembering those days and trying to reconcile them and accept them.  Easier said than done.  The last thing I have been doing is looking at is how I have changed with these challenging times.  I recently took a selfie, the first one in quite a while, and I was amazed by my sadness which was written on my face.  Yes, I didn't think about that appearance is another casualty of the loss and the grievance journey.  At first, I was in despair.  After a while, I realized to some degree this was the look of fighting the fight - first to make my husband's life easier and longer if possible and then trying to regain some inner peace and self-identity on this journey.  I realized that inner self-awareness and to some extent peace of mind may make a difference.  I am working on strengthening my self worth and self-image. I don't just look at the various facial features but my overall look and feel.  I think that may help me and restore some self-confidence.  As I previously posted, we still live in a world of many different people and at the end need to assimilate with them and find community and fellowship.  I wish all of you the best as we all navigate this grievance journey.  Your friend, Sue

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Honored Social Butterfly

I’m sorry my response is late, I just found this post. I think it depends how important this activity is to you. My perspective is as I’ve gone thru this process for 4+ years is I can’t stand to be involved with anything where I feel like I’m mocked, disrespected or ignored. No matter how important the activity is. But that’s just me. I have put up with so much insensitivity and ignorance from people for years that I worked with, family members and strangers. And it has continued with his passing. I just won’t tolerate it any more. But that’s just me. I hope if you stick with it, you can find a way to be heard and respected and make it work for you. You deserve it!

 

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Conversationalist

Thank you for your comments.  I totally agree with them and am glad I am not the only one who will not tolerate bad behavior.  The old me would have had a direct confrontation with the Board Member but to be honest I was too shocked to even think of a good response.  I did shake my head at the time and told him that I do not agree.  He was smirking at me and I felt sad that someone with no empathy would lead a senior outreach effort at all.  It may explain why the number of volunteers is dropping off if he is the face to the organization.  Talking to the Administrator would only put her on the spot and she is powerless to change his behavior.  Still thinking about it.  Thanks again for your candor. Sue

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Honored Social Butterfly

Such a tough situation to be in. It is amazing how unempathetic people seem to rule the world sometimes. I hope it works out for you. 
Keep us posted on the outcome

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Conversationalist

I am rereading some of my earlier postings and find that this one on self-image is really life changing as I start developing a "new identity."  I am now in my second year of grieving.  I am starting to relaunch myself, including attending some social events and volunteering.  These are small steps and generally helpful.  While self-improvement is critical, I also am seeing that I still have to deal with the preconceived and sometimes prejudiced views of others.  I attended an appreciation event for one of the local senior service groups in my area.  I have evolved from being a client, to being a contributor and now a volunteer.  I am proud of that evolution.  However, I experienced major childish and biased comments from certain Board members who laughed about certain senior behavior including dismissing concerns about safety and welfare.  I was obviously horrified and now am wondering what I should do.  At a minimum, I think these Board members need serious orientation on how to effectively interact with seniors and maintain a professional demeanor and confidentiality.  Seniors should not be lumped into any one group and behaviors should not be laughed at and shared at social events.  Yes, we have to work on our self-image but at the same time there are people out there who are ignorant and judgmental.  Perhaps they have unresolved issues with their parents and grandparents?  It is just alarming to me that some of them are in key positions to "help" seniors, probably more for their egos and then anything else, as I found out yesterday.  Any ideas how I should handle this since I am invested in this local group, but now disheartened by the callous behavior of some of the key Board member? No wonder it is so hard to readjust to a new path.  All I can say is good luck and keep the faith. I know there are caring people out there.  We just have to connect with them and not let the others deter our own progress.  Good luck on your journey.  Sue

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Bronze Conversationalist

I just read this post. I too have been amazed at pre-conceived notions of Seniors. For instance if a Senior repeats something they said. I've noticed this is usually because they've not been acknowledged. And feel they weren't heard. Or under stress or being dismissed because they're old, as if they don't know anything. I've seen this firsthand. It's very disconcerting.

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Silver Conversationalist

I'm just wondering,are these insensitive and ignorant board members governed by anyone? A director perhaps? Maybe an email,a note to the correct entity,someone in a position to listen and hopefully effect a positive change would be a start. In any event bless you for trying to do what you are doing. Sounds like that board can certainly use a positive influence from someone.

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Contributor

    Sometimes putting on makeup, doing your hair, and polishing your fingernails hold enough feeling of normalcy to be therapeutic--just Doing Something/Anything that you've always done before. 

    Then sometimes having makeup, nice hair, and/or shiny nails can begin to make you feel better about yourself--spending that time and looking that good shows that you're really worth something, and that you might really be able to fit back in society. 

     May doing your nails strengthen you and give you peace and hope!!! 

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Periodic Contributor

You spot on Sue! The many things that happen to us all as we age, are very likely to cause us grief. And "poor, poor pitiful me", just doesn't work. Each day is a new day. Peace & Love.

 

 

 

 

 

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