Keeping a Positive Focus in the Aging Process
by Jan Collins
Aging can mean different things for different people, and for some, that means uncomfortable associations. There are tools we can use over the coming years to give ourselves a more positive journey. How we experience any event is greatly influenced by how we view it, and how we think about something often determines how we feel about it. If we have fears about aging, checking our assumptions and examining our focus can change how we feel about it.
Common issues include regrets and self-criticism, but also self-appreciation. Consider that we always do the best we can at any given time, given what we know and can do and the dilemmas and pressures we perceive. We can use compassion for understanding how we got to where we are now, and forgiveness of our judgments about ourselves and others.
Success can be measured by money, position, IQ score or fame. Sometimes we over-identify with one ability or role, as a popular singer, athlete, college president as if that ability or role is who we are. Others might define a successful person as someone that appreciates their efforts and strengths and works to heal their flaws, creating kind and harmonious relationships with others, contributing what we can in whatever we do and at whatever level, and respecting and finding peace in whatever our niche is in the world. One nice thing about this definition is that we can do it now, at any age.
Instead of worrying about what might happen in the future, it is important to focus on what is actually happening now in our life. If we keep scary thoughts in mind, we end up feeling fearful. There is often an assumption that aging must bring chronic illness and disability. However, many of us probably know seniors that have remained relatively healthy into their 80s and 90s. Project positively into the future, “I will keep active and continue to move forward in my goals and purpose for my life.”
With diminishment of physical ability, accepting its presence rather than resisting it reduces unnecessary stress. There may be a loss. However, we can focus on what we can’t do or on what we can do. Both may be true. Focusing on the negative of anything can keep us feeling miserable. Focusing on the positive helps us to stay healthier and to move forward. With this awareness, we can make tremendous changes in our lives.
Jan Collins, M.Ed., is the owner of Creating Your Positive Life!, LLC., providing heart-centered counseling and spiritual counseling and presentations for organizations. For more information, visit CreatingPositive.net.