Category: Blog Posts

Limiting Beliefs and Women Over 40

Midlife Buzz...thoughts for women over 40

Do you have limiting beliefs? You may be surprised at the things holding you back. Have you ever said something like, “Oh, I was never good at that?”

We have pre-set ideas in our minds that have formed over the years in ways you might not have imagined.

I’m reliable. I’m unreliable. That’s good, that’s bad. I’m not smart about that stuff.

By the time we reach our midlife, those thoughts become fixed in place because we’ve repeated them whether aloud of subconsciously so many times.

Did you ever stop to think where some of those ideas came from? Maybe they’re not true, but you believe they’re true because you’ve accepted the lies you told yourself, or somebody else did for years.

Something worth thinking about is that you may be holding yourself back over one thought or opinion you heard years ago.

“I have a stupid question…” “I’m not smart about stuff like this…”

Why do we put ourselves down before we even give ourselves a chance?

One example is tech stuff. A lot of people are intimidated by technology. My mom doesn’t have a cell phone. My husband has a flip phone. I have an iPhone. So, we’re all at different places with technology. I had to teach my mom how to use an ATM in her 60s after my father died. She didn’t know how to do stop/rewind on a VCR for a long time, because she gave up before she even tried.

Once we showed her how easy these things are if you TRY, you break through the barrier that says, “I’m not good with that stuff.” In her case, she simply hadn’t done it before. She had to get over her fear of trying, and worrying she’d look silly if she stumbled.

What about you? What holds you back? Is it because you haven’t tried? Or, is it because somebody told you that you weren’t good at it?

I’m not a good singer. I sing off-key, but I still do it anyway. 😉 I’ll bet you do, too. Maybe I’m not on a stage singing in front of others, but it doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy the process of singing. Believe me, my kids have told me I can’t sing… okay, so I’m making light of this, but it’s to give you an example so you can relate it to your situation.

When you’re building a website. There are different programs you can use. There’s different coding language. You might know some of it, and you might not know others. It’s because you’ve learned one, and the other you haven’t learned yet. It doesn’t make you bad with it, it simply means you lack the experience. Do you know how you get better at something? Yep, practice. The greatest athletes, musicians, writers, and others in the world get there via practice.

Let’s look at where experiences that left you feeling lackluster could have come from. Maybe you think you’re not good at something because somebody else told you that.

Maybe somebody was trying to teach you something, but they weren’t really that great of a teacher and they said, “Why don’t you get that this? It’s easy.” Them being frustrated and making a snide comment was probably exaggerated in your head, so you’re left feeling stupid in that moment, like, why do they get it, but I don’t. They’re even saying it’s easy.

It becomes a tiny seed that’s planted in your brain. A year later somebody says “Hey, can you do this with me?” Your response… “No. ‘m not good at that stuff.”

You’ve automatically shut down. Not because you can’t, but because somebody’s tiny comment (that seed that got planted) grew into a tree. Now you believe it to be a solid truth set in stone and rooted in place. No changing it.

Think about this.

You shouldn’t wear white shoes or use a white bag after Labor Day… Ever heard that?

It was in fashion magazines, growing up.

I’m in my 50s. If I want to wear white shoes in November, that’s my business. It’s not the end of the world. Somebody somewhere made this rule so we all think we need to follow it because. It probably came down to a marketing decision to sell trends in clothing or shoes.

Quite simply, somebody’s trying to sell you something.

It’s just like they say one of the greatest marketing things that ever happened was with shampoo. They made one tiny change to the bottle to boost sales. Do you know what that change was? They wrote on the back of the bottle to rinse, then  repeat.

Well now suddenly generations are like, well we’re supposed to do it twice…huh, I didn’t realize. Instead, they are stripping the natural oils from their hair, but hey the shampoo market was happy to increase usage of their product.

For them that was a huge win. If they say do it twice, it must be right. Well, maybe not. Maybe it was just about getting consumers to spend more money so the company could sell more product.

You need to question things.

Why have you thought a certain way all your life?

Remember back in the probably the 50s and 60s, you weren’t supposed to ask a guy out. That wasn’t ladylike and considered aggressive. Free love of the 70s changed some of that. Etiquette changed.  Today, people don’t think twice about it. Maybe some more traditional people do, but ideas change. It’s not right or wrong, but ideas are planted into us based on how others may perceive us.

Now I understand etiquette and manners. I’m all about good manners. I have kids and stressed those things that were important in life, but sometimes ideas change. We’re always worried about judgment.

Think about this…

We are told we must use a certain spoon for our soup. This fork is for your salad. Do you know what happens if you use the wrong spoon? Nothing. I don’t care for soup spoons, give me a tea spoon every time. The big round spoon, or the wider spoon is too big. Somebody might look over, giggle and go…ooh, she’s using the wrong spoon. Umm, okay? Whatever. Stop worrying about every tiny detail in life.

Let’s focus on what matters.

Put things in perspective. Why are you doing something? Why aren’t you doing something?

Why do you have a belief? Is because you were told what to believe? Or have you had an experience that led you there?

Maybe it’s time to let it go. Find something that serves you better. Oh yeah, and you don’t need anyone’s permission. So, here’s your friendly reminder…

Remember, you’re a grown up. You get to make the rules.

 

 

Women at 40 Plus: Give Yourself Grace

book shelf with books

Ava Catori and graceful are rarely words used in the same sentence. But you know what, I’m okay with that…

Why?

Because when people think of me, they think of a positive, upbeat, and warm-hearted person. That’s not a bad thing, in fact, it’s a nice trade off.

I’m the person who tries to open a box of cereal or crackers and I end up tearing the box open instead of just opening it normal. I mean well, and I try, but somewhere along the way the box doesn’t open smoothly.

I try to seamlessly open an envelope and it rips. My husband laughs, because I have a magic gift when it comes to the ability to mess this up, every single time!

I think I have a reject button hidden on me somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet.

Anyway. One of the things that I wanted to talk about was perception and how we look at things. I could feel bad about the things that I am not, but I’d rather celebrate the things that I am. I hope you do the same.

There are so many things that people can do that I can’t. But you know what, that’s okay. There are a lot of things that I can do that other people can’t. That’s enough for me.

I think that sometimes we’re so busy focusing on our faults and looking for problems that we can’t fix instead of saying, ‘Hey, you know, it’s pretty awesome that I can do THIS. Maybe I should feel good about it.’

I’m here to tell you that I’m not the most graceful woman you’ll ever meet. It’s okay, my capacity to love and treat others well makes up for this.

And I laugh a lot. I laugh at myself, because it’s the way that you get through life, accepting that you weren’t built for perfection. I could pout, but I have more fun this way.

But, the way that I get through life maybe not the way you get through life. It’s okay. We all have our own ways of doing things. I don’t have to be graceful. I have manners and my etiquette intact when it’s appropriate. I’m not going to embarrass you or myself in a restaurant. No worries!

We simply need to really put life in perspective and enjoy what can enjoy. Some people are wound very tightly, unable to relax. I’m here to remind you that sometimes you need to allow yourself grace. Allow yourself the room to falter or fall or mess up. It’s okay. Life continues forward, and you’ll be just fine.

It can take a while to grow confident with who you. I get that. The older I get, the more comfortable I become in my skin.

Lastly, if you want to change something then change something. If you don’t then don’t, but don’t use it as an excuse to pout. Rather, celebrate your good stuff.

 

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rom-compost

Going Gray

Going Gray Gracefully

Meet Kourtenay. In fact, i just met her myself. Isn’t she adorable?

This is the picture I found when searching for cuts for my upcoming transition to gray. Yes, I messaged her and spoke with her. I have her permission to post her pictures here. By the way, she has a blog and YouTube channel. You can find her at GirlsWithCoupons.com k3

Being Authentic. That’s what we’re told we should be. Be yourself. Love who you are. I love that the internet is bringing this forefront. Growing up, being different meant weird. My mom always said ‘I beat to my own drum’ as a means to explain I was different. Sure, I could fit in, be what everybody expected of me, but being a creative sort – sometimes I wanted to color outside of the lines. I could be non-stop chatty, messy, and boisterous.

As a girl, I felt authentic when I wore mascara, because that’s who I was. A girl that wanted to wear mascara and eyeliner, foundation and the like. Appearance was praised in my household. Sometimes, it feels, more than intelligence. It was finely ground into me that I should look good.

My fashion sense was non-existent. I lived in sweats. My sister has a natural ability to pull anything together and look great. That wasn’t my gift. I wanted to be comfortable, much to my mother’s chagrin.

***

Time has passed and I still live for comfort and a super, creamy soft “Life is Good” sweatshirt. I own seven of them. Yes. Seven of the same ones. They are like a security blanket of comfort. When my husband comes home, he’s greeted by a tangled woman in a pair of pajamas, usually a rayon-soft short set, and a sweatshirt. It’s my wardrobe of choice. For the rare times I leave the house, I leave the PJ’s behind begrudgingly.

I stopped wearing make-up about six months ago. When I look back, there were times I wouldn’t even go to a convenience store for milk without eyeliner. Dear goodness, what if somebody had to see me undone? My face and hair were my sense of control. If they were done… well, I could accomplish anything.

So, why would a woman that’s “only” 48, about to turn 49 decide to go gray? Oh, let’s get the topic of gray/grey off the table. I decided I was going to choose one spelling. Otherwise, I’d alternate every other paragraph to make you aware, that yes, I know it can be spelled both ways. That’s one of the few words that stops me in my writing still today! Deciding how to spell a silly color’s name… go figure. It seems my priorities are scattered, just like my mind.

My hair over the last ten years or so:

hairyears

***

I turn 49 in a few weeks and am starting the process to go gray. If I started now, by 50, it should be mostly grown in. There are a few ways to do it, and I’ve chosen to cut my hair shorter to make the process faster. They say it takes about 12-18 months without cutting it (if your hair is longer) and closer to 4-8 months if it’s shorter.

I scoured the internet to see how everyone else was doing it. I once joked about my gray to my stylist, but her response was – you’re not gray, you’re white. So, as my snow white grows in, and I attempt to become a Silver Sister with some sort of dignity, I thought I’d share the process with you. I should warn you; dignity is not my strong point. I’m more of a modern Erma Bombeck or Lucille Ball. My husband swears I have an uncanny ability to break anything without trying. (Just ignore him when he mentions the vacuum, VCR (remember those!), lawnmower and other things…it’s all in the past, sheesh.)

As I geared up to start my journey, I went into full research mode. I dove into Pinterest, websites, Facebook groups and the sort. I bathed in nothing but gray stories, product information, transformations and the like. One woman’s style stood out to me. I loved the picture I stumbled upon, then followed the trail to her blog and YouTube channel. I knew I’d found the cut I wanted. You’ve got to go check out Kourtenay on GirlsWithCoupons.com, then hop to her YouTube channel. You can find her series on Going Gray here. (pic snagged from a video, yes, got her permission first!)

k2.jpgk1

I messaged her last night to as if I could share her photos with you, and she was gracious to say yes. (Thanks, Kourtenay). She was surprised she’d inspired someone that way. Yep, I’m taking HER picture to the stylist on Tuesday to get my hair cut.

***

starting-gray
The pictures don’t show it well indoors. Outside, you can really see the difference. I guess I’ll need to do an outside snap at some point.

The funny thing is, I let a lot of gray strands grow in about two years ago, then colored it all for some travel. I look back and realized it put me back to square one.

In the doctor’s office this past week, I commented to an adorable woman that I loved her hair. She was eighty! She looked incredible. She raved about her choice and did it after her retirement. A woman sitting across from us commented.

“Oh, not me. I’m not going to age myself on purpose.”

Last I looked I was turning 49. If I let my gray come in… guess what, I’m still turning 49. We have so much emotional baggage attached to our hair and femininity. My hair has been an unhealthy obsession for ages. The moment I decided to cut and go gray, it’s as if a weight dropped off of my shoulders. I was just going to be me. Me was good enough. Maybe that’s something that comes with age, a sense of confidence.

I’m mostly invisible these days, as an aging fat chick. People glance right past me; their gaze rarely stops. In my younger days, I held attention a little longer. It mattered to me. I wish it didn’t, but it did. I wanted to be pretty. I didn’t understand at the time that pretty came from inside. It was feeling great in your skin, being your authentic self, and enjoying who you are. I think I like myself more today in my larger, bloated body than I did in my younger, cuter self. I get me. I understand who I am. I’m finally letting the shackles go of worrying what somebody else might think of me.

You know what? I’m ready to see what nature intended. I’m ready to see me! In fact, I’m excited and fired up to make the change. I’ve never been more certain. As for my husband… he’s all for whatever makes me happy. Seriously, he’s one of those amazing guys. I’m independent and strong, and he’s not threatened by it, and yet he’s my security blanket and rock when I need him. We’re two peas in a pod and best friends. I love that guy.

***

My youngest son, 22, has taught me more about being authentic than anybody I know. I’ve watched him grow and thrive, and go through some bumpy years, but through it all, he was himself. I’m so proud of that young man. He’s taught me to laugh at my flaws, to be okay with being lumpy or having groan inducing Mom humor, and to realize that I’m happiest when I’m me for me, and not some other version of me for somebody else.

My 25-year-old has been going through the transformation. We’re finding it close to the same time, him at 25, me at almost 50. His medications have altered his body, and he’s found more peace in not worrying what others think of him. Why do we care so much?

Either way. Here I am. I turn 49 in June, and I’m about to start the process of going gray.

***

As a writer, especially writing romantic-comedy, authentic once again comes into play. I’ve been going through a lot of medical issues over last few years. I’m now a possible candidate for tailbone removal, after years of working with orthopedists and a pain management specialist. And recently, my rheumatologist diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. It’s a frustrating and weird thing. Regardless, when I’m having high pain days, it can be hard to write comedy. That’s how I ended up with some of my other pen names. I poked at a mystery, thinking I’d only write one. A few years later, and we see how that went. (See MollyDox.com)

My latest deep injections haven’t been working. Hard to write funny when you hurt. My new bad boy romance collection comes from avoiding soft romantic-comedy again. (See ZodyGrayson.com)

So, here we are, me having babbled on for way too long, and losing my point. That’s how my brain works. It scatters and repeats. Hey, at least it works!

I’ll be updating my transition to gray on Facebook, but wanted a fuller bit of the journey here, in case you found it of interest. Thanks for reading, and thanks for stopping by!

TWO MONTH UPDATE:
gray-june

3 1/2 MONTH UPDATE:

gray-august

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