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.