Look at what your behavior is telling you. If you go past a clothing store but never venture inside, is it because you don't like what's in the window or because you are thinking you would feel foolish trying on clothes? If you are 40 and trying still to look 20, you may indeed appear foolish; but if you're a self-aware, confident 40-year-old, you can wear anything you want. Are you avoiding taking a gym class because you are fearful that you'll be the "old lady" in the room? By never trying, you never have a chance to change that perception.

How many times a day are you self-critical? Many women relentlessly chastise themselves about shortcomings that connect to what they consider waning beauty: "I should lose weight," "I should exercise more," "My skin is sagging," "My hair is thinning." Any of those inner dialogs sound familiar? The feelings of inadequacy that result from this endless litany can erode your self-esteem to the point that they immobilize you and become self-perpetuating.

How much is your world narrowing because of your negative self-image? When you hear someone say, "I'm planning a new career," "I took a trip to Buenos Aires to take tango lessons" or describe another pursuit that sounds tantalizing, do you ever consider doing the same? If not, why not? If you have the means, the energy, the credentials and the will for such an adventure, do you refrain because you think you look old and unattractive?

When women feel that they are losing their looks, they are often stunned to find themselves re-experiencing the same insecurities as they did in adolescence. Yes, for many otherwise successful and evolved women, 50 is the new 15. But though it can feel the same, it is important to realize now is not then. Now, you can overcome your insecurities with an arsenal of other attributes and resources. The remedies should not be endured but embraced.


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