We Must Stop Censoring Ourselves on This Side of 50!

habits redefining after 50 self-care Jan 26, 2023

It has been such a pleasure and a blessing for me to be working with so many women on the right side of 50 who are trying to figure out what they want to do in this phase of life.  

Women from all walks of life.

Some want to make major changes.   Write the books.   Start a new business.  Retire!

Others are looking just to find something to do each day just for themselves.   Something that brings joy to their days and lives.

All have different interests and goals.

But, there is one thing that I would say 99.5% of us have in common as we embark on this journey and reflect on what we might like to do moving forward.

We censor ourselves.   

And this often prevents us from really allowing ourselves to access those things that could bring us true joy and passion as we move forward in our lives.

What do I Mean When I Say That We Censor Ourselves?

I am a huge believer in reflecting and journaling as we try to figure out what our lives will look like moving forward.

In any phase of our lives, journaling can often serve as an important keystone habit.

When I work with the women in this community, one of the first things that I ask them to do is to take time to imagine what an ideal day and week would look like for them.   What would they be doing?   How would they move about their day?  Who is there?  Where are they?   

Imagine it in great detail and write it all down.

When done correctly, this reflection can take several days!

When done correctly, this reflection can be a WEALTH of information!

But, with this reflection, more than any of the others, I see the women in our community censoring themselves by thinking of something and deciding not to write it down because:

  • "that could never happen;"
  • "that seems silly;"
  • "who do I think I am?"
  • "I don't want anyone to see this - they might laugh at me!"

And the list goes on.   Negative self-talk and fixed mindset statements.

Let's pretend that one of the elements of your ideal day and week is that you are living at the beach. 

You start to write that down, pause, and think..."I can barely pay my rent now.   Why would I even write this down - there is no way I'd ever be able to afford living at the beach!"

Or, "how would I just pick up and move to the beach at this age.  The whole idea seems overwhelming."

So that wish never gets on the paper.    Even though it might have been the first thought you had.

And, you might be right.    You might not get to live at the beach.   Or, you might be wrong!   

But, you'll never know because you didn't write it down.

Maybe you won't live at the beach.   But, maybe that thought will prompt you to treat yourself to a beach weekend every quarter.  Or to research jobs or opportunities at the beach.   To find communities and people who do live at the beach to follow and get to know.

By censoring yourself, you have closed a door that might have led to something great for you!  Even if it didn't mean you were going to live at the beach full time! 

Does This Really Limit Us That Much?

You might say, "okay, so I didn't write down that one thought.   It was silly!.   How much is that really going to limit me?"

It may not limit you too much.   Or, it may slow you down as you figure out your life on this side of 50.   It may keep you from considering an idea that could provide you with real joy in your life.

That seems like a big deal to me!

Not acknowledging our wishes, emotions, and dreams can have an effect on not only our mental health, but also our physical health.   

What Are the Benefits of Doing a True, Uncensored Reflection?

The reflection example of describing what your ideal day or week would look like on this side of 50 is similar to a brain dump.

Mirriam Webster defines a brain dump as:   the act or an instance of comprehensively and uncritically expressing and recording one's thoughts and ideas (as on a particular topic).   

Keyword for me here being "uncritically."   

Increases Self-Awareness

Increasing our self-awareness is a huge benefit at any stage of the game, but especially on this side of 50.   Although we aren't going to necessarily stop our core beliefs from popping up uninvited, being aware of what is going on can help us to move forward with our action steps in spite of our thoughts.

Doing an uncensored brain dump on a topic and going through the act of writing all of your thoughts down around that topic can provide you with great information when you go back to look at it.   

You can see trends.   

Things might surprise you.   Thoughts and feelings that you didn't even realize you had!

New ideas may formulate.

All of which will increase your self-awareness.

Decreases Stress and Anxiety

Doing an uncensored brain dump around a topic, particularly one that you've been thinking about will help to decrease your stress and anxiety around that topic.   You are getting it out of your brain and onto the page.

You are literally clearing your head! 

Organizes Your Thoughts Around a Particular Topic

And then once you've cleared your head, you've got it all there for you to be able to review visually.    You can then look at what you've written and create action steps around anything that you'd like to. 

You can decide to leave certain thoughts or ideas at the door.

And you have it there on paper to come back to whenever you want to!

But....if you've censored yourself.    If you've decided not to write something down because it seems impossible and silly, it may be forever lost.   

And, what if it would have led to a dream come true?

We must stop censoring ourselves.   Especially as it applies to our thoughts, reflections, and private journaling.