What a difficult topic to discuss, I haven’t quite been comfortable in my own shoes let alone be in a position to explain to someone how to accept themselves. I have always struggled to accept who I am.
As early as I could remember, I’ve had the worst teeth possible. I was given Tetracycline as an infant and it caused issued with my teeth development. It caused staining on my teeth as well as some development issues.. I had oral surgery in my pre-teen years to correct other issues and just felt miserable about my teeth throughout my life. I paid for my own braces when I was in my mid twenties and opted to pay a ton of money for dental veneers and crowns in my thirties so I could have a nice smile and something I could stop being sub conscious about. Despite having that work, I still have dental issues pop up. I had a root canal on one tooth about three years ago, a year later they performed an Apicoectomy on the same tooth and then about six months ago that same tooth literally disintegrated when I took a bit of a slice of Pizza. My dentist suggested an implant, the oral surgeon wanted me to get an implant but I could not see spending any more money on this mouth of mine. How could I justify spending upwards of $5000 on a fake tooth that… who knows what it would cost in the future to maintain, especially if it ever caused additional problems. I am 46 years old, I can’t keep investing in these teeth of mine!
Sometime in my late thirties (early forties?), I went to work one day and the topic of ages came up. This was a time in my life, I carried a few extra pounds, my hair was salt and pepper. Someone guessed my age at 50. I was slightly horrified, do I look that old? At some point, not too long afterwards, I started coloring my hair. I took a picture and posted it on facebook because it made me look so much younger!
Exercise and eating right also help with self esteem. I’ve blogged about gaining weight in my thirties and finding myself near 250 pounds. Being able to drop that weight has been great, I look so much better. Having more energy is certainly a plus. One of the drawbacks of exercise when we get older is the strain it places on our body. I’m still looking for the balance between food and exercise but continuing to set goals for yourself can give you many things to be happy about. It is amazing to hear people say “a year ago, I could hardly walk around the block but today, I just ran a 5k!”. The smile on their face and their happiness says it all.
Maybe some of this Buddhist perspective is rubbing off on me. I want to accept myself for who I am. I want to accept my body for the age it is and the condition it is in. While I can’t stop the inevitable age related degradation to my body, my mind is a powerful took and I can use it to accept myself, feel better about myself and be a positive and happy person.
I stopped coloring my hair about two months ago. The gray “salt and pepper” is emerging again. Tomorrow I am getting my hair cut. This will uncover what I have been hiding for several years. It is what it is and this is who I am. Yep, I’m getting old, turning the corner but happier than ever. Acceptance of myself is going to be a challenge but I will set small goals for myself… and hopefully that smile on my face and the happiness will say it all 🙂