Seniors, Claim Your Greatness: How Seniors Can Define Themselves
During senior years, you may be finding that you have more time for yourself, and it may feel strange at first. It might feel like you need to continue filling up that time for other people or organizations, as you did while pursuing a career or raising a family. But this new free time can be a great opportunity to prioritize understanding and appreciating yourself. This can include pursuing your passions, defining your deepest motivations, and celebrating your unique intrinsic worth. In other words, claiming your greatness!
Here are a few forms that claiming greatness could take
Developing your sense of purpose
Your purpose is an important part of your identity. It can be made up of the values you connect with most—the ones that drive and motivate you in your relationships, goals, and how you choose to spend your time. Identifying your purpose can contribute to a stronger sense of self and satisfaction. Find out more ways to identify and develop your purpose.
Setting goals and learning new skills—just for you
Whatever they look like, working towards goals and learning new skills can help us build confidence in our capabilities and practice self-compassion. It can be important here to examine your definition of success and to build in flexibility to adjust for changing circumstances. For example, for the goal of swimming five days a week, success may fluctuate between “swimming half a mile” and, on a low-energy day, “just getting in the pool.” Notice if comparisons come up, and filter out thoughts of how others might carry out this goal. Remember, it’s your goal and sense of accomplishment, and no one else’s.
And for the icing on the cake, don’t forget about the brain health benefits of working towards goals and new skills. Challenging goals can forge new neural pathways and alter brain structure more quickly. And learning and practicing new skills can actually grow the brain’s white matter and help to protect against dementia.
Deepen your self-worth
This may look like putting more time into a spiritual practice or mental health therapy. Both are important journeys to connect with a deeper sense of self and increase your sense of unconditional self-worth. There are many definitions of self-worth, but more and more visibly, it’s being separated out from self-esteem, which can be our own praise and approval for our actions and accomplishments.
In his book The Self-Esteem Workbook, Dr. Glenn R. Schiraldi studied Claudia A. Howard’s work on self-worth. Based on her work, he outlined basic human worth to be unconditional, internal, and unchanging—not comparative or competitive, and unrelated to factors like performance, appearance, or even service.
Mini-practices that can help with claiming your greatness
Celebrating—and audibly acknowledging— the big and small wins
Celebrations can be a special dinner or purchase to reward a goal or accomplishment. But it can be just as important to tell yourself—out loud—that you did something good. It’s thought that this practice helps the brain register approval for yourself. This can especially help when the task or goal in question was difficult. So whether it’s joining and completing a class or walking 3 miles, tell yourself out loud “I did it!”
Believing in your positive effects on others
Take stock of enduring friendships, loving family relationships, and meaningful connections you’ve made with others. Spend some time considering your role in those relationships over the years. Reminding ourselves that we have the ability to positively affect others can help improve our self-worth.
Setting clear boundaries with others
As you may dedicate more time to developing your self-worth, goals, or purpose, it will help you and others to be very clear about your time and your various priorities. Depending on what’s important to you, this may mean saying ‘no’ to some events or requests; it may mean offering other dates and times instead that work better for your schedule. Think of it as saying ‘yes’ to yourself.
At Era Living, we believe it’s never too late to claim your greatness! For more senior lifestyle and wellness tips, be sure to sign up for our emails in the form below.