The Gift of Girlfriends is More Than Skin Deep
I’m continuing my conversation with my girl tribe about outer and inner beauty tips. You probably already read Part 1, now for Part. 2
I asked my girlfriends about Inner Beauty. My question was, “How do you define beauty now that you’re in your 50s and 60s? Is it different than when you were younger? If so, what would you tell younger women that you’ve learned?”
Here are the responses I received.
Teri revealed that she wished she had loved and honored herself more and had been kinder to herself, and found her “voice” earlier. She also wished she’d read more books and taken her education more seriously.
As a reframe for what she didn’t do as her younger self, she learned how to hear and know her own voice. Now she checks in with herself by scanning her body, mind, and emotions and asks, “What am I feeling?” If she’s feeling stressed, she asks, “Where am I holding stress in my body? Where are the attributes of my feelings being stored?” She also journals, writing what she likes about herself; she’s created a self-appreciation journal to love herself more. She has also learned that being in service of others brings her great joy.
When she was younger, Stephanie, like Teri, wished she had paid more attention to her education. Street smart, not book smart, Stephanie was curious, yet always on the go, just wanting to have fun with her girlfriends. At 12-years-old, she began making money; she says it was the key to her freedom. A natural risk-taker, she wanted to get out into the world. Reflecting on her young life, she says she grew up too fast and attributes that to her older friends. Fiercely independent, when a boy entered the picture, it was never for long. Her girlfriends were her life.
What would she tell her younger self today? Embrace education, and take it seriously. Read more books. And learn to be present. REALLY PRESENT. Aspire to live in the moment, not the future.
Now, she’s embraced potent tools that have increased her security and belief in herself. She’s learned how to control her negative thoughts by replacing them with positive thoughts, words, and actions. For instance, she says whenever she’s insecure, she stops, finds a quiet place, closes her eyes, and trusts her intuition by asking herself, “What’s up?” She does not fear her negative thoughts but allows them to pass through and invites the “messages” she receives. She TRUSTS herself! She’s also created a meditation practice. When she first wakes up, she lays her hand over her heart, meditates on her intention for the day, and remains quiet for the next few minutes. By not jumping out of bed and rushing into her day, she allows herself to be IN HER QUIET; she’s learned how to be IN THE PRESENT. She has found her peace.
Jenny, our birthday girl, wished that she spent more time with her girlfriends when she was younger. She began working at a young age, combining a school and work schedule. When work transformed into touring, scheduling quality time with girlfriends wasn’t in the picture.
The older and wiser Jenny has learned that it was OK to set social media aside. Five years ago, she replaced her “let’s see what’s happening” on social channels with hours-long walking meditations along a river where she “socializes” with eagles. She’s learned that nature is better for her wellbeing. And to take the news in doses, preferring to read it than watch it. That’s probably true for many of us, particularly in these chaotic times! Jenny spends more time with herself and her girlfriends, which stopped the chase and filled her with happiness and lasting memories, like this trip.
When Beth was younger, and her life became difficult and complicated, she used competitive sports to “run away” from family and friends. She had a belief that her body would fall apart if she didn’t get her exercise time in, often training for marathons and triathlons. She was in a constant fight or flight mode. Her body didn’t have a chance to relax and rest when dealing with challenges.
Now she’s chosen different priorities. She CHOOSES to spend more quality time with her family and friends rather than running away. She’s learned how to be flexible with her time and, even more powerfully, learned to spend some time doing something else with others rather than just what she wants! In her case, she felt she was selfish in her younger years. Now she can do both, and by taking time for herself and spending time with others, she has created balance in her life.
Mindy says she wished she learned how to meditate earlier in life. She values meditation as a life-changing tool available to all of us for free. She also wished she’d journaled more when she was highly emotional and could have taken the toxic emotions out of her body and put them on paper instead. She also wished she’d read more and had been more curious about school.
The critical lesson Mindy learned over her 50 years was that there are NO MISTAKES in life, just opportunities. Take responsibility for your actions in your life. And I say, Amen to that! Further, the meditation technique she uses most is the mantra. She loves using the mantra because the mantra is repeated silently in her mind repeatedly. If she notices she isn’t saying the mantra, and that monkey mind has kicked in (the one that runs through to-do lists or is stuck remembering the past or planning the future), she brings herself back to the mantra, and the mantra guides her into stillness and quiet.
The essential tools and techniques she’s learned are self-forgiveness, to own your shit!, and to do what brings you joy.
My turn. I wished I had believed in myself more, not been so worried about what others thought of me, and had been more comfortable being out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know to be more curious about the world.
The lessons I’ve learned. 1) How powerful forgiveness is of myself and others. 2) How I had the power and responsibility to create whatever life I wanted on my own. 3) How precious life is and how quickly time passes. I’ve learned how to be so much more discerning of others and opportunities. I finally know WHO I AM and what I want, all from my inner work, to find my voice and purpose in life. All by the grace of God!
Then I saved the best question for last. “What brings you joy?”
Here are the group’s answers.
Go outside and connect with nature, bike, hike, swim, ski, garden, dance. Practice yoga, learn something new, host a dinner party (legally, please!) Read, write, run, ride a horse or blast the music and drive–get the wind in your hair! Spend time with girl and guy friends. Travel (to the coffee shop or another continent), journal (about what you’re grateful for to get started), listen to podcasts and audiobooks, watch movies, create anything–paint, draw, collage, or if you’re like one member of this tribe, collect sheds, and make that centerpiece to hang above your fireplace. Be of service, adopt an animal, play with your kids, take photos, visit the gym (if it’s open; if not, share the expense and location of a Peloton or weights with a friend or neighbor) or just BE!
We all agree that COVID has taught us to stop and take time for ourselves and do the things and be with the people that bring us joy.
So, ask yourself, are you spending time with your friends and family and doing things you enjoy that incite laughter, growth, and a sense of peace? I hope so.
If anything, maybe this article will get you thinking about your own life. There are ways to heal and focus on the positive while dealing with all the negativity in this world. Push pause and create your world with your loved ones, and you will develop the seed for a new and joyous world.
Our tribe is sending your tribe love, light, and a shot of spontaneity!