Physical appearance seems to matter more and more

22.11.2020

In the following lines we will see what age complexes consist of, and several tips on how to deal with them.

What are age complexes?

Complexes due to one's own age can be understood in many ways, but in the field of psychotherapy, the most common is to consider that they consist of a type of discomfort and insecurities associated with beliefs and expectations about what it means to be our age. , when perceiving that this is increasingly moving away from what we suppose is the optimal moment of our life journey.

In practice, in most cases the people who experience this consider that this "optimal moment" is what we usually understand by youth , and they also assume that this is the phase of life that is best valued (or perhaps even the only positively valued) by others.

However, as happens in practically all psychological phenomena associated with self-esteem, age complexes do not have an innate origin or in a biological process in our brain triggered by our genes.

It is important to highlight the latter, because age complexes are not a form of discomfort that inherently appears in us for the simple fact of having a birthday. Although we may not realize it, there are a whole series of social and cultural dynamics that favor the appearance of these complexes and that put us in situations in which it is easy to not feel comfortable with our age as we move away from young adulthood.

Otherwise, this phenomenon would occur in all human cultures, but it is not the case. And in fact, the concept of "youth" is also, to some extent, very mobile and with somewhat arbitrary limits, or at least socially consensual.

That is why in age complexes it is not possible to fully distinguish between the way in which we see ourselves when looking in a mirror and what we assume that others think when they see us, The awareness of objective elements, Like the time that has passed since we were born and the way our body looks, it is mixed with beliefs and ideas about what it means socially to be that age and look that way in the context in which we live. Fortunately, this also implies that by modifying certain mental schemes and contexts to which we expose ourselves, we may also be able to reinforce our self-acceptance.

What to do to overcome these insecurities?

The most effective way to overcome age complexes is to attend psychotherapy. And in many cases, it is the only way to achieve significant progress and proper management of self-esteem that is consistently maintained over time, especially in those people who suffer a lot for this reason.

However, there are several key ideas that can be helpful. Let's see what they are.

1. Get used to questioning the standards of what is considered beautiful

As I discussed earlier, our age complexes are almost always mediated by what we think others think about us. This happens especially in a society like ours, in which youth prevails, or adolescence directly.

Thus we enter a competition to look in the best possible way in which even the fact of showing disdain for the world of appearances can be read as a personal "feature", a trait that leads us to try to play in the league of the rebels and the misfits, note the paradox.

What happens is that this fixation on aesthetics occurs mainly from the inside, that is, in the individual mind of each one. Except in extreme cases of people who give a very good or very bad image, in our day to day we tend not to pay much attention to how others look.

Therefore, it is good that you question the beliefs on which this idealization of youth is based and base your conclusions on what you experience in your day to day life. For example: have you considered that in recent decades beauty canons are always directed towards the very young, among other things because there are many corporations competing to see who can best represent "the new" in the eyes of potential buyers? It is a process that has little or nothing to do with aesthetic enjoyment, but rather with creating and maintaining market niches.

2. Check your references

It is very common that those who suffer from age complexes do not have references from their generation or older than oneself . In this way it is easy to consider that everything interesting that happens in society takes place in the younger generations.

This leads us to have the feeling that this is no longer "our world", something totally harmful and irrational in the worst sense of the word (especially taking into account what was discussed in the previous section).

3. Get used to detecting problematic thoughts

Now that you have a certain practice adopting new references, it is time to get used to neutralizing in time those ideas that come to mind many times and wear down our self-esteem with no other foundation than dysfunctional beliefs. To do this, take a small notebook with you and write down the thoughts related to age-related complexes that come to your mind, including the place and time.

A couple of times a week, review these notes, compare them and look for common elements between those ideas; that will make it easier to recognize why they are artificially created fabrications in combination with social tendencies, presuppositions, and generally ideas that are not yours, so to speak.

4. Practice self-compassion

Many are surprised to find that, as a general rule, the level of self-esteem of the elderly remains relatively stable and is not clearly lower than that of, for example, adolescents. This occurs among other things because at these ages it is more common for the level of acceptance to rise to what we usually consider imperfections. In fact, the idea of ​​growing old tends to produce more insecurities than old age itself.

Taking that into account, it is worth betting on the practice of self-compassion, the principle by which we assume that we are not perfect entities, nor do we have to stand out above all others in some positive characteristic. The important thing is to stay on track, not to tie our goals to what others achieve. Which brings us to the final tip.

5. Reframe your definition of "getting old"

Most people considered non-youth can do the same activities that most young people are doing; if there are significant limitations, these are only quantitative: not having the same mental agility, not having the same physical resistance, etc.

However, it must be borne in mind that many times we associate "aging" with "limitations" not because of biological limitations (and therefore inevitable), but because of the simple fact that as time passes, we are installing more in a way of life in which we feel comfortable. But we should not confuse this apparent reduction in the variety of day-to-day experiences, or even in the number of friends, with something inherent to our age: if we don't like something, no age is inappropriate to try to change it.

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