Young vs Old

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(Post taken from my Instagram account @taishka_lefler)

Our society glorifies youth & the young. Firm bodies, supple skin. Worship bodies, not minds. Fawn over skin, not knowledge, wisdom & highly tuned skills.
We’re supposed to believe that youth is the end all & be all.
Youth isn’t the end of the story, youth is the beginning of the story.

As I get older I enjoy the perks that come with age – even though it’s age unseen (I look young for 43). Without living this long I couldn’t have the life experiences that I’ve had.
I couldn’t grow the way I have.
I couldn’t learn the knowledge & acquire the wisdom that I have.
I couldn’t have the people skills, the diplomacy, the life & job skills that I have.
It took 43 years for me to develop into who I currently am. I’m so much more than I was in my 20’s & 30’s. And I’ll be so much more in my 50’s & 60’s.
I have stretch marks from carrying a child & there are businesses that will help me fix that.
I CREATED & GREW A LIFE and I’m supposed to feel bad that I don’t have my pre-life-creating body? To be self-conscious of the evidence?
Our best & brightest scientists can’t even do that!
Without women having babies humanity will die off. Yet THE VERY THING KEEPING OUR SPECIES ALIVE is supposed to be something to be ashamed of, to be fixed, to be corrected.
That, ladies & gentlemen, is the irrational thinking that I’m writing this post about. What we idolize & what we scorn is out of whack.

 

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Beauty and Beyond

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I just wrote a post about ‘The Secret to Looking Younger and Losing Weight’ that I HOPE conveyed ‘beauty’ is an inside job, not just on the outside.

It’s not just about looks! Let’s take Cleopatra:

Cleopatra

This is a rendition based upon an actual existing portrait. Cleopatra wasn’t a beauty but she was described as charming, very intelligent and very confident. And she managed to snag nearly every man she wooed.

Confidence has no comparison. Anyone with healthy confidence is sexy. Period. True confidence is a rare trait and it will make you stand out. You have to believe in yourself before others will. Overconfidence isn’t legit, it’s the same as lack of confidence but with the person trying too hard to make up for it. Remember that.

An interesting thing I hear is that men end up marrying women who make them feel good. As Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
If you’re funny, energetic, have a great attitude and are caring and compassionate how could people NOT find you beautiful? Because you’d be so much fun to be around people would gravitate to you.

I find that someone’s personality and attitude affects their appearance to me. How they are on the inside is how I start to see them on the outside. This is not a conscious decision on my part, it just happens.

To be beautiful on the outside be beautiful on the inside! :-D

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

The Secret to Looking Younger and Losing Weight

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I bet that got your attention! What if I told you there was no secret?

How you think of yourself Directly affects your physiology. You can give yourself blisters, heat rashes, physical ailments and even cancer (all proven). Yes, cancer!

Likewise our THINKING can also UNDO all of these.

Harvard psychologist Ellen Lange did an experiment involving several hotel maids http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/magazine/09mindfulexercise.html. She found that just by telling some of the women that their work should make them lose weight…it did! Nothing else was changed in their lifestyle except for her message. (I was actually a motel maid for 1 day. I quit because it IS hard work, for very low pay.) Those women changed their thinking and their mind did the rest!

When it comes to your looks, do you compare yourself to magazine covers? Any media-released images? If so, then STOP!! NONE of those images are real, they are ALL Photoshopped. If the most ‘beautiful’ (a subjective term) women in the world aren’t good enough then what are you trying to measure up to? You’re trying to measure up to unreality, literally.

Here’s the secret to looking younger and losing weight. Are you ready for it?…

– Eat properly, exercise and get fresh air
– Laugh
– Enjoy life
– Do things you enjoy
– Stop worrying! You’re either creating problems that aren’t there or worrying about something you Can’t Do Anything About! Accept the situation and then move on. Just do the best you can :)
– Don’t spend too much time in the sun but Do get enough sunlight (the best source of Vit D – and proper nutrition will deal with sun damage to skin as long as you’re not a sun worshiper)
– Get enough sleep
– Be kind to everyone
– Let go of guilt
– Don’t hold grudges
– Don’t assume! (My personal motto)
– Be loving, caring and considerate towards yourself
– Do Not Act Your Age
– See the pattern? Add your own points here…

That last one is KEY. I look 10 years younger than I am (damn you grey hair, you’re just going to confuse people). My 40th birthday is right around the corner and no one believes it. It’s because I don’t FEEL like I’m almost 40. I go for long walks, have downtime to recharge my batteries, keep my sense of humour (I’m Always laughing at myself whether I’m alone or not), and keep my energy level up. How do I keep my energy level up? By Believing that my energy level is up :) And I always take the stairs, never the escalator.

Big for me is also releasing my inner child. When I stopped feeling like I had to always act ‘grown-up’ and just let myself be silly sometimes life got a Whole Lot Better!

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Another point is to keep good, loving, supportive people around you. Your environment should be loving, not toxic.
If you don’t like your job, change it. If you don’t like a friend, stop spending time with them. If you are with the wrong person, then end the relationship. Anything that doesn’t make you happy (the majority of the time; sometimes life just happens) is toxic to your life and needs to be changed. Removing someone from your life doesn’t have to be negative or dramatic. Just tell them you care about them but need to move on with your life, or some version of that.
If I don’t feel it would help someone to grow then I don’t tell them what I didn’t like about them, I just say a few kind words then go on my way. Even if your points are valid, if the other person isn’t ready to make changes to themself or even listen, then that honesty will just make both of you hurt/angry/mad and create negative drama and an ugly parting. Please don’t do that to yourself or others.

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER

It won’t affect you if you don’t let it. You are only as old as you feel. I promise you that.
My grandparents were very mobile right up until the end, they were in their 80’s. I’ve know people 2-3 decades younger than my grandparents who practically have 1 foot in the grave. I think we all do. It’s a combination of lifestyle choice and self-image. You can’t eat fast food, not exercise and expect to have optimal health. Remember, those are the very same organs you were Born with, they need maintenance and tune-ups, just like your car. Also Stop Saying you’re old! You’re not old. What’s old? 400 year old trees, that’s what’s old. The pyramids are old. Have a healthy perspective. Stop saying you’re old (negative self-talk) and I guarantee you will stop Feeling old. Remove age from your self-talk. You’re you, plain and simple. And you’re Fabulous!

When you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, remember that’s just your vessel.
You are a Soul with a Body – not the other way around.
Inside you are a Beautiful Bright Light. You shine so bright your human eyes wouldn’t be able to handle it. Your vessel may not always please you but That Is Not You.
You Are Perfect!

So take your vessel out for walks, fresh air and exercise, give it lots of water and proper nutrition and it will look and feel better. And be kind to it :) Think happy thoughts, do good deeds, and be loving and supportive of yourself. Positive results guaranteed!!

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Author’s note: Someone recently commented on nudity. The first image the unique spelling of beautiful really intrigued me. I liked it and felt her bare back was harmless, nothing else is shown. This last image was created by a very large corporation that deals with weight loss. They would have figured out a long time ago that body image and loving ourselves lead to weight issues, as stated in that graphic. Since this large profitable corporation created and released the image above I felt it was fine for this post and summed up the point nicely.

Bullying

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I decided a few months ago that one of my life purposes was going to be to help in the fight against bullying, or bullycide. I spent half of my life in foster homes, and as a child was always the recipient of bullying. At least in those days it stayed at school since there was no internet, social media or texting. I have been trying to decide how this epidemic can be tackled, since the worst affected are public-school age youth. The answer seems to be in the very place it originates, in the schools.

Ellen DeGeneres stated that the education system needs to teach empathy. I agree wholeheartedly with this.

Providing support for those suffering through bullying seems to be the main platform for this issue. I feel this is putting the cart ahead of the horse. I believe we need to concentrate on tackling the bullying and heading off this problem at the source.

Today’s youth are bombarded with way more advertising and marketing than any other generation and the prime aim of marketing seems to be to make people feel they have some shortcoming that only so-and-so’s product can solve. The numbers of preteens, both male and female, concerned and unhappy with their physical appearance is both shocking and very sad. Even before they hit high school many young people have eating disorders. For my generation the death of Karen Carpenter was the shocking result of once being called fat by a heartless music reviewer. She took it to heart and this led to an eating disorder that eroded her health which eventually killed her. How many of these young people have an early death ahead of them just because of Advertising?? Or because they didn’t have effective role models or mentors who believed in them and built up their self esteem? Some designers are using real size models in their fashion shows. Some advertisers are using realistic models in their print ads and magazines. This is an absolutely Wonderful proactive action. And since the music industry has become so much about looks musicians are taking it upon themselves to be in the best shape of their lives. This can also be an inspiration for young listeners, since physical activity makes you feel good, not just look good. Wii bringing physical activity to video games was a great move. There are even a children’s show where physical activity is part of the show; the kids moving around is supposed to keep the main character energized.

The Psychology of It All

Psychology has proven that a certain percent of people repeat what they know; whatever unhealthy abuse they grew up with/currently experience at home. A certain percent of young people who bully are receiving some kind of abuse or neglect at home. Any child who bullies or acts out is telling you something; either there’s an issue at home or an issue with the individual. Schools are Such an important place and teaching is Such an important job; in my view every individual who works in such a place has taken on a Huge responsibility to help direct and protect our most important resource; the future. The reality is that some parents just can’t or aren’t able to do the job of parenting at home and this falls to our teachers as well.

I’d like to counter Ellen DeGeneres’s empathy in schools idea with self-esteem and confidence-building. This would help both the bully and the bully-ee. The person acting out could be too afraid to tell a teacher about their own issues, or just doesn’t know how to ask for help and is taking their anger out on an easy target. I TRULY believe that integrating self-esteem and confidence-building into education would have a HUGE impact on eradicating bullying. I’m still figuring out what format would be most effective and least contested by current-day school boards. School visits to talk about confidence and self-esteem seem the easiest option at this point. The only drawback is that positive vibes die out quickly if not reinforced. I will also shortly also act on my idea from years ago to make a website geared towards youth to help instill self-esteem and confidence in them.

Since youth aren’t the only ones with self-esteem and confidence issues hopefully this is the start of a whole new movement, a whole new era,  where we start putting our fellow humans ahead of materialism, self-indulgence and appeasing our egos. Since reaching adults is much harder than reaching children, hopefully creating change in our youth will create change in adults; trickle-up theory?

My Anti-Motivational Rant

While looking for a picture for this post I saw some Very gruesome images: nooses, bruised, battered and bloodied faces, punches about to be thrown and kicks about to be disbursed. While writing this I was ignoring just how violent young people can be. Whenever an adult would consider an action to be assault I strongly feel that we need to treat young with the same seriousness. Even into late teens some are causing emergency room visits or even hospitalization without being punished in any way whatsoever. If they’re allowed to drive at 16, then why are they not considered to be responsible for their actions when assaulting another? I’m of the generation where belts and wooden spoons weren’t just to hold up pants or kitchen utensils. We survived those punishments. Society is now so freaking lax with any punishment for deserving behaviour, that a certain number of our young people have little or no respect for authority, their elders, themselves, or each other. The only solution I see for aggressive physical behaviour is legal action and self-esteem and empathy work while incarcerated (a group home or whatever setting the judge chooses). And I think ALL bullying incidents should result in required community service. Any infraction by anyone should result in community service. Oh, just thought of a great slogan: “If you’re going to act like an ass, you’re going to get the work of an ass.” (as in donkey) Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? ;)

Rant Done. Thank You

If you want to be part of this movement there are many ways, basically all under volunteering; Big Sisters/Big Brothers, volunteer at your local recreation center, volunteer for a homework tutor organization or the library – in Toronto many branches have homework tutor programs. Every city should have it’s own volunteer website. Toronto’s big ones are (http://www.volunteertoronto.ca) and (https://charityvillage.com/directories/volunteers/find-volunteer-listings.aspx) Charity Village is Canada wide. You’ll be surprised at all the places that use volunteers and have programs you aren’t aware of. YMCA has a lot going on that I didn’t know about until I perused their site one day. There’s a lot you can do in your own back yard as well. Perhaps there’s a single mother in your area or building who could really use some babysitting help. Or maybe just play basketball with the local kids, any exposure to another role model is a great thing for young people. I watched the movie ‘Unconditional’ about Papa Joe (Joe Bradford) who lives in Nashville. He has been a father figure to many fatherless children in his neighbourhood and also distributes food to needy families. We all have the ability to be a Papa Joe.

I wholeheartedly support volunteering. When young people partake in volunteering it helps them see a bigger picture of the world, gives them responsibility and confidence and also lets them see that some people aren’t as well off as they are. This pretty well goes for adults too. And there is no feeling comparable to helping others and giving freely of your own time. The appreciation you get back is very rewarding. To me this is a requirement to a balanced life. Keep yourself happy and ‘the small stuff’ will just disappear :)