#91 Not Taken Care Of
I recently read the article Live Your Life in Self-Empowerment. The author said
Self-empowerment is about investing in yourself to ensure that you properly manage yourself no matter what life throws you.
You may not consistently achieve your goal, but your life will be your own, richer, and more enjoyable when you commit to chasing your dreams. Whenever you think of starting your journey on the road to personal fulfillment, the first step is committing to self-empowerment.
She then reviewed the benefits of self-empowerment. Take a look.
It occurred to me that this is what aging well is about - and why the article caught my eye. Dan and I had a will, powers of attorney, a doctor, and insurance. Yet, we never discussed how either of us would continue if the other died or was incapacitated. We were too busy living. He lost his struggle with dementia and his ability to manage life. I was making all the decisions - although not by choice.
Managing our lives and making his life choices was traumatic. Based on that experience, I made two commitments. The first was to make as many decisions as I could for my future self, and the second was never to put that burden on someone else - if I could help it.
Those commitments led me to explore self-empowerment. I wanted the tools to take care of myself rather than having others take care of me. As the old phrase says, “Give a man fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The Milliken website says
Self-empowered aging means taking control of one’s life, learning, updating, improving skills, taking risks, building confidence, assuming power over personal circumstances, and developing the resilience to overcome inevitable challenges.
In a society that has yet to appreciate the potential of older adults, self-empowered aging improves one’s odds of accomplishing later life goals that others may discount and enjoying the self-esteem and satisfaction that others may lack.
Cat Dols, author and speaker, describes it this way.
I want to continue learning, discussing, deciding, and acting on those decisions - empowering myself so that others don’t have to take on the responsibility. Therefore, I practice the following guidelines.
Differentiate between myths and facts - I am assessing my personal views and challenging my negative and false assumptions regarding aging. You can read more in the Myths, Fake News, and Lies article.
Create and strengthen positive views about aging - I seek the good in being my age. You can read my thoughts in the article, Beliefs About Aging.
I am also more realistic about the changes or challenges that occur as a person ages and am educating myself with facts and best options. I keep in mind that people inherit only 20% – 25% of the factors influencing health. That leaves room for me to make informed decisions.
Create a wellness plan - My wellness plan includes a healthy diet, exercise for physical and cognitive health, getting enough sleep, building a supportive social network, and challenging myself.
Practice self-care - My self-care activities are writing, painting, traveling, walking in the woods, and going to the ocean. Yet, this can include everything from eating right and exercising to treating oneself to a spa treatment - anything that brings happiness.
Use positive self-talk -I aim to focus on what I can do and solutions instead of what I can’t and the problem. We used to run 5K races regularly. Now, my knees say -no way. I can walk the race and strengthen my knees, though.
While some say self-affirmations don’t work, I believe that what I focus on expands, so why not focus on the positive? Practicing self-affirmations and displaying confidence in my ability to achieve goals can help me take steps toward accomplishing them.
Set measurable, achievable goals - I don’t drive, but most everything is within walking distance. My radius has been about a mile in each direction. Yesterday, I increased the goal - to include trips within a two-mile radius - increasing the distance appropriately each week.
Be assertive - I tend to put myself last. So, being assertive is a work in progress - a new way of being. Expressing my thoughts, ideas, and needs is one way of taking care of myself.
Create an action list - That’s what I did with my walking goal. My action list: set a short goal with an end date, master it and move on to the next. Empowered people take action, exhibit a growth mindset, and are comfortable learning and developing their abilities.
Find something that you love and do it - My loves are writing and painting. What are yours?
In summary, I want to make my own decisions and care for myself - as much as possible - while I age well. Therefore, I must empower myself to do so.
The article Minding the Gaps in Our Own Maturity offers clues and asks questions that might help in your journey to self-empowerment and aging well. Take a look.
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