Confidence is what we all want and what we will fight for at any cost. We want to feel good about ourselves and to be admired. Extended youth is the big objective. Working hard at physical fitness with good weight control and even surgical procedures like face-lifts and Botox helps ambitious people to fight off the inevitable ravages of age.
It is sad then that the process of getting older and especially the process of retiring can have such an impact on one’s self-confidence. In the youth obsessed culture that we live in, the opposite of youth, i.e. older age impacts how we feel and regrettably how we look. Often confidence erodes. Working to develop an internal locus of control and building a more realistic expectations would be a good start. People often imagine the opinions of others about them to be negative when they are not.
Self-confidence comes from how you feel about yourself, and then how people around you affirm that opinion you have of yourself. Much of that comes from how you conduct yourself. A confident retiree with a wide range of interests and an expanded group of friends will be much more attractive than a debilitating personality with the inclination to blame whatever it is that is going wrong.
The excellent internet newsletter for Sixty+Me says there are several key strategies for building confidence after sixty.
One is to make plans for the future. Even small events to look forward to are important for focus. Sometimes even the act of setting a goal can make one feel more calm, centered and capable
Secondly, embrace your mistakes, and don’t compare yourself to the past e.g. “When I was younger I could do it” or “If only I had the chance again I would invest better” etc.
An excellent book by Gail Lindenfield lists some of the reasons people fail to develop self-esteem, also after retirement. They include:
- Basic needs not met,
- Feelings persistently not met,
- Being put down ridiculed or humiliated,
- Being required to assume a fake self in order to impress,
- Being compared unfavorably to others,
- Being given a label which detracts from individuality etc.
The list goes on.
These causes of low self-esteem must be clues as to how they are to be addressed and hopefully corrected as one reaches retirement.