How thick is your skin?

by | 16th November, 2014 | thoughts on life | 0 comments

It’s great to be back in the driver’s seat again. Thanks so much for your patience while I took some time out to attend to other business matters. I’ve had two profound realisations while I have been off doing other things – (1);  I’m getting older, (2); I’ve learned more in my life time than I had realised. In fact, I almost titled this post – “Thank God for Middle Age”.

aging is a gift

These realisations have been profound because I have noticed that I have intentionally drawn on them these past few weeks. I’ve been able to say, “based on my experience, this is what I think”, or, in some cases, say nothing at all.  Not that I haven’t done that in the past, but  this time it’s different. It’s not coming from a place of ego. It’s not being silenced by feelings of inadequacy.

It just is.

I think we all move through the world and make decisions based on our life experiences, but how many of us truly do that consciously? Worse still, how many of us  draw mainly on past  negative life experiences to make decisions in the present? Feeling anger when our needs aren’t met; not speaking up because we doubt ourselves; thinking that others can make us feel a certain way.

I had the pleasure of seeing Arianna Huffington being interviewed by Annable Crab some months ago. Annable did a deft job firing questions at her, and one of them included an observation about being tough enough to climb the business ladder. Annabel noted that Arianna must have a very thick skin indeed. I thought her response was a perfect way to embrace aging and life lessons…

feeling and accepting is part of aging

Therein lies the gift in aging. It’s about noticing myself in all situations and realising that how I react or feel is perfectly acceptable. It’s ok to feel mad, it’s ok to feel hurt, it’s ok to feel upset. The difference is my age has afforded me a level of mindfulness to:

1. Notice that I have these feelings.

2. Recognise them as being normal.

3. Take a moment to show myself some compassion.

4. Move on and most importantly, let them go.

The mindfulness that has come with age means I don’t need to cut negative people out of my life; I don’t need to stay angry at John just to prove a point in an argument; I don’t need to keep quiet when I have an opposing viewpoint simply to avoid rocking the boat; and I don’t need to put other’s feelings before my own. I most certainly don’t need (or want) a thick skin. A thick skin can be ugly, it can look tough, get dry and cracked, and it certainly doesn’t have a lot of flexibility.

I need to embrace it all, do it all, and most critically, feel it all. I’m now better able to simply notice how I am feeling, use my life experience to honestly figure out why I feel that way, and then move on. The wisdom I accumulate with age isn’t a valuable thing I can share with others – it’s a valuable thing that I can use for myself, to keep my skin permeable, flexible and engaging.

Have a lovely week everyone xx