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How Women Really Feel About Their Changing Appearance

The Pennsylvania Conference for Women is excited to have Vivian Diller, Ph.D., author of the book “Face It: What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change,” speak about helping women strike a healthy balance between letting their looks matter and accepting the inevitable fact that they change.

Paula Durlofsky, PhD, recently interviewed Dr. Diller.

As a psychologist myself and yes, a middle-aged woman, I was particularly interested in personally speaking with Dr. Diller about how women today can navigate the “ups” and “downs” associated with aging in a culture obsessed with youth, beauty, and plastic surgery that attempts to put the pause button on aging as soon as the first wrinkle appears.

I spoke to Dr. Diller about helping women achieve a healthy perspective about their own aging; here’s some of what she had to say:

HAVE A FLEXIBLE DEFINITION OF BEAUTY. Try not to have only one vision of what you consider to be “the right look” in mind. When you achieve a flexible image of beauty, you develop a kinder inner dialogue.

ADMIT TO YOURSELF THAT LOOKS MATTER. Once we work through the feelings of loss and grieving associated with our changing looks and aging, we can achieve a healthy balance between “holding on” and “moving on” and enjoy our looks no matter what our age.

MOTHERS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. It is important for mothers to have conversations with their daughters about the the fabrication of “beauty” created by the media and the impact it can have on young girls’ self-image. Make girls aware of the fact that most of the images they see have been photoshopped and altered in some way.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO ANTI-AGE. (This is my favorite “take-away” from my interview with Dr. Diller.) Dr. Diller suggests rather than trying to deny aging, focus on caring for your skin and health with the goal of promoting health and vitality to your whole being.

NURTURE YOUR INTELLECT. Although we have been taught that beauty isn’t everything, many women still feel that their looks are their currency, power, and what makes them truly female. Therefore, some women have not given themselves the chance to nurture and develop other aspects of themselves. Letting go of that priority allows women to replace it with something else—something that may be even more satisfying to them.

Thanks to Dr. Diller for helping me gain clarity and perspective regarding my own personal journey to aging and fading looks. I look forward to hearing her speak at the conference, and I look forward to meeting new friends and inspiring women.

-Paula Durlofsky, Ph.D.

Dr. Paula Durlofsky is a psychologist, speaker, author and blogger. Dr. Durlofsky has been in private practice for over 15 years in Bryn Mawr, Pa. She has a special interest in issues affecting women.

Dr. Vivian Diller will speak at the Oct. 2 Pennsylvania Conference for Women in a panel titled “Embracing Our Ever-Changing Body.”

 
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