Why your wrinkles are beautiful!

With women facing an increasing pressure to fight the ageing process, Alice Algie takes a look at why wrinkles are beautiful and how you can learn to love them.

With women facing an increasing pressure to fight the ageing process, Alice Algie takes a look at why wrinkles are beautiful and how you can learn to love them.

We live in an era where we’re bombarded with unrealistic images of youthful, perfect looking models, so it’s no surprise we’re feeling pressure to conform. Unfortunately, this pressure has resulted in many women feeling self-conscious about the way they look – some taking drastic surgical measures in an attempt to turn back the clock. 

“Women are bombarded with so many intense messages about how they should look, not only from the media but also from their female peers and friends,” says Danni Watts, education manager at The Butterfly Foundation - an Australian organisation that provides support for Australians experiencing eating disorders and negative body image issues, www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au. “Western society places so much importance and value on image and external assets. It’s not surprising that women continue to succumb to the pressure throughout their life and feel they must fight the natural aging process,” she says.

Positive self-esteem is an essential part of happiness, so accepting yourself – wrinkles and all – is a vital part of achieving contentment. This is why it’s so important to take a look at why wrinkles are beautiful and what you can do to embrace them!

Emotional souvenirs

They’re called laughter lines for a reason. Wrinkles are a representation of every emotion we have experienced throughout our lives. With every laugh, smile and frown, our facial muscles are subjected to a range of repetitive movements that cause our skin to crease with time. These wrinkles document the emotions we have experienced and as a result, they’re a representation of everything that’s made us who we are today. Obsessing over trying to disguise, hide, prevent or remove these wrinkles would only deny yourself the memory of happy moments. “We really encourage women to work on respecting their body’s history. Their body and wrinkles have all evolved as a result of living through a variety of life experiences,” says Watts.

Conversely, results from a recent study seem to suggest that not only do Botox injections ‘wipe away’ these souvenirs, they may actually dampen the ability to feel specific emotions. This suggests that by taking away certain facial expressions, you also take away part of the emotional experience. The study – published in the journal Emotions - researched the emotional response of participants watching specific video clips and reported less emotional response in those participants who had received Botox injections.

A symbol of true beauty

A woman who can use her facial expressions to display confidence, love, laughter and emotion radiates an attractiveness that can’t be replicated by expressions frozen in time. Wrinkles display warmth and charisma, adding character to our faces. “When a person has a positive sense of self they will also be much kinder and positive to themselves and others. They’re able to be themselves, which is a liberating and empowering thing to be able to do,” says Watts.

Images of perfectly proportioned, wrinkle-free faces plaster billboards and magazines worldwide. While we all know the image many media outlets project is far from reality, we still insist on doing everything in our power to look like the ageless faces we see. True beauty is not airbrushed beyond recognition. It encompasses our personality and allows our best features to shine through. That is why it’s so important to see wrinkles as a symbol of maturity, femininity and most importantly, a realistic form of beauty. Nothing radiates beauty more than confidence and by learning to love yourself, you will be empowered by a self-assurance that allows you to tackle anything life may throw your way.

Importance of self-esteem

We are often told that young women and teenage girls are particularly vulnerable to body image issues and low self-esteem. However, as we age, it becomes important to realise that self-esteem is something that follows us through life and poor body image can effect anyone, regardless of age. “Amid all the challenges of raising families and juggling careers and relationship demands, women often put their own wellbeing last. This puts them at a greater risk of developing more serious mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety or an Eating Disorder,” says Watts. “It’s important that regardless of age, someone seeks help as soon as possible, because everyone deserves to feel good about themselves and their bodies.”

Just like a teenager will feel anxious about the changes their body goes through in puberty, older women can show concern at the subtle changes that happen to their appearance as they age. “Women are very good at being critical of themselves and focusing on all the things they aren’t. Too often, women determine their self worth based on their looks, size, weight and body shape,” says Watts. “When women can learn to like, love, accept and respect themselves, they are able to enjoy all aspects of their lives and will also be much better equipped to handle life’s challenges.” 

It is important not to use the opinion of others to guide your perception of yourself. Whether this is the media or your peers, you must first be able to love yourself and accept any perceived flaws unconditionally. Rather than viewing your body for what it looks like, appreciate it for what it can do and what it has done for you throughout your life. Whether it be giving birth or overcoming illness, the body is an amazing machine that has gotten you to where you are today. Just like any other machine, wear and tear will show over time. Accept these changes as evidence of a long and prosperous life – signposts of a journey – and look forward to the moments still to come.

“Rather than working on avoiding wrinkles and aging, women should focus their energy into keeping their body and mind healthy,” says Watts. “If they can work on appreciating their body for what it has done, can do and will do in the future, they will be able to see their age and appearance as a remarkable and beautiful thing.”

Remember, living a life constantly worrying about what you look like is not a fulfilling one. Enjoy the more important things, such as friends, family and – most importantly – love and laughter!

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