How to be happy: Embrace your imperfections

The photo below was taken in the 1950s – I absolutely love it. In the middle is my father John, on his right his aunt Dora, and on his left, my sweet grandmother Ida who passed away sixteen years ago.

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My dad sent me this photo recently because for his 70th birthday, I sent him the money to buy himself a ukulele, as he’s incredibly musical and I thought he would find it fun. I am learning ukulele and wanted to ‘spread the love’ to my dear dad who lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

He chose a ‘banjolele’ to start with and loved it. How shocked we both were when he unearthed this photo of him many moons ago playing a banjolele as a teen in England! He had completely forgotten about having ever played one before.

Anyhoo, I digress. While my dad looks fondly at this photo of his aunt and mother ‘kvelling’ over him and his talents (a Yiddish word meaning “ooing and aahing” over one’s offspring), in my midlife crisis angst, what do you think I saw? My grandmother’s neck!

You see, while I am working incredibly hard at ‘embracing aging’ (I even write about it on my blog, I am having a really tough time accepting my new chin/neck.

Here’s the thing – there used to be a very clear distinction between the two and now they have basically melded into one being. I blame those pull-out-from-the-wall mirrors for this devastating discovery. If I hadn’t been studying myself in profile due to this ‘wonderful’ mirror technology we now have, I wouldn’t be freaking out about my chin/neck.

Which makes me think that my dear granny Ida didn’t sweat it at all, considering she had the same issue (as is evidenced in the photo above) and seemed perfectly happy. Sorry granny, but in this particular photo, it becomes obvious to me that I inherited your chin/neck.

You were probably in your fifties in this shot and look lovely- just that through this photo, I have finally solved the genetic puzzle of where my new chin/neck came from…

So how have I started to make peace with my chin/neck you ask? Well, this photo has been a great gift indeed. I did what any woman would do- I talked out loud to the photo, in particular to my dearly departed granny Ida, and said the following:

“Hey granny. Nice to see you again. You look so happy in this photo. I miss you so much. You were such a sweet, loving, joyous person. Okay, so now I see where I get my ‘waddle’ from – you! Well, it doesn’t look so bad on you now, does it? In fact, you look perfectly lovely in this photo. And you weren’t a vain woman. And I know you’d be shaking your head at me right now if I told you I was obsessing over the state of my chin/neck. I think you’d look at me with complete disbelief and ask incredulously: “Why my dear Esther would you fuss over such a thing? You are perfectly lovely. And besides, I love you for who you are, not what you look like. Stop this silliness and let’s have tea and biscuits.”

And of course, she’d be right. And man, do I miss having tea and biscuits with her in her little house in London. And even though I’m living in much different times than her when we as a culture are completely obsessed with looking perfect and maintaining eternal youth, I realise that I can remember what both of my dear sweet, loving Yiddisha-momma grandmothers taught me- it’s what’s on the inside that counts and that being smart, kind, and compassionate and helping others is what we need to be focusing on – not the state of our necks.

So granny Ida – I embrace your/my waddle proudly and wear it as a reminder that I come from a long line of great strong women who loved deeply and made a positive difference in the world. I thank you for this waddle, but most importantly, I thank you for loving me so much that I could one day learn how to love myself too, even when gravity hits….

About Esther Kane, MSW, RSW, Registered Clinical Counsellor

Esther Kane, MSW, RSW, Registered Clinical Counsellor, is in full-time private practise as a psychotherapist in Courtenay, B.C. Esther has over a decade of experience counselling women and their loved ones with a multitude of presenting problems. Her main focus is helping women to become free of barriers which keep them stuck so that they can become all that they dream of being.

To book a session or to set up a free 15-minute phone consultation (only if you reside in Canada), call Esther at (250) 338-1800.

To learn more about Esther’s services, please visit her website and read glowing testimonials from many satisfied clients: www.estherkane.com

Please note: due to the high volume of e-mails received, Esther only replies to potential therapy clients and the media.

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Do you embrace your imperfections? Or do you have a job learning to love them – and yourself? Let us know how you have learned to ignore that double chin or dreaded cellulite by commenting below.

 
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Esther Kane

Esther Kane, MSW, RSW, is an Eating Disorders Psychotherapist and author of "It's Not About the Food: A Woman's Guide to Making Peace with Food and Our Bodies" (http://www.endyoureatingdisorder.com). Her upcoming book, “How to Midwife Your Midlife in a Youth-Obsessed Culture” (http://www.midwifeyourmidlife.com), will help women navigate midlife body image issues in a healthy and empowering way. Facebook: www.facebook.com/endyoureatingdisordernow Twitter:@estherkane

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Esther Kane, MSW, RSW, is an Eating Disorders Psychotherapist and author of "It's Not About the Food: A Woman's Guide to Making Peace with Food and Our Bodies" (http://www.endyoureatingdisorder.com). Her upcoming book, “How to Midwife Your Midlife in a Youth-Obsessed Culture” (http://www.midwifeyourmidlife.com), will help women navigate midlife body image issues in a healthy and empowering way. Facebook: www.facebook.com/endyoureatingdisordernow Twitter:@estherkane

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