Beyond the Mask: Discovering Your Authentic Self After 50

Show Notes:

Summary:

In this episode of “Aging with Grace and Style,” host Valerie Hatcher dives into the concept of authenticity, particularly for women over 50. Valerie discusses the significance of living true to oneself and identifies the common barriers that can prevent authenticity, such as societal expectations and internal doubts. Through her personal story and practical tips, she encourages listeners to embark on a journey of self-discovery and embrace their true selves. Valerie provides actionable steps to cultivate authenticity, such as self-reflection, identifying core values, setting boundaries, and practicing self-compassion. She emphasizes that it’s never too late to start living your truth and connects this journey to improved well-being and more genuine relationships.

Timestamps:

00:00 Embrace personal growth and authenticity in life.

06:31 Authenticity fosters genuine connections and self-respect.

08:36 Navigating life transitions, cultivate authenticity through reflection.

10:51 Authenticity: gradual alignment, empowerment, overcoming fears, fulfillment.

14:22 Explore new hobbies, be authentic, share stories.

Key Takeaways:

  • Reflect on your inner values and passions to guide your journey towards authenticity.
  • Understand that living authentically means aligning your actions with your core values, not necessarily sharing everything without filters.
  • Embrace daily mindfulness practices like meditation and journaling to stay connected to your true self.
  • Set boundaries to protect your well-being, and remember that small, consistent steps can lead to significant changes.
  • Be patient and compassionate with yourself; authenticity is about progress and self-discovery, not perfection.

Let’s connect:

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Find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Threads @iamvaleriehatcher.  

 Have questions, comments or feedback? Email hello@agingwithgraceandstyle.com

Join Us Next Time:

If you enjoyed this episode please rate and review. Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 

Stay tuned for more inspiring chats, tips, and stories about the midlife journey.

See you soon!

Transcript
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Have you ever felt like you're living someone else's life,

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Like you're wearing a mask to fit in, but it's slowly

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suffocating your true self. If so, you're not alone,

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and this episode is for you.

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Hey, friend. Ever feel like those old fashioned

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ideas about aging just don't fit you? If you're ready to

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own this incredible chapter with grace, style, and a touch of

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sass, this is your space. Welcome to the aging with

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grace and style podcast. I'm Valerie Hatcher, and I'm here

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with empowering tips, inspiring stories, and a whole lot of

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fun just for us, women over 50. So grab

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your favorite beverage, turn up the volume, and let's

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get started. As women

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over 50, we often find ourselves navigating

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significant life transitions, and embracing our true selves

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can be a powerful and liberating a.

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Kinda like when you've had on Spanx all

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day and you take them off and you feel like you can

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finally breathe. Well, that's also a liberating experience that

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I a this to. In today's show, we're discussing

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authenticity. We'll define it, discuss its

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importance, identify common barriers, and

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share practical steps to embrace our true self.

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Authenticity has played a significant role in my

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life and in the lives of many women that I've spoken with.

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For me, embracing authenticity meant

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letting go of societal expectations and

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truly listening to my inner voice. It's been a

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journey of self discovery and empowerment, and I'm

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excited to share this journey with you. As we

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age, many of us find ourselves

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on this journey to authenticity.

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Maybe you've always put others first, or

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perhaps you've been living up to an image

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of who you thought you should be, well, now

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is the time to embrace personal growth and self

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discovery. There are myths that

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authenticity means sharing everything or

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having no filters. So but what does

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it really mean? Authenticity is about

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your true self. It's aligning

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actions with values and living without pretense.

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It's the courage to show up as you are

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without hiding behind Sass or conforming

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to others' expectations. For women over 50, this

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journey is particularly meaningful as we

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navigate new chapters in our lives.

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So life transitions like the empty nest,

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retirement, or career shifts offer,

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a unique opportunity to reassess and

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embrace authenticity. These changes often

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prompt us to reflect on who we truly are

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and what we want from life. Living authentically

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brings numerous mental and emotional benefits.

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Actually, studies have shown that it can significantly

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improve mental health and overall well-being.

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When we're true to ourselves, we form

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stronger, more genuine relationships. It's a

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time for self awareness and reconnecting

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with our true self. And let's not forget the

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boost in confidence and self esteem that comes from

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embracing who we really are. Now let

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me share a personal experience about staying true to

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myself. For years, I have found

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myself more drawn to conversations

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about sports, cars, world events, and some

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shopping rather than what some might consider

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traditionally feminine topics. I guess you could

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Sass, I have always been a guy's girl. No.

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Not in a flirtatious way at all. I've just

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enjoyed those conversations. This preference

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sometimes put me at odds with certain

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social groups. I once joined an

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organization where the popular crowd

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had very specific interests, like tea parties

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and shopping and what I felt was surface level

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chatter. Now don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good

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shopping spree now and then, but it's not my main

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focus. I think my background in corporate a

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has meant that I was more comfortable with the, quote,

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unquote, water cooler a, discussing

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business strategies, technologically technological advancements,

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or the latest sports news, kids, and shopping.

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My dad was 1 who could talk to anyone

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about anything. So I felt, and, actually,

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I still feel, it's good to know a little bit about

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a variety of topics for the sake of conversation. But

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back to my story. In this group, my

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interests were seen as unusual,

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and I felt pressured to conform. I

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faced a choice, change myself to fit in

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or stay true to who I am. I

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chose authenticity, which initially led

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to feeling somewhat isolated. Yes. It

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stung a bit. But pretending to be someone else

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just to please others, that felt dishonest

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and exhausting.

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Interestingly, as time passed and some of these

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people got to know the real me, attitudes began to

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shift. They started to appreciate or

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maybe at least better understand my perspective.

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This experience actually taught me a valuable lesson.

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Conformity, it can sometimes border on

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cult like behavior, While authenticity,

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though challenging at times, allows for

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genuine connections and self respect. Now the

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takeaway, align yourself with people who appreciate

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your true self a of whether your

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a fit expectations. It's far more

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fulfilling to be authentically you than to

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exhaust yourself trying to be someone

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that you're not. The path to authenticity

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isn't always smooth, especially for us over 50.

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We face unique challenges touch as societal

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expectations, Societal pressures and

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stereotypes about how we should behave or look can

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inhibit our authenticity. We may feel, I don't

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know, compelled to conform to certain roles or

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appearances, which can stifle our true self.

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Then there's fear of judgment. The fear of criticism

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and judgment often holds us back. We worry about how

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others perceive us and whether we'll be accepted.

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Going back to my story, it would have been easier for

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me just to be like the others than to be shunned by

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them. Then there's internal doubt.

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So internal struggles like self doubt or

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imposter syndrome can also hinder our

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authenticity. We may question our worth and our abilities,

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doubting whether or not we can truly be ourselves.

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Career transitions or retirement can shake our sense of identity.

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Changing family dynamics, such as children leaving the

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nest or as we later become a,

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health and body image concerns that come with aging, all

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of these can affect our path to authenticity.

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But remember, these challenges are also

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opportunities for growth and self discovery.

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So how can we cultivate authenticity in

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our daily life? Well, if you've been around, you

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know I have some steps. Actually, I have 5 of them, so

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here they are. Number 1 is self reflection.

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Take time for self reflection through journaling.

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You know I always talk about journaling, meditation,

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or conversations with trusted friends. These

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practices help us gain clarity and connect with our inner

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selves. Number 2, identify core

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values. Identify and align with

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your personal values. Understand what truly matters

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to you, and let those values guide your decisions and your

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actions. 3, set boundaries.

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Setting boundaries is crucial for protecting your authentic

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self. Learn to say no when necessary and

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prioritize your well-being. 4, practice

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self compassion. Embrace self compassion

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and patience on your journey to authenticity. Be kind to

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yourself and acknowledge that it's a continuous

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process of growth and self discovery. And 5,

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take small steps. Start with Style,

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authentic actions and gradually expand

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them. Each step you take towards living authentically

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builds confidence and reinforces your true self.

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I, recently listened to a psychologist who was

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discussing just this topic. Her advice was

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to start small. She said, a isn't

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about making drastic changes overnight. It's about

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gradually aligning your outer life with your

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inner truth. Small steps can lead to

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significant empowerment in our happiness and provide a sense

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of fulfillment. Some techniques that she

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suggested were, when you feel afraid to express

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your true self, ask yourself, what's the worst

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that could happen? Often, our fears are

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exaggerated. 1 of my favorite

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quotes about authenticity is from Brene Brown, and

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it says, a is a daily

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of letting go of who we think we're

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supposed to be and embracing who we are.

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a of our listeners told me that

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she had spent her whole life being who everyone

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else wanted her to be. But at 55,

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she finally asked herself, what do I

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wanna be? And I was recently at a

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podcasting summit, and I talked to a few women over

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50 on our we were talking about our

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why. What brought us to podcasting? And

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1 of them told me, she said she finally decided to pursue

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her passion for podcasting at 57. And she

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said it's been the most fulfilling journey.

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She told me that, embracing her true and

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authentic self had brought her so much joy.

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Now I talked earlier about steps to embrace

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authenticity, but here are a couple of other tips

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that you can use daily. So

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if if this is new to you because you've spent

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so much time conforming to the expectations of

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others, then you will need to really get

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in touch with who you are. 1 way of doing

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so is to incorporate daily mindfulness practices

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to stay connected to your true self. So

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whether it's through meditation, deep breathing,

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or just simply being present, Mindfulness

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helps maintain authenticity. And then

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another is to live authentic

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authentically by communicating honestly.

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Now that doesn't mean you just say whatever's on your mind all

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the time. We still need to have a filter and to respect

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others' feelings, following your passions

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and embracing imperfections.

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Remember, authenticity is about progress,

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not perfection. So Sass we wrap

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up, let's recap our key points.

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Authenticity is about being true to yourself.

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It brings benefits like improved well-being and

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stronger relationships. While there are challenges,

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especially for women over 50, they can be a.

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And practical steps like self reflection and

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pursuing passions can help cultivate authenticity.

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I encourage you to take 1 step towards

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living more authentically this week. Maybe, you know,

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is trying a new hobby that you've always been curious about

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or having an honest conversation with a loved 1

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or not doing what everyone else is doing to fit in.

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Or maybe like me, just don't go to the tea and crumpets

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place to fit in because you know when you leave, you're

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gonna be hungry. Remember, it's never too

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late to start living your truth. I'd

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love to hear what living a,

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yes, I've been struggling with that word, means to you. Share

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your stories in the comments or on social. Don't forget. You

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can leave me a voice message at pod.aging

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with grace and style.com. I'm getting more and more messages

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every week, and I love them. So thanks

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for joining me as we take this journey to embracing

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authenticity. Until next Style, keep embracing

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your authentic self and being true to

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who you really are.

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Thanks for hanging out with me today. I hope you're feeling

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inspired and ready to own your awesomeness. I love

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sharing this space with you, and if you of today's episode,

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do me a favor, share it with a friend who could use some

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extra inspiration. A quick rating and review

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really helps too. Don't forget to subscribe so

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you never miss an episode. Let's keep this conversation

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going. Head over to pod dot aging with

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grace and style.com to sign up for my newsletter.

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Until next time, keep shining with grace,

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style, and a whole lot of sass.

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