You're menopausal? You're gorgeous
I bet you don't see the word gorgeous associated with menopause very often. Some other words that may not seem to snuggle in with our image of menopause are joyful, vibrant, optimistic, care-free, sexy or beautiful. How do you see yourself? What are your views on menopausal women?
Society and the menopause
It's the way we view menopause as a society and the way we, as women, view ourselves that disassociates these words with menopause. Words that I hear in context with menopause are moody, anxious, depressed, past it, invisible, dried up and even monstrous. These words have such a detrimental effect on how we experience menopause because what we expect to feel often creates our reality. You may feel anxious during perimenopause, but because it is expected as a symptom, you may feel a victim of it and accept your fate. A man who feels anxious in his 50's may also put this down to a mid-life crisis due to the same reasons. What we believe due to social beliefs and definitions, often shape our reality.
In Victorian times, it was thought that women's brains were connected to their womb and that they were predisposed to insanity - especially during menopause. Many women spent menopause in an asylum and others, due to the ignorance of the male medics of the time, had their ovaries removed as a cure. Women in menopause were seen as motherly and the idea that they still had sexual desires was outrageous. I'm so glad we've moved on from those times, but still...
The conversation about menopause
Today menopause is still not spoken about openly. I still hear phrases such as 'women of a certain age', 'she's at that time of her life', 'she's having a moment' and so menopause continues to define us.
If women decide to break free of these paradigms, menopause will lose its fiendish grip.
Yes, the symptoms can make you feel like you're going mad - yes they are uncomfortable and can even be so severe as to cause major disruption to your life. We can't choose to ignore it, nor can we escape it - it's part of every woman's life - but we can choose how we live with it. Menopause need not define you.
Belief is a powerful energy. What we believe creates our reality. If I believe that I'm useless at something, it affects the way I do it and the outcome. Belief can destroy your life or it can make your life heaven on earth.
If we believe that menopause defines who we are, and we have a negative imprint in our minds of what menopause is (the majority of women I would say) it's safe to say that we are already in a trap that will be difficult to get out of. Our belief in what our Grandmothers and Mothers have passed down to us may also hold an unconscious but powerful spell over how we experience menopause. The pain or discomfort or even the embarrassment - it all contributes to the negativity around this totally natural cycle of a woman's life.
It's possible to break free of those beliefs and to see menopause as an opportunity for personal growth and positive transformation. It is difficult to change paradigms - it may take generations, but it begins with us. We can live with more care for ourselves, be more self-aware and master our choices so that we begin to deeply connect with the amazing women we are.
Like many uncomfortable situations in life, suffering offers evolution in some way. You cannot ignore your body, for example, during perimenopause. I feel like hot flushes are like a clearing of excess heat - the heat of emotions that are trapped in the body - it feels damned uncomfortable, sometimes unbearable, but I meet and greet each one and connect deeply with my body as I do so - the result is that I get very few hot flushes - could they be telling us something?
We need to be responsible about how we talk about menopause with others and how we care for ourselves so that we can inspire future generations rather than scaring them. This is already beginning to happen, but we also need to take more responsibility for our health during this time. More self-nurture and less self-neglect and self-abuse!
I have found that coaching supports these changes. It can support you to explore all of those beliefs and expectations of who a woman in menopause is, how she looks, how she thinks etc. and to let go of the beliefs that are holding her back in patterns that create an adherence to poor lifestyle choices that only worsen symptoms.
We need to be sharing, talking, supporting and celebrating each other. We need to raise awareness so that our health care providers improve their level of support, and we need to raise the bar on how we express and live.
Whether it's HRT or holistic solutions that you choose to manage symptoms, the choice that will be the definitive choice is the one that chooses the gorgeous you - your relationship with yourself, your amazing light, your wisdom, your very essence that shines through your eyes - choose the beautiful being that you are and have been all through your life - define your gorgeous self and nurture her.
Who says that you can't be vibrant, joyful and sexy during menopause?