The Nerve to Break Free from Beauty Stereotypes

Imagine being cocooned in a spa treatment room, expecting relaxation, only to be bombarded with a barrage of comments about your wrinkles and sagging skin. 

That’s exactly what happened to me a decade ago in Positano, Italy. This uncomfortable spa visit was a reflection of the wider societal issue that women face when it comes to ageism in beauty.

In this episode, I’m sharing how to counter these external pressures and redefine our own standards of beauty. It’s about shifting our internal beliefs, challenging outdated norms, and embracing the natural progression of life with confidence and pride.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • A personal story of that unsettling spa encounter in Positano.
  • How the beauty industry and cultural messaging often equate youth with beauty, creating unrealistic expectations.
  • Embracing aging as a natural and beautiful process, rather than a flaw to be fixed.
  • Practical comebacks and affirmations to challenge and shift our internalized beliefs about beauty and aging.
  • The importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who uplift and celebrate aging as a part of life.

Tune in and let's challenge beauty stereotypes and celebrate every chapter of our lives.

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Susan Hyatt (00:00):
Is there something you wish you had the nerve to do? Welcome to, you've Got Nerve, the podcast that teaches you how to conquer your fears, upgrade your mindset, and get up the nerve to go after whatever you want. If you wish you had the guts to go all in on your goals, dreams, and desires, this show is for you. I'm master certified life coach Susan Hyatt, and I am so excited for you to join me on this journey. In today's episode, I'm coming at you solo to talk about the nerve to break free from beauty stereotypes. So about a decade ago at age 40, I was headed to Positano, Italy to lead a retreat. And I arrived a few days early, excited to indulge in some quiet some self-care. And so I booked a facial at the hotel spa. And so imagine me cocooned in a room with soft lighting and essential oils, and my relaxation was abruptly interrupted.

The facialist began roughly examining my skin and her touch was at first gentle and soothing, and it turned analytical and almost intrusive. Her brows scrunched together and she asked if I had recently lost a significant amount of weight and confused. I responded that no, I hadn't only to be met with a skeptical of her tongue and a mountain of warnings about my saggy skin. She painted this bleak picture of my future, one where my skin would sag so much, it would practically drip off my face and her solution. She urged me to invest in a bunch of expensive firming cream she was selling. These she claimed were essential to protect my skin against the terrors of aging. And at one point she grabbed a magnifying glass, wielding it like a detective seeking clues, pointing out each wrinkle and perceived flaw with a clinical detachment that left me feeling exposed and kind of vulnerable.

And I noticed when I left the spa, I didn't have the same lightness that I had anticipated. It was heavy. I was feeling confused and doubtful and questioning my own skin and reflection like I thought I looked great. What is she talking about? And the streets of Positano seemed a little less bright. And the excitement of my upcoming retreat was a tadd less cheerful. At 40. I hadn't put much thought or any at all into sagging skin before that moment. And this incident, it was more than just an uncomfortable hour at the spa. It was a mirror reflecting the wider reality for women everywhere. We are regularly subjected to unsolicited opinions about our appearance and held to these unrealistic standards of beauty. Studies show that a significant number of women intensely dislike the way that they look. The beauty industry feeds on this and amplifies these insecurities offering solutions and pills and jars and bottles promising to turn back time to preserve a version of us that the world and the patriarchy deems more acceptable.

Service providers like my facialist and positano sometimes engage in shaming tactics to sell products and solution aging is viewed as some flaw to be fixed rather than a natural beautiful process. And the cultural messaging is clear. Youth equals beauty and aging is something to fight. It's the story that's not only untrue, but so damaging. So how do we counter this narrative? The first step is recognizing and shifting our own internalized beliefs around aging and beauty. It involves understanding that beauty is not confined to a specific age bracket. It means that we can learn how to embrace the natural progression of life and find beauty in the wisdom and experiences that come with each passing year. And then if you encounter someone like my facialist and positano, I've learned that sometimes you got to have a few comebacks ready to remind yourself and others of what really, really matters.

So when someone comments on your aging skin, you can simply say like, Hey, I like the lines on my face. Each line is a story of laughter and tears and everything in between, and I don't think I'd have it any other way. If someone's pushing unrealistic beauty standards, you might say to me, beauty is about feeling good in your skin, not just looking a certain way. And if the conversation's a little too much about looks, try steering it elsewhere. I'm more interested in how healthy my skin is, how it looks is just a bonus. And when advice skews towards anti-aging, you can say aging is part of life. I'm embracing it fully. And if you feel like you're being sold an unrealistic ideal, it's okay to ask, is this really about healthy skin? Or just trying to fit into a youthful beauty mold. In addition to snappy comebacks, pay attention to what you tell yourself and how you treat and view yourself.

Make sure that you're choosing self-care routines that make you feel great, not because they promise eternal youth and love your skin for what it does, not just how it looks. And you know what I find helpful? I find it really helpful to be around other women who lift you up and celebrate aging as just a beautiful part of life. So whether it's a group online, like my upcoming Prime program, you're going to want to stay tuned for those details or friends in real life. Surround yourself with like-minded people and share your stories and listen to theirs, their strength in knowing that you're not alone. And that day in Positano, it really opened my eyes in more ways than one. That facial gone wrong was a powerful real life lesson for me as a 40-year-old of what was coming of how society views aging and beauty. But more importantly, it was a step towards breaking free of beauty, stereotypes, wrinkles at all.

If you want to work with me in 2024, I've got some options to help energize you and bring out your best self. One-on-one coaching. This is my highest level. So if you're ready to go all in and pursue your goals, like you mean it, come work with me one-on-One, we'll create major breakthroughs in your life and achieve goal after goal after goal. This is the most intense and personalized experience I offer. Another way would be a VIP Yes Day with me. This is a private, luxurious over the top day with me. Just us face-to-face, working on whatever you want. We can spend the whole day mapping out a business plan, figuring out how to make a major transition, creating your legacy project that would be the work you want to be known for or anything else you want to accomplish. I have such a great set of testimonials from recent VIP days.

You want to check those out. I'm going to put links to applications in the show notes. There's also international retreats. I believe that travel is such a gift and it's a great way to make new friends, see the world experience trips with me that are so luxe. You'll be like, are we in a movie? All of my retreats combine life coaching, career business planning, unforgettable excursions and cultural adventures. So from the moment you land to that last sip of champagne, I've got everything ready for you to savor. In 2024, we're going to Ireland and Spain and Morocco. So you could sign up for any of those, and I'll be announcing an exciting new program in the coming weeks, all about savoring your prime. So stay tuned.



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