Four Beautiful Character Traits in Aging Women
The thirty-year old photograph of my former husband and me is one of my favorites. Occasionally, someone asks why I keep it, and I always answer, “I like the way I look in that picture.”
During a visit from two of my little cousins ages eight and ten, they were admiring the portrait when the younger one asked, “Why did you leave him?”
“I thought I was too pretty for him.” I joked.
“Yea,” she said while gazing at the younger version of me, “you were really beautiful.”
I thanked her for the compliment, and immediately she added, “Well, you can go back to him now. You’re not so beautiful anymore.”
When the reality of fading physical beauty sets in, aging women do well to remember that their inner beauty still shines in their character virtues, (some mentioned in the alphabet below). In this article, we will admire the beauty in four of these many virtues and appreciate their emphasis on being beautiful more than looking beautiful.
The Alphabet of Beautiful Traits
Column No. 1 (A-F)
Column No. 2 (G-M)
Column No. 3 (N-T)
Column No. 4 (U-Z)
A - Awareness
G - Gratitude
N - Neatness
U - Uniqueness
B - Bravery
H - Honesty
O - Optimism
V - Vivacity
I - Insight
P - Patience
W - Wisdom
D - Decency
J - Joy
Q - Quietness
X - eXcellence
K - Kindness
R - Respect
Y - Youthfulness
L - Loyalty
S - Strength
Z - Zest
M - Modesty
T - Tact
Beauty of Strength
The strength of the building is not in the glossy paint which is put on to make it look attractive; the strength is in the steel which lay hidden inside the walls. Without the steel, the gloss has nothing on which to stand.
Similarly, the essence of real beauty is not the glossy glamor which youth lends to women; the essence of their beauty is the foundational virtues built into their character.
Sadly, in some women, self-worth declines with loss of physical beauty in later years. Not so, for those who nurtured character as much as they nurtured looks. Character strength equals beauty in women when:
- Wrinkles line the face, but does not subtract from the strength of hope in their smiling eyes;
- Gravity pulls at their breasts, but it does not reduce the strength of compassion within their embrace;
- Cellulite forms bumps on their thighs, but those same thighs offer the strength of support in laps to which the grandchildren climb.
It is the strong support that aging women give and the long-lasting influence on the recipients which feel so beautiful.
Beauty of Self-Acceptance
Women who reach the retirement age, have had much practice in acceptance ("the act of taking or receiving something offered" - Dictionary.com) . They accepted job positions which, though not their first choice, helped to develop their work skills. They accepted people and situations, recognizing their power to influence results. As they age, they extend that spirit of acceptance to the approval of what they have become. They love who they are.
They do not burden themselves with memories of mistakes they made or opportunities that slipped past them. Neither are they jealous of other women who gained more than they did. They carry around a sweet attitude of contentment, counting their blessings and parading to the younger women the beauty of graceful aging.
Self-acceptance frees them to pursue another level of living—the level at which fading looks and decreasing physical abilities become reminders of the great odds they have survived. They tell stories of struggles, accentuating the successes. They portray that life is beautiful.
Beauty of Optism
Some people give an ugly impression of old age. They wear constant complaints and they curse at their current incapacities. Folks prefer the company of cheerful old ladies who share positive perspectives when they confront the complications of aging.
Millions of young and old women are inspired by Jenny Joseph’s humorous optimism in her poem beginning, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple | With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.” She decided to start wearing the combination colors immediately, “So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised, | When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple!”
Red Hat Society for Women over 50
Thank God for the optimistic old women who share laughter even while they are aching.
- An old woman disagreed with the doctor who said that the pain in one of her knees was due to old age. “Couldn’t be," she informed him. “The other knee is just as old.”
- My aunt lived on the top of a hill and when she could no longer walk down the path, she said, “The advantage is that I’ll be ahead of most people when it’s time for us to fly to heaven.” She was a favorite aunt.
Optimistic old women make other people like their company. The beauty exhibited in their attitude and words affect others over distance and time. The beauty in their optimism is lasting.
Beauty of Faith
Some of the best stories about the beauty of faith are told by children and grandchildren who had mothers and grandmothers praying for them. Many of the offspring reaped positive life-changing results, because the old women choose to pray, and not to worry.
Faith in God affects the aging women’s poise and mood. Sarah in the Bible story laughed out loud when God rewarded her trust in Him:
And Sarah declared, "God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me (Genesis 21:6 (NLT). . . She believed that God would keep his promise (Hebrews 11: 11).
No amount of Botox can create beauty comparative to the beauty of godliness in aging women of faith.
© 2016 Dora Weithers