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Why Losing Your Looks Doesn’t Matter. And How I Got Over It
Updated 22 Mar, 2021

Coming to terms with losing your looks as you age need not be difficult if you adopt the right focus and beliefs.

Woman coming to terms with losing her looks as she stares into a mirror.

When I turned 27, I had a bit of a quarter-life crisis. I basically freaked out about getting ‘old’ and had to examine a lot of beliefs I held about myself. 

Part of this freak-out was the apprehension of losing my beauty with age, and subsequently my value as a woman (wait what? Yeah…more about this later).

I’d identified so long with being a young, attractive 20-something, that when I started to realise I was closer to being 30 than 20-something, and that ‘young and attractive’ wasn’t going to last forever, I felt panicked.

Who was I if I wasn’t this definition anymore? What did I have to offer to the world?

Being sold youth equals beauty…and the trap we all fall into

In society, youth and beauty is often seen to go hand-in-hand:

You’re young, therefore you’re beautiful. Or, you’re beautiful, therefore you’re young. 

If you hold both these things, especially as a woman, you’ve got a lot of social currency to spend.

Doors magically open for you. People pay attention to you and are nice to you without you having to lift a finger.

It’s easy to lean into this without realising it, because a) it’s pretty much forced on to you and b) I mean…why not?

Where it goes wrong though, is when you start incorporating these traits into your self-identity and seeing your youth or looks as the only, or most important thing you have to offer.

You start believing society telling you that this is how you add value to the world and this is what makes you special and worthy.

I didn’t even realise I was absorbing these messages until my quarter-life crisis happened and I was interrogating why I felt the way I did. 

I was afraid of getting old and losing my looks because I felt my value came from being young and beautiful.

What kind of messed up thinking is that? And this is coming from someone who considers herself a feminist.

As a woman, you don’t need me to tell you that you are more than your physical appearance, or that you have more to offer the world than your looks.

You know that’s the truth deep down, no matter how insecure you’re feeling at the moment.

The problem with letting society, or any external source for that matter, dictate your self-worth is that you end up giving your power away. You let other people, or external circumstances control how you feel about yourself.

You’re only attractive if you look a certain way or are under a certain age.

You’re only likable if other people find you likable.

You’re only worthy if other people find you worthy.

Don’t fall into this trap. It’s a goose chase that will lead you nowhere.

Any external criteria you use to value yourself is at risk of being pulled away without your consent, because there will always be elements outside your control.

You can’t be young and beautiful forever (or at least society’s definition of it). And you can lose your wealth and power in an instant if the right circumstances line up.

So what happens then?

You have an identity crisis and self-worth meltdown, that’s what.

How to come to terms with losing your looks as you age

So how to deal with getting old and losing your looks?

You need to build a more empowering self-identity.

I talked above about how you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot if you let external criteria, or things outside your control, creep into how you value yourself.

Therefore, you need to look in the opposite direction to build your new, more empowering self-identity.

This means looking internally, to something you can control, that won’t fade with age and won’t change without your consent.

Which usually then means looking at your attitudes and actions, because they’re the only things you can control 100% of the time.

Look at your principles, the values you live by and the impact you want to have on those around you and let these define you.

What do you want to add to the world? What do you want to be known for?

Do you want to be someone who always treats others with respect? That lifts others up with your positivity? That acts generously towards the ones you love?

Connect with the person you want to be and the impact you want to have on the world, and let these things become the basis of your identity and value.

They will always have a more lasting and profound impact than a pretty face.

Stop seeing yourself as just your looks. You are more. A million gazillion times more.

Step into the power and impact you can have beyond this narrow definition.

When you realise your own power, you’ll transcend any worry about losing your looks because it will just be unimportant in comparison to your life’s mission. Whether that be raising kids you are proud of or just putting a smile on someone’s face during your day.

If you need a bit of help with self-exploration to define this for yourself, here are my suggestions:

  • Find what your core values are – Our values are the qualities, principles and beliefs that we find important. Our core values shape our lives but most people are never even consciously aware of what theirs are. Once you know your core values, you’ll understand what fulfils you, the type of life you want to lead and the type of person you want to be.
  • Journal – We all have a vision in our heads of what our ideal self or best self looks like. Get it out of your head and on to paper so you can see it clearly.

    Who do you want to be? What character traits do you want? How do you act? How do you want others to describe you?

    Imagine your own funeral. What do you want to be said about you in your eulogy? What do you want to be your legacy or what you’re remembered for?
  • Create a personal mission or purpose statement for your lifeThis article and this article provide great guidance on crafting one.

The bottom line

If you’re struggling with coming to terms with losing your looks as you age, I really encourage you to examine your beliefs. Why are you scared of losing your looks? What does it represent for you?

If you’re anything like me and have let society infiltrate your thinking and built part of your self-identity and self-value on these superficial traits, don’t let them keep defining you.


You are more than your looks, you are a whole person with unique talents, perspectives and value to add to the world.

Don’t forget about these other important parts of yourself.

Build the foundation of who you are from within and it will never fail you.

Let your actions, beliefs and behaviour define you, not your age and how many men turn when you enter a room, or even the house you own or the job title you hold.

When you make this shift, getting old and losing your looks won’t matter. It will become completely irrelevant to who you are, and the true value you know you can bring to the world.

Keep Reading

What is a Quarter-life Crisis? And How To Deal With It

What is a Quarter-life Crisis? And How To Deal With It

What is a quarter-life crisis? The term quarter-life crisis has been popularly used to describe a period from your mid-20s to early 30s, where you feel lost and confused about what you’re meant to be doing with your life.  It’s typified by doubt around choices...

What Are My Core Values? Find Them in 5 Easy Steps

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Discover what your core values are and why they're so important in this complete step-by-step guide. What do 'core values' mean? Core values are principles, qualities or standards that we find important.  They make up our fundamental beliefs about what's wrong or...


  1. The Elf

    Hi! 🙂
    Unfortunately sheapony is right. When I was younger I didn’t expect myself to have huge problems with losing my looks. I have always focussed on internal values and so on, have always been a political and also spiritual person. BUT. Then 40 hit me and since then life is really a struggle. I‘m almost 45 now and just very recently got out of a relationship with a man who is 6 years younger than I. He was constantly staring at girls who could have age-wise easily been my daughter. It hurts really bad. Because what he admires in them, I have lost forever.
    Otherwise we got on really well and loved each other very much but his obvious yearning for youth and beauty, things that I don’t have and can’t offer him anymore really killed it for me and I can’t live my live battling with self hate all the time. It costs so much energy.
    The devaluation of women past a certain age is unfortunately omnipresent. And therefore it inevitably keeps hitting us, at least now and again.
    Of course we all need to try and get on with it and check our values etc. What else is could we do.
    But as the lady above already said, it doesn’t stop hurting, at least not from time to time.
    Life as a woman unfortunately often enough sucks (thanks patriarchy and thanks nature).

    Anyway, peace, sister.

    • Jessie

      Hi The Elf,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yup most of the time it’s not even ageing per se that’s the problem, it’s how others (namely men) and society then view us as a result. If we all lived in an all-female vacuum, life would be pretty good I reckon – at least in regards to this issue :P.

      I can imagine how you would be feeling hurt and insecure from the way your partner was physically yearning after younger women. For someone we love, we want to be everything for them and everything they need.

      I don’t know your relationship but I absolutely do know that your job is not to be everything he needs though. You do not need to hate yourself for not giving him something you can’t give. Your job is to be you! And his job is to freakin appreciate it.

      A lot of the time I think this type of thing isn’t even about you, it’s about him. He needs to get his priorities straight. Does he want a life partner he can share life’s journey with, or does he want a pretty face and young body by his side? Which is more important? When you know what is important to you, you do not get distracted by what’s not.

      And yes, the critical voice inside can never be silenced and sometimes life throws us spanners that really test our resolve. I have those days too. It’s ok to feel those negative feelings, the important thing is not to stay there.

      Reminding ourselves of our own value, cultivating self-love, not comparing ourselves to others (who might be younger, prettier whatever) and keeping focused on our own path, and having a mindset of abundance (gratitude, focusing on all the wonderful things we have rather than what we lack) is all ongoing work we have to do every day.

      The negative feelings do come, but I believe we can do our part to keep their stay short.

  2. c sheaphony

    My first thought was…’you are freaking out and you are not even 30. You think you know how to combat the debilitating thoughts that everyone thinks about themselves as chronological age does indeed rob them of their good looks. Hmm, well wait until you are 40, 50, 60, or beyond, because it only gets worse.’

    No matter how you try to convince yourself to feel good at any age, and to place value in your other valuable attributes, you will absolutely feel like crap at times. There is no magic thought, or mantra that can combat what life throws at you. Prepare for those moments, when you inevitably feel down. At 61, I can tell you, it is going to happen. It does become much more difficult, because ageism exists. People can be very cruel.

    • Jessie

      Hi c sheaphony, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I absolutely agree that there is no magic mantra and there are always going to be bad days as well as good. I am not immune to bad days.

      I’m 31 now while it’s true that I am not 40, 50 or 60, it’s still a transition from your early-20s. In your early-20s, you’re at your peak biological attractiveness but in your 30s, you kind of start fading into the background. It’s a fact that society values youth/beauty and as women, we all have to battle that transition and adjust to this loss of power as we age. Attention shifts and suddenly you feel like you are no longer relevant.

      Shifting my perspective really helped me though and I guess that’s what motivated me to really share it in this post. I truly believe we, as women, have to remember we are more than a reduction to our looks and age, no matter how much society tries to push us into that box.

      I hardly ever think about ageing and losing beauty these days. Turning 30 wasn’t a big deal for me. I still look after myself of course, because it’s part of self-love but ageing is something none of us can change. Rather than fighting it and trying to reverse it, I think that acceptance frees us and is what will truly bring peace.

      What also helps me is focusing on gratitude and what I’ve gained in life (more love, more joy, another year of experiences when others aren’t so lucky), rather than what I’ve lost each year.

      I also think about my life’s purpose and all the different things I want to do in life and the people I want to help – and no longer being valued for my looks pales in comparison to that. I think sometimes we get really caught up in our own little world, but when we shift our focus to how we can serve others and make the world a better place suddenly the big issues we have don’t seem that big after all.

      I don’t know if I answered your query but I hope that helps a little bit. I’m sorry that you’re having to battle these debilitating thoughts and are experiencing discrimination for your age. In an ideal society, that shouldn’t happen.

      I truly wish you all the best and that you are able to find peace in your heart.

      • Susann

        I feel you. The words from the lady above helped me to understand one Thing. Age doesn’t matter. You can grieve over your lost beauty at any point of your life.

        Your feelings and thoughts are there. And that’s okay.

        Beautiful people can be ugly.
        “Ugly” people can be beautiful.

        Now it’s time to give back love. Be thankful for the love you received. you will always carry it in you.

        Be kind. Be humble.
        And don’t forget to Smile 🙂

        • Jessie

          Beautiful words Susann! Thank you for sharing, couldn’t agree more 🙂


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