Self Care + Health

Confidence and Self Esteem for Older Women – How to Boost Both

September 20, 2023

Do You Feel Fat? The Big Lie...
We Need to Have a Converstation About Mental Health 
How Society Damaged Me...
Now Trending:
I'm KAthy!

I’m an online educator, motivational & mindset coach, podcast host and author helping to teach women 50+ how to empower themselves to create their dream life... 


Let's Build a Life You're Excited to Wake Up To!

Learn more!

It's never too late to rewrite your future, reignite your heart or rebuild your dreams. Check out my proven coaching program, just for women 50+! 

I talk a lot about the fact that women over 50 are from generations where we were taught to have low confidence and poor self esteem. That’s right girls, it isn’t your fault. Society taught us older women all the things we needed to know to have significant issues with our self love when we were just little lasses. Don’t get me wrong, some of us, we got lucky. We had the perfect combination of parental support, natural personality and environment to have simply rocked our lives with confidence. And for your girls, seriously, rock on.

But for the rest of us older women, we struggle. And that struggle affects every single part of our past, present and future. Now, we can’t do anything about what has gone past. The past is over and done. But, we can change the present and the future. IT IS NOT TOO LATE. If that’s what you’ve been telling yourself, stop that right now. Here’s everything you need to know about self esteem and confidence for older women.


Self Esteem vs. Self Confidence

Definition of Self Esteem

Self esteem is about knowing that our worth lies in just by being who we are. We are worthy just by being.

Self Confidence Defined

Self confidence is about being secure in our belief in our abilities, what we do.

The Difference Between Self Esteem and Self Confidence

Now really, they are part of each other. You can’t have self confidence without at least some level of self esteem, and gaining confidence in almost anything can actually help you build your self esteem by helping you see your worth. Working on one generally helps you build the other. They are intertwined, yet distinct. The difference between self esteem and self confidence is that one is about who we are, and the other is about what we can do, or believe we can do.

Once you can get your foot in the door in believing in who you are, you can start to believe in what you can accomplish.
It takes practice. Some of us are born confident. Some of us have to teach ourselves self confidence. And here’s the thing my girls. You can.

Like most things, one step at a time.


Self esteem and confidence in women over 50


The Lies Society Used to Teach Us to Be Women with Low Self Esteem

  • Women aren’t capable of certain jobs. In 1970 92% of doctors were men. 99.5% of firefighters were men. 95% of police officers were men. 100% of astronauts were men. 98% of senators were men. That’s changing. But that’s not what we were taught.
  • Women should earn less money than men. (Still a thing, BTW.)
  • Women should be a certain look, size and shape for men to attract a partner. If you didn’t get married by a certain age, you were viewed as having something wrong with you. “Find a husband and settle down.”
  • Women belong in the home. And if they wanted careers, well that came second.
  • Women are weaker than men.
  • Women should behave “like a lady”, which basically meant we weren’t to do anything to make a man feel uncomfortable, incapable, or not “in charge”.
  • Men would be men. Which meant it was an unspoken acceptance that men could be sexually irresponsible because “men will be men” but women who behaved in the same way were promiscuous.
  • Magazines printed “Man of the Year” issues. Like, we women weren’t important enough for that?
  • Women were sexually harassed and it was normal. We were taught our sexuality was specifically for a mans pleasure. It was currency.
  • Women were not allowed credit cards if we were unmarried, and if married, we had to have our husbands cosign anything we wanted to buy. And usually, the cards were issued in the husbands name. This didn’t change until 1974.
  • Women were denied higher education. Harvard did not even admit female students until 1977.
  • Until 1973, women could not serve on a jury in all 50 states. We were considered “needed at home” or “too delicate” to decide on crimes.
  • Women were victim shamed, blamed or not believed with claims of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Women who sought help with violent marriages were met with attitudes of it being a “private matter” and rarely did police intervene. Remember “The Honeymooners”? One of the top shows of its times’ most famous catchphrase was “One of these days Alice, pow, right in the kisser!” And we all laughed. Because it was normalized and expected that men could, and did, behave that way towards women. It was quietly accepted.


Self Esteem and Confidence for Older Women


Heard enough? Every single one of these things sent us the message… that we were worth less. (Read, worthless.) That our needs came second. That we were put here on this earth to make a mans life better. That our value was based on how well we did that. We weren’t capable. We weren’t competent. That we weren’t as smart, or industrious, or as tough as a man.  Society taught us to have low self esteem. In fact, the way society treated women then was the definition of psychological abuse.

Characteristics of Low Self Esteem In a Woman Over 50

Recognize any of these characteristics of low self esteem  in yourself? It’s ok, most of us do…

  • People please much? Do you put everyone else’s needs before your own, all the time? Now, as Moms, often our kids need to be put first. And there are times when you want to put other loved ones first, temporarily. But if most of the time, you put yourself last, you need to ask yourself why. I mean, take the biggest piece of cake once, I dare you!
  • Overly sensitive to criticism? Or, perceived criticism? If you are always on the defense, that’s a sign you are unsettled in your confidence about who you are. Now, don’t confuse that with sensitivity. Some of us are highly sensitive people, and that doesn’t necessarily intersect with esteem. But if you feel others are better than you and you feel crushed over the tiniest slight, you might be dealing with lower self esteem.
  • In an abusive relationship? First of all, if you are and you want help, please reach out to the ones you love. There is no shame. Or, there shouldn’t be. Hell, email me, I’ll find you help. I’ve been there. But if you find yourself there and aren’t willing to get out, then your esteem might be telling you that you don’t deserve better. YOU DO.
  • Do you say negative things to yourself in your head? Or even out loud? “You look so fat”. “How could you be so dumb.” What an idiotic thing to do.” “Who would want me?” Any of those sound familiar? They are lies. By the way, you may want to check out my article, Do You Feel Fat? The Big Lie.
  • Do you have difficulty saying no when you need or want to? We all have obligations, but if you take on more then you can handle on a regular basis because you are afraid of what people will think if you say no, then check yourself. Your low self esteem is talking for you.
  • Do you have difficulty accepting compliments? It’s one thing to be humble, it’s another to not believe you deserve accolades.
  • Do you compare yourself to other women a lot?
  • Do you have a hard time making decisions because you are afraid of making a mistake, or failing?


10 things to boost self esteem for women over 50


10 Things to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Here are 10 things to boost your self esteem. Low self esteem is very often at the heart of mental health issues for women of all ages. Depression, anxiety and even chronic health issues can be caused or complicated by the stress of not believing in oneself.

  1. Listen to your own self talk. No one can be crueler to ourselves than ourselves, and that continues to damage our self esteem over time. If you wouldn’t say it to a daughter or granddaughter, don’t say it to yourself.
  2. Practice self-care. If you are tired, know you deserve to rest. If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or trauma, then get therapy. Therapy works. In fact, just get therapy. Everyone could use some guidance and support!
  3. Practice standing up for yourself. Learn these three phrases… “It isn’t ok for you to talk to me like that.” ” It isn’t ok for you to treat me like that.” ” No,  that isn’t ok with me.”  Use them.
  4. Choose your relationships wisely. The people we spend time with are major contributors to our self esteem levels. Make sure the ones you choose to have in your life lift you up, not tear you down.
  5. Build your mental strength and resiliency. You will be less likely to beat yourself up when things go wrong, and more likely to celebrate yourself. There is a good article on building mental strength at Better Up.
  6. Do things that bring you joy. Joy can heal so many things. Keep a “joy” self esteem journal.  Write down all those things that bring you joy. Simple things, like the color of the sky, and more complex things, like finishing a big project successfully. That way, on low days, you can lift yourself up by rereading it!
  7. Challenge yourself to focus for one hour just on the positive things you like about yourself. Can only think of one? Ask your best friend or a loving S.O. for ideas.
  8. Here is a big one. Forgive yourself. Maybe you made mistakes when the kids were little, or you chose the wrong spouse and you regret it. Maybe you wish you would have gotten that college degree so that money would come easier, or had been there for a loved one when they needed you but you were wrapped up in your own life. Forgive yourself. I myself carry a lot of guilt. I work every day at letting it go. Something that helped me? A famous quote from Maya Angelou… “Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.” You need to understand we all do the best we can in this life. If you are learning from your mistakes, then that’s all you can ask of yourself as a human being. Nothing you did was to purposely hurt another. Forgive yourself.
  9. Get therapy. Did I say that already? 🙂 Find a life coach. Get help and support in some way. You don’t owe anyone any excuses or explanations, just do it.
  10. Be kind to yourself. Look in the mirror and compliment yourself once each day. It doesn’t have to be about your looks, either. Just an emphatic “You can do this!” can convince your mind over time, that you can do it, whatever “it” is. And you can.


Confidence Building Exercises for Older Women

Now, self-confidence is all about feeling good about what you can do. And confidence building exercises can help you build your self-esteem as well. Ways to build confidence?

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Try something new, and do it. It doesn’t matter if you always wanted to learn to salsa dance, and you get to your first class and fall on your face. The value is in being brave enough to try. Make a bucket list of things you would like to learn or try, and watch your confidence grow as you check off each one!
  • Perfect just one thing. Take something you are good at or love, and practice. Learn. Grow. Become the best you can. Share it with the world. Getting really good at just one thing will give you the confidence to try one more thing, then another. You will start to actually crave that feeling of having pushed through fear, and it will happen again and again. Keep going!
  • Exercise. When you feel strong, no matter what your size or age, it makes you feel instantly more confident. Learn balance exercises that will keep you feeling assured in your step as you grow older. Work on improving your posture. Stand tall with confidence, because it works!
  • Lift others up with words and deeds. Affecting another person’s confidence and esteem in a positive way is an amazing way to build confidence in yourself! Stop that woman with the amazing shoes and tell her how great they are. Have a friend feeling low? Invite her on a girl date and see a movie. Know someone with a lot on their plate? Send them an Instacart with some pre-made dinners and some ice cream.
  • Start a business or non profit that is all you. Nope, it isn’t too late. And yep, you do have skills, even if you never worked.
  • Meditate. That’s right, meditate. Science has now proven that meditation can rewire your brain. Want to know more? Check out this guide on meditation at Science of People. Then try it! I personally use the Calm app, but there are endless ways to meditate.

It’s really important to our mental health to take a good hard look at the way in which women over 50 have been brainwashed into believing we are worth less. Build your confidence and self esteem over time, and leave a legacy for the little girls behind you to understand that we women? We were worthy the whole time. We just didn’t know it. ‘Till now. Check out my post 25 Best Confident Woman Quotes for Midlife and Beyond!

Return to the Blog for more great articles just for women 50+!

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up and get
10 Best Inspirational Quotes for Women 50+,
for free!

Sign Up!

so hot right now

I'm Kathy, your new get-a-grip best bud.

I’m an online educator, business, motivational & mindset coach, podcast host and author helping to teach women over 50 how to empower themselves to create the life they always wanted... 

Click here to learn more about me

hey there!

“It’s time to put an end to the toxic culture about women & aging…
I'm here for the revolution, and I'm bringing the cocktails..." -K

© WBM LLc. 2022 -Woodard Bates Media - The Middle Girls 5114 Point Fosdick Dr Ste F PMB 1088 Gig Harbor, WA 98335

back to Top


follow along 
on Instagram: