People who are self-conscious about their age usually display these 7 behaviors (without realizing it)

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They say age is just a number.

In many ways that’s true. Yet it doesn’t stop plenty of us from feeling uncomfortable about our number.

The reality is that there can be societal pressure about how old, and even how young we are.

Perhaps at work, younger employees feel like they aren’t given the same respect.

Older people can start to feel increasingly invisible and under pressure to stay eternally youthful.

This awkwardness around your age may not be obvious at first, but it does tend to show up in some subconscious ways.

Let’s take a look at them.

1) They downplay birthdays

Of course, not everyone who tries to sidestep their birthday is self-conscious about their age.

But I think it does point to some sort of insecurity, and here’s why:

Your birthday is unique in the calendar year. Of all the celebrations, it’s all about you.

Whilst some people savor that, others feel very uncomfortable about it.

There’s even such a thing as “birthday depression”.

As explained by psychologist Dr. Ernesto Lira de la Rosa, one of the reasons may be a fear of getting older.

“(Some people) may reflect on their lives and may not feel they are where they wanted to be by that specific age.”

If someone doesn’t want a fuss and prefers to ignore their birthday, they may not relish another year passing by.

2) They lie about how old they are

It was a standing joke in our house every year on my mom’s birthday.

21 again.

It was said with tongue in cheek as a nod to those people who want to roll back the clock and so tell fibs about their real age.

Maybe it’s a bit of denial. Perhaps there is some embarrassment about aging.

As we’ve already discussed, sadly, aging can be seen in a negative light and we’re encouraged to stay youthful for as long as possible.

Some people may add years if they are trying to boost their status or be seen as more mature.

Regardless of whether they round up or round down, it’s all a sign of being self-conscious about the age you really are.

3) They try to act older or younger than their age

What’s really going on here is that they try to overcompensate.

I want to tread carefully though, because I hate expressions like “age-appropriate”.

I wholeheartedly believe you’re never too old or young for anything.

But this is a bit different.

This is not about embracing your age and living your life regardless, the way you want.

It’s about engaging in behaviors that don’t seem quite appropriate for the wrong reasons. And those reasons are insecurity.

For example, someone may dress in a way that doesn’t seem to fit their personality or their stage of life.

Rather than be a genuine expression of themselves, it feels more like “dress up”.

It’s like they are desperately trying to appear younger than they are or conversely present an image of themselves as being more “grown-up”.

The strange thing about age is that we spend our first years wishing we were older, then our later years wishing we were younger.

For example, research noted that 60% of 20-year-olds want to be older. But by the time they reach 26, 70% would prefer to be younger.

4) They hate to talk about their age or aging

Sometimes people’s self-consciousness around their age only becomes apparent when you bring it up.

They might be evasive when asked about their age.

In many ways, we’ve learned to feel shame around our age. You’ve probably heard it said that you should never ask a woman her age.

As pointed out in the advice column of the Washington Post by Judith Martin, a lot of this taboo is rooted in ageism.

“A society that extols youth and degrades age has poisoned the pleasure of having a long life, but people have curiously adopted this attitude…In social circumstances, (I have) always thought it ridiculous to consider one’s age an embarrassment. Nevertheless, it is — to many gentlemen, as well as ladies.”

If someone is self-conscious about it, they could prefer to avoid discussions or questions about age.

They may seem visibly uncomfortable and change the subject when age-related topics come up.

5) They’re obsessive about looks

Can I tell you a secret?

I’ve always been quite relieved that I’m not remarkably beautiful. I know that may sound weird, and the reason why probably still springs from vanity.

I’ve often thought that the most attractive among us must find it so much harder to lose their looks.

After all, it’s very easy to get attached.

Although the way we look should never define us, there often comes a time when it feels hard to accept that our appearance will change.

The former fashion model and actress Sharon Stone once revealed how she struggled to accept her body as she began to age.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with taking pride and care in your appearance, this can become an obsession for some people who are really self-conscious about aging.

They may become fixated on their physical appearance in an attempt to appear younger.

They spend excessive amounts of time on grooming and beauty routines. Or they are always seeking out cosmetic procedures to combat signs of aging.

6) They seek constant reassurance

People who are self-conscious about their age may seek validation from others to reassure themselves.

They need the compliments of family, friends, and even strangers to feel good.

Because deep down they do not feel confident in their age, they seek the approval of others to give them validation.

It may show up in behaviors like fishing for compliments about their appearance.

They may want you to guess their age in the hope that you will get it wrong.

It’s as though they are always trying to prove themselves.

7) They make self-deprecating comments

Putting yourself down is always a sign of a lack of self-esteem.

But it’s also really common, as we don’t even notice it happening.

Usually, it starts with that negative inner voice that makes unkind comments.

We can often be our own worst critic and say things to ourselves and about ourselves that we would never say about others.

If someone often makes harsh comments about their age or any visible signs of aging, it hints at self-consciousness.

That also goes for people who say they’re “too old” to do something now. It’s like they’ve already written themselves off.

Without realizing it, these self-imposed limitations come from false beliefs they have formed about aging.

But as we’re about to see, it’s less about a number and more about a mindset.

How old you feel is more significant than how old you are, and here’s the scientific proof…

According to research, most of us don’t feel the age we are.

We either feel older or younger, and this has a big impact on our mental health.

Scientists think that this ‘subjective age’ not only dictates important daily or life decisions, it also can predict various health outcomes.

The bottom line is, that if you feel young at heart, your well-being and health are generally better. Proof that you really are only as old as you feel.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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