Fear of going gray is something many of us (women) face. Since aging is natural phenomena, it shouldn’t be difficult. But why are we afraid of the transition?
Like you, I’ve struggled making the decision whether I should or shouldn’t let my gray hair shine. I was worried about what others might think. And adding menopause on top of that was a roller-coaster ride. So I had to change my mindset to be OK with myself. Otherwise I’ll be stuck in a spiral of negativity.
In this article, I’ll share how I overcame the Fear of Going Gray and How to Embrace it.
In the picture above, what you can’t see is that 70% of my hair was actually gray. I’ve hid it for many years just like you might have. You may relate to how I was getting tired of it. Even with my best work, the gray hair came back within a few days.
So I indecisively planned to go full-on gray when I turn 70, 65…55…50!
Then BOOM! The pandemic hit, and I started seeing more women going gray. Wow, it’s actually OK to go gray and show natural beauty?! These women with gray hair didn’t look old. Somehow, they looked confident, so I was totally inspired!
I subconsciously started envisioning myself in gray hair, and found enough courage to begin the process. I hope what I share finds you courage.
Fear of Going Gray
Women in 40s (golden age!) start seeing some changes in our body and the appearance. As you may relate, gray hair is something many of us try to hide.
Since hair turning gray is a natural phenomenon, it should be embraced, you may think. But it’s not easy at all. When gray hair occurs, you try to cut/pluck it first. Then you start dyeing it that leads you into a rabbit hole. Eventually, we realize there is no end to it, and we get tired of it. So, what’s making us hesitant and almost fearful of going gray?
In many cases, women have been taught to stay young and attractive. In other words, gray hair is undesirable…but for whom?! So coloring gray hair is expected in many societies. For example, most of my female family members dyed their hair until they no longer could.
We subconsciously try to follow the expectations, because we’re afraid of stepping out of our comfort zone. Surprisingly, the hardest part is accepting the nature of AGEing.
How to Overcome Fear of Going Gray
The majority of us prolong going gray because of our own fear. For instance, I was worried about children’s reactions at school. Once I was told by grade 2 student that I looked like a grandma. Even that was enough to keep my hair colored – obviously, I wasn’t ready.
But half a year later, I was ready to make the transition. How did I overcome the fear? I simply connected three things: myself, nature, and others.
- focused on what’s important in my life – common theme under the pandemic
- looked inward – strengths, passion, talent, e.t.c. not my appearance!
- started backcountry camping – challenging but made me stronger!
- spent more time in nature – nature nurtures & accepts us all as who we are!
- asked my colleague (with beautiful gray hair) about the transition – empowered!
- looked up images of women in gray hair – they were beautiful & fashionable!
- engaged with women embracing their gray hair – you get smiles & encouragement back!
What Happened Next?
Once I began connecting with those three, I became comfortable and somehow excited about my transition. I slowly reduced the frequency of coloring, and some people actually liked that ‘highlighted’ look.
And before I knew it, other women started giving me complements and asked me ‘how’. Just like what I did earlier with inspiring women in gray hair! Then I realized that my prediction on others’ reactions turned out to be the opposite! Some students even thought my gray hair was highlighted, and it was cool.
It’s so true that we may be the worst enemy to ourselves. And let’s think about a difference you can make for other women and future generations. What you do can create a better world.
That’s how I overcame the fear of going gray and embraced it instead! So if you are stuck on the idea of going gray, try these three connections to see if it makes it easier to start.
I often find that what I do/believe is originated in my childhood. Some ideas are good to keep, others…I had to learn and unlearn to make a change. Going gray was clearly one of the subconscious ideas that I had to reverse. It’s because I wanted to be authentic and true to myself.
Nature’s also taught me something important – being imperfect is beautiful. Just like the mother tree in the picture below, we can become mother trees who nurture others.❤️