Is There Ageism in Your Words?

I don’t know about you, but when a clerk or waitperson calls me, “Sweetie” or “Hun”, I cringe. I am not your “sweetie” or “honey”. And I seriously doubt that they are using the term affectionately. It’s plain ageism in their words.

Now maybe I’m a bit more sensitive because I like to practice what I preach – Live Your Life and Forget About Your Age, but why do some people, especially those younger than me, feel they should use words like that? Does it make them feel superior?

It makes me feel like when you pet your dog on the head and tell them they are a good dog.

However, that’s their choice. And someday I’ll probably come up with a sarcastic retort (suggestions always welcome!).

But are you aware of the WORDS YOU USE to describe yourself? Are they ageist?

Terms like:

Over-the- hill
Senior moment
Still working
No spring chicken
Active adult

(If 21 is considered an adult, why wouldn’t anyone over 21, who is active, be an active adult?)

These are all words which are reinforcing aging stereotypes. And isn’t this what our generation is trying to get away from?

We have so many more opportunities than previous generations, why would you want to put a negative spin on it?

Someone who is “still working” in their 70s, not only is able to contribute a wealth of experience but is probably pretty darn healthy. And a lot more, physically and mentally, than someone who retires and then just sits around.

I always get strange looks when someone asks me if I am “still working” or when do I plan to retire – how ageist is that?? And I tell them never! I love what I do and see no reason to stop as long as I am able to do my job.

When we repeatedly use certain words, we start to believe them. That’s the point of reciting affirmations. By repeating certain words, it affirms them into our belief system.

Just like in advertising when we are told that wrinkles are bad, we start looking for all those wrinkles. And of course, we find them!

It’s amazing how much what we think and say to ourselves and others has such an impact on how we feel and behave.

When I taught Pilates at a physical therapy clinic, I was amazed at the amount of people who just shrugged their shoulders and blamed their health issues on being old. Like it was a fact of life that these things happen.

Well, that’s what they believed. And they kept reinforcing that belief every time they repeated those words.

If you constantly use negative words that’s the message you are sending to the Universe. And guess what? The Universe likes us to get what we ask for.

It’s been found that people who use positive words feel better about themselves and have a more positive image of themselves. They are more likely to invest time into taking care of their own well-being rather than someone with a negative view on aging.

If you keep telling yourself that you can’t do something because you are over a certain age, you won’t be able to do it. But look at some athletes who didn’t start training at an early age and have run marathons in their 70’s and 80’s. Do you think they told themselves that they weren’t a spring chicken?

Being mindful of our choice of words is always important. But it’s especially important when those words can affect our life.

So try to remember to not use those negative, ageist words. And maybe even politely correct those who do!

What we think we become

Do you find yourself using ageist words?

In Peace and Good Health,


Ready to start an Ageless Lifestyle Program?

Then schedule a Complimentary Lifestyle Clarity Session so we can talk about how this program can work for you.

I usually make a vinaigrette or olive oil and lemon dressing for my salads, but this is quickly becoming a favorite alternative.

And bottled dressings are so unhealthy.

That’s why this is a quick, easy and healthy Thousand Island Dressing.

And it’s so versatile! Not only is it a delicious salad dressing but you can use it as a dip for raw veggies and it also makes a great sandwich spread.

Thousand Island Dressing Made Healthy
Print Recipe
Makes about 2 cups. Organic ingredients are always best!
Thousand Island Dressing Made Healthy
Print Recipe
Makes about 2 cups. Organic ingredients are always best!
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well.
  2. Place in a covered container and refrigerate for a few hours
  3. Stir occasionally to blend ingredients.
  4. Will keep about 3-4 weeks in the fridge.
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6 thoughts on “Is There Ageism in Your Words?

  1. Yes it’s one of my pet peeves when people respond or address me that way (I’m 51 and proud by the way) C candy that dip sounds awesome, thanks.
    Ps when I think up a matching sarcastic response I’ll let you know.

    • Patti Stevens

      I’ll be waiting for that response!

  2. Words impact us positively or negatively and it goes a long way in our lives with great effect. We should choose our words carefully and weigh our thoughts too.
    Great post..

    • Patti Stevens

      Thank you. And yes, think how much better our world would be if people were more aware of how their words impact others.

  3. This was such a success in the no rules link party. It was so popular.

    • Patti Stevens

      Glad to hear that! And thank you for the opportunity to post in your link party.

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