Am I ugly today?
I ask this to my friend a lot recently. She rolls her eyes at me and politely tells me to shut up. She doesn’t know that I say this to myself all the time.
Most mornings I scrutinise my body, clothes and hair in my full-length mirror before leaving for uni or work, to check I look socially acceptable for the day, and to ensure there isn’t any stickers or tissue stuck to my boots or anything. Sometimes I stare back at the reflection and walk out the door feeling okay-ish. Other days I’m anxiously counting down the hours to get back into my room and hide away from the world.
My body insecurities are probably similar to thousands of people, even millions, maybe yours too? My clothes are just that little bit snug (last week at WTM I wore my shirt hanging over my trousers to hide the 2 inch gap where the zip wouldn’t meet the top of my waist band), the spots love to make their gleaming appearance on my face, my eyelashes won’t grow, and I panic in almost every situation where I have to publicly speak – just to name a few. All this makes me un-pretty, right?
See, that’s the thing. What actually constitutes as ugliness? Do I have the qualities of a pretty person? I know that I’m not ugly because in my eyes nobody is. There is no pretty scale. It’s not just about beauty either. Yes I’ve struggled to accept the way I look but shouldn’t self-image reflect who you are as a person rather than solely characterised by a mirror image. As humans we constantly compare ourselves to others; our style, hobbies, daily lives, everything. I’m achieving things now that I’d never have dreamed of, so why is it my mind second-guesses my own capabilities and revokes the thoughts of those that believe in me. Surely that’s low self-esteem doing its thing?
Having a low self-esteem can take its toll. Of course there are days we all wish we could stay in bed and have a pizza fest without worrying about calorie intake, but feeling horrible about yourself can also get to the point where you start to avoid doing any of the things you love anymore, and this just isn’t healthy! Feeling more positive about yourself can be hard at first and it’s important to remember there are lots of things that can be done to boost yourself, I thought we could go through a couple together.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE THAT YOU LOVE
Nothing is worse than being in the company of people that bring you down and make you unhappy. This goes for online communities too. Although social media can be great for putting yourself out there and creating amazing content and friendships, all too often online bullies and trolls are eager to put a dampener on your life. Don’t ever rise to bullies because in the end they never win. Have you ever heard the saying ‘kill them with kindness’? Focus on spending time with people that make you happy and surround yourself with those that care about you. In my experience ensuring that I contribute to other peoples’ wellbeing is something that motivates my self-esteem, whether it be giving a compliment, buying a homeless person a hot meal, volunteering or just taking my dog out for a walk. I love this quote from Mind charity:
Learning to identify and challenge your own negative self-beliefs can have a positive impact on your self esteem. It can be helpful to ask yourself ‘would I ever talk to or think about a loved one in such a way’?
DO SOMETHING NICE EVERYDAY JUST FOR YOU
I personally believe that small steps help to achieve the bigger picture. When I feel rubbish about myself I try to think about smaller things in life that cheer me up. Something as little as singing *screeching* out Disney classics or a Shania Twain album instantly makes me feel better. Taking 10 minutes out to go for a run, popping out to the shops for a new nail polish, singing in the shower. Whatever it might be, invest a little bit of the day to do something just for you!
Remember, your worth is not decided by anyone or anything! Sure there will be people who you perceive to be more beautiful, intelligent, faster, fashionable etc. However, you can only be the best and most beautiful version of yourself. There is only one of you in the world and that makes you special so embrace everything you love and let that show. A low self -esteem can lead to you alienating yourself from everything. The charity Mind has some fantastic tools for helping to deal with self-esteem and stress. I highly recommend having a read through. We also have the counselling service at UCB and Positive Minds society who are here to support, so know that you’re never alone.
Do you know what? It’s okay that today I woke up feeling ugly because when I went to the mirror before heading out to uni, the reflection staring back at me was a girl full of determination and passion for the day ahead. Ugliness was nowhere in sight.