Many who struggle with feeling unattractive are actually not. Unrealistic beauty standards and pressure to look a certain way have created a wave of unhappiness and low self-esteem in society. A new focus on physical health and inner beauty instead of outer beauty is necessary to cope with feeling unattractive and to increase happiness and fulfillment in life.
Take the Focus Off Outer Beauty
In their blog, "Beauty Redefined," Lexie and Lindsay Kite, Ph.D., write about the pressure to look beautiful in today's society, when you should really be focusing on what your body can do physically. Instead of stressing over hair and makeup, train for a half-marathon or eat healthily; then, appreciate how good you feel. Proper exercise and nutrition often give you glowing skin and luscious hair. An added bonus is that endorphins or hormones increase when you exercise, which increase feelings of happiness.
Challenge Faulty Thinking
Negative thinking patterns, some that originate from criticism in childhood, can have a detrimental impact on how you see yourself. You can have "all or nothing" thinking, in which you think that just because you are not a "10" in the attractiveness scale, you are a "0." "Mental filter" thinking causes you to focus on the negative instead of the positive every time you look in the mirror. Or you can practice "disqualifying the positive" thinking, in which you discount compliments from others. If you are practicing any of these thought patterns, gently remind yourself that nobody is perfect; everyone has positive characteristics in your appearance. Learn to accept compliments graciously.
Every person and culture has a different standard of beauty. Dermatologist and NYU professor, Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff, illustrates this point by saying that ideal skin color varies among different cultures. In the U.S., tan skin is often desirable, but in Japan, pale skin is most attractive. Secondly, the media portrays "picture-perfect" models who have been Photoshopped and have thousands of dollars of plastic surgery and many applications of beauty products. Don't take these models seriously. Lastly, know that many people feel self-conscious. Even beautiful movie stars and models find flaws in their appearance and dwell on them.
Choosing to be happy, confident and secure instead of miserably dwelling on your flaws is an important step in accepting your looks. Sherri Theoharidis, Ph.D., recommends garnering acceptance by giving yourself positive affirmations, such as, "your skin is glowing today!" every day. Keep a journal and write what you love about yourself each night. Ask your loved ones what your best physical qualities are and accent those qualities. Remember: A confident person gains many points in the attractiveness scale just for being confident.
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