Here is my response to a sweet reader out there who had contacted me anonymously. As I cannot email you back, I wanted to make sure you got this note from me! Sending you love!
I enjoy reading your blog posts and I always look forward to them. So keep up the great work! What I wanted to talk about is about myself, and since your blogs and thoughts are always so inspiring, I wanted some advice from you. First, I’m insecure about my looks as I’m always worried about what others think. I know that what others think doesn’t matter but I just can’t help it. I see all these gorgeous ladies on social media and I’m constantly comparing myself to them, which again I know I shouldn’t do. Along with this, I have social anxiety. Whenever I’m around a group of people I get very anxious and being a college student, whenever I have to do presentations my nerves just go berserk! Overall, my self image of myself is poor and with having social anxiety, it doesn’t help much either. Are there any tricks you would recommend for when I do presentations and any helpful advice for having a better self-image? Thanks in advance and continue the great work! ❤
First off, thank you so much for contacting me and being so open to share. I know it’s scary to confide in a stranger, so thank you for trusting me. 🙂 And thank you for the kind words as well. Will you be okay if I make this note to you a little lengthy? I just want to make sure I could be an ear, and that you’ve been heard. 🙂
Being insecure on your looks is normal, I promise. And I can promise you that all those gorgeous ladies are just as insecure too. Sometimes social media is dangerous like that. We only show the good parts of us, the good angles, the filtered and touched up photos. When you find yourself stuck on a photo of someone you can’t help but compare yourself with, remember, she is not showing you the many takes it took to get that one shot, she is not showing you the flaws she edited because she does not like them, and perhaps, she posted this photo because it’s the one that actually helps her love herself, because she too is usually insecure. Remember, you are just looking at their highlight reel. A highlight reel I am sure you have, and one that another girl may be looking at and comparing herself to too. Size 2 models in the industry are not skinny enough for the media, ballet dancers develop eating disorders everyday; for every girl who is insecure, is another girl comparing themselves to them wishing they had what she had. It’s a cycle dear. We have to be strong enough to love ourselves. Because she is beautiful, that other girl is beautiful, your friend is beautiful, your cousin is beautiful, but no one can be beautiful like you. Be beautiful like you please 🙂 People will love you for it. And you will too.
I am not saying this because it’s easy, I say it because I understand. My current face actually isn’t my natural face. That’s not to say I got it altered because I didn’t feel beautiful. I had to do it for medical reasons. At age 7, the dentist said I would have to undergo a lot of dental work because I had both an underbite and an overbite, and it could worsen over time to the point where I would have difficulty eating. And it sure did. I went through 11 years of dental work, and suffered a lot of headaches from my upper and lower jaw not aligning. I had a lot of difficulty speaking for long periods of time, and as I was highly active in high school clubs and organizations in leadership positions, that’s what I had to do. Not only was it uncomfortable, I was highly insecure. I’d been called a “pan-face” because when you have a protruding jaw, your face is quite elongated and flat. My relatives never stopped pointing it out, and how I should get it fixed. I never felt beautiful as my friends were the pretty girls. They looked perfect. At 19, I had to undergo jaw surgery to correct my jaw and prevent it from worsening. This was terrifying, because you aren’t promised a certain face when you wake up. Due to the extremity of the surgery, I couldn’t dare look at my face for weeks. I looked like a monster from all the swelling and scars. It wasn’t until three months later that I started to accept my face. I felt horrible because I never loved my face before, and even now with a new face, I didn’t feel like I could love it either. So where is the happy ending right?
Well, my biggest lesson throughout that was, that the same people loved me regardless before and after. 🙂 I thought I was going to lose people because I’d have a new face. But in fact, they loved me just the same. I realized that my face could change, but what’s inside me is what matters. More than a pretty or not pretty face, people loved me for my heart. They loved me for the things I stand for, the way I love, the care I give, the memories we’ve made. They loved me for all these things unrelated to my face.
So through my healing time and even processing time after that, (because if you can imagine, you’ve lived with the same face for nearly two decades and now you have to get used to a new one), I stopped paying so much attention to my face, and started paying attention to my heart, my mind, my soul–my persona. Also mainly because, when you get a new face, you actually do not have a mental construction of your face anymore. You can’t remember the old one and you’re not used to the new one. I think this was a blessing in disguise. Because it taught me to be me, without my physical appearance defining Me. I feel more beautiful now, not because of my new face, but because I love who I am.
Focus on the things that make you feel beautiful. The passions that bring you alive. The things that your face automatically lights up when you talk about. Have you ever seen someone talk about their passion? That’s when they’re most beautiful. I think respect is more long-lasting than attention. Be beautiful in a way that inspires others–yourself, fight for the things you believe in, do the things you love, be you darling. Because nothing is more beautiful than someone who is so accepting of themselves. That’s how rare it is. That we’d even find it beautiful. Next, surround yourself with people who like themselves. It has helped me a whole lot in my healing too. They are just so sure of their worth and specialness, that it is contagious! It makes you want to love yourself too 🙂 And then, as I will stress again: do the things that make you feel beautiful! Dress the way that makes you feel on top of the world! Do make up in the way that makes you strut down the street! And if you like your face without makeup, then do that too! Makeup has helped me love my natural features too. It’s not a bad thing if used healthily. If you are not happy with your body, do not punish it. Thank it! Because it is the one thing that fights for and with you everyday. Feed it well and treat it well. Exercise is not a punishment, and nor is it to just make you skinny. It’s to keep our bodies healthy and moving for a long time!
And please, surround yourself with people who love you. Learn how to see yourself from their lens. Sometimes it’s hard to see our own beauty. Be kind to yourself. Think of someone you admire or love when you have negative thoughts about yourself, and ask yourself if you would say those bad things to them. Be your own best friend and have your own back too.
Social anxiety is tough. I still have insecurities in front of people, large or small. But in my public speaking class in college, my professor said something that helped a little. She said, “don’t be nervous. Because just like you are so nervous and rehearsing things in your head and wondering about all the what-ifs, instead of paying attention to the presenters, guess what? Everybody else is too. So don’t be nervous. Because most likely, they’re not paying attention because they’re as nervous as you.” That works sometimes 🙂 And if not, I’ve met people quieter than me or more nervous than me. And I remember the happy and proud feeling everyone in class felt when that person shared their thoughts and ideas. People want to hear you more than you know. You have a knowledge and story that no one else knows, share that. It is important. And you never know, what your courage might do for someone else.
I mean look at us. Courage had to happen somewhere, for you to find me. 🙂
Did this help? I really hope it could do a little something. Please pat yourself on that back for every little milestone, even if it’s very small. You may feel insecure, but I know deep down, you do care and love yourself too. Or else you wouldn’t have reached out. I know you will be all that you dream. You already are. 😉
Thank you again for letting me be apart of your story.
Please don’t hesitate to write. ❤
With Love & Warm Hugs,
Self-Love & Healing 20 somethings Advice Confidence Healing Insecurities Life Self-Love Social Anxiety