Q. I am not the best of lookers, and I am well aware of this. Most of my relationships have not lasted very long, and the primary reason for this has been my looks. My friends always make fun of me, and I am usually the butt of jokes at parties and get-togethers. I am tired of this attitude towards me, but it always comes back to haunt me no matter what I do. Could you please give me some guidance?
Ans: Dear ugly duckling, what if I told you that your ‘ugliness’ is a perception and not a fact or reality. People are responding to it because you are projecting it as a core belief about yourself into the world. You are making negative predictions about how people are going to see you.
This makes you feel anxious about it, and you end up behaving in a way that will make people say something. Please don’t see this as an attack or me blaming you. It is just a nudge that there is a lot you can do about it, and no, I don’t mean plastic surgery! We can blame the beauty industry and media in general for promoting certain beauty standards. Which remember, change from culture to culture. We can also blame our parents and society for commenting on how we look instead of how we are as humans during our formative years.
But that is not going to help you right now. As clichéd and unrelated as it might sound, you need to start working on your low self-esteem and self-worth. It will take time and professional help, but it will make a huge difference in how you see yourself and your perceptions of overall aesthetics. Think how many people who would be considered as not conventionally attractive are out there in the world convinced that they are. Maybe their mothers kept telling them that they were the most beautiful/handsome children in the neighbourhood and kept encouraging them.
Their perceptions of how they look have made them confident, and people around them don’t even notice their external appearance. Remember that the external world is just a reflection of the internal. And that your self-worth cannot be based on how you look. Make your inner self beautiful, and you will turn into a beautiful swan.
The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on email@example.com)
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