"Do you have any advice on how to deal with low self-esteem? I’m really self conscious about some of my facial features- how do I move on from this? I know of a lot of people who have unique features, but they’re confident and love themselves, and because of this and their personalities I consider them to be beautiful."
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Gabifresh as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
First off, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. Having low self-esteem is tough, and can be detrimental when it starts affecting other areas of your life. The good news is that you are self-aware enough to realize it’s a problem and that you recognize looks aren’t everything. You hit the nail on the head when you said that confidence makes a huge difference in how people view you, so working on how you view yourself is what’s important—not whatever feature is currently bothering you. I have a couple pieces of advice.
1) One thing I always tell people is to make sure you’re choosing your media consciously. You’re reading Everyone is Gay, so you’re doing a good job already incorporating positive media into your life, but be careful of any TV/magazines you may be into that have judgmental undertones about celeb’s looks (reality TV/tabloids are probably the worst). I get that it’s hard—almost all pop culture references celeb’s looks in some way, and some of it we can’t avoid, but making a concerted effort to limit your intake and replace it with cool blogs or web series can truly have a positive and concrete effect on how you see yourself.
2) Try to cut out the negative self-talk. When you catch yourself saying or thinking something not so nice about yourself, force yourself to stop mid-sentence, and change it into something you like. For example, “I hate my crooked teeth” could turn into “I like my green eyes.” I know it sounds kind of cheesy and self-helpy, but it actually works over time!
3) What are your passions? What do you want to do in life? Focusing on your talent and skills is a great way to realize that you’re more than just your looks, and getting better at whatever it is that you want to do is a really satisfying feeling. Also, think about your life idols and what you admire in them. For example, I’ve been sort of freaking out about aging lately, and I make myself remember how much I admire women like Meryl Streep and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They’ve aged so gracefully because they’re strong, smart ladies with immense talent who are valued in their field. Their looks almost never come up because they are so well-respected for their other qualities. This helps remind me to focus on what I want to accomplish and be known for instead of the lines under my eyes or whatever.
If you’ve tried these things for a while and aren’t seeing improvement, I definitely suggest talking to a therapist. There are lots who specialize in body image/self-esteem. Good luck, friend!