How to learn to love the way you look

Do you ever wish that you looked like someone else? Most of us do at some point. We don’t want to give anyone an excuse to tease or single us out for any reason. But things change…

It’s all very well to say it doesn’t matter what you look like, that it’s who you are as a person that counts. But, in a world with extreme filters, social media pressure and unrealistic beauty expectations at every corner, that’s not much consolation when you’re feeling down about your appearance.

Fitting in

We all want to fit in and feel like part of a friendship group and often that involves adopting a certain look or aesthetic that has been deemed ‘acceptable’ to them. But the thing is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There was a time when people were teased about having freckles and now huge beauty brands sell special ‘freckle pens’ to achieve the same look!

You can be bullied for anything – whether you’re tall, short, blonde, red-haired, curvy, thin, short-sighted, quiet, a fan of cartoons, a science lover, good at maths or much more besides.

But what you may not realise now is that those things are the very attributes that will make you stand out and/or become successful when you’re older.

Unrealistic beauty standards

Remember that things change. In the 90s, fashion magazines suggested we should be tall and thin like the supermodels that were famous at the time.

Twenty years ago, there was a shift in beauty standards to include curvaceous figures and  recently, the focus has moved more towards an athletic, strong physique.

And it will probably change again. The best thing you can do is to look at yourself with kind eyes and learn how to make the best of the body you’re in right now.

How to improve your appearance

It’s true what Roald Dahl said when he wrote: “If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Having positive and good thoughts about yourself is the first step to feeling and looking better. You deserve to like yourself for who you are and that means building your self-confidence.

What is self-confidence?

Self-confidence means feeling good about yourself, believing in your abilities and believing in your worth and value as a person. People can struggle with self-confidence when they don’t feel they are good enough or they are going through tough times.

Try some of these tips to boost your self-confidence: 

  • Replace negative feelings about yourself with a positive belief in who you are and what you can do. 
     
  • Write down at least one good thing about yourself. It could be something like being trustworthy, having a good sense of humour or something you are good at in school or work.

  • Plan something positive every day, something that you can look forward to and that gives you a sense of achievement. It could be going for a walk, doing art or helping another person.

  • Talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Sometimes it helps to see ourselves through another person’s eyes.

  • Once you feel more confident, start playing around with how you dress or wear your hair. Take inspiration from Tiktok, Instagram or Youtube tutorials.

  • Remember that each person’s beauty shines in many different ways – yes, you might notice the way they look first but what will stay with you is how they make you feel.

If you want to talk more about this or any other topic, you can contact Childline any time (24 hours a day, every day) on 1800 666 666 or chat to us online on www.childline.ie via the orange Live Chat tab.