If you are not feeling your best, you can try practicing body positivity, and learn about the light effect.

view from the back of woman adjusting hair bun in the mirror
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Conventional wisdom suggests that physical attractiveness tends to pave a smoother passage through life. This injustice can easily wear away at self-confidence and self-worth if you categorize yourself as one of the “un-beautiful.”

These seven strategies can help you address your feelings of unhappiness with your appearance.

“The media’s standards of beauty are usually achieved through hours of hair and makeup artists and well-tailored clothing.”

Images of celebrities, models, and social media stars can be closer to fiction than reality.

It’s easy to get caught up in drawing comparisons of yourself with these images. Remember, though, that without the benefit of filters or hours of preparation, many people you see don’t always look the way they appear in photos.

Society conditions people to judge the worth of someone by their appearance. This knowledge might help explain why people worldwide spend so much money on beauty products.

But consider, for just a moment, who this attractiveness serves. You only see yourself when you happen to glance into a mirror, so it certainly doesn’t serve you. It serves the surrounding people.

Here’s the thing, though: Your body belongs to you, and you alone. It doesn’t need to please anyone else.

In a society where people value what you look like, you might start to fixate on what you consider to be flaws.

When you feel lonely or find yourself unable to fit in, you could end up placing the blame on your appearance.

Maybe you worry about that.

  • Your facial features affect your work and school popularity.
  • the size and shape of your body leads people to treat you differently
  • “You aren’t attractive enough to find a partner that will love you.”

Some people, unfortunately, make quick judgments based on appearance. It’s entirely understandable to feel hurt and resentful when others dismiss or outright ignore you. This rejection can cause lasting pain and leave you doubting your worth, especially when it seems to happen consistently.

If you see yourself as unattractive, you might want to pursue beauty to get the social acceptance that comes with being attractive.

It is natural to seek acceptance and attraction. Physical appearance can be a factor in attraction, but other things are equally important.

“Not everyone will judge you based on your appearance. People won’t consider your appearance at all. They may care more about other nonphysical qualities.”

Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) involves a preoccupation with parts of your body you consider ugly. You might spend a lot of time examining and trying to repair these “flaws,” feeling stressed about them, or going to extreme lengths to hide them.

BDD symptoms include:

  • low self-esteem.
  • Mirrors are frequently checked.
  • Social anxieties.
  • Skin picking is a compulsive behavior.

BDD is relatively common. In the United States, BDD affects around 1 in 50 people. It is most common for a person to develop this disorder during adolescence.

Mental health concerns can affect your sense of self-esteem and how you perceive yourself.

  • Depression: Depression can involve a dip in self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. Living with depression can also make self-care difficult, which can, in turn, affect how you feel about yourself.
  • Eating disorders: Poor body image can also factor into eating disorders. If you live with an eating disorder, you might believe other aspects of your appearance, in addition to body size or weight, make you ugly.
  • Gender dysphoria: Gender dysphoria, or your awareness of a mismatch between your gender and the sex a doctor assigns you at birth, can also involve a self-perception of ugliness. Feeling forced to conform to gender expectations that don’t represent your true self can leave you with a lingering sense of wrongness, as if you don’t belong in your body.

A therapist can offer more insight into potential underlying causes and guidance on helpful next steps.

  • You find it hard to escape the feelings of ugliness.
  • You have a fixation on certain parts of your body.
  • Feelings of unattractiveness or worthlessness can have a negative effect on your life.

Our guide can help you find a therapist.

Humans are flawed, and every last one of them has a few.

Yet, thanks to a phenomenon called “the spotlight effect,” we tend to believe other people notice our physical imperfections, awkward moments, and public mishaps much more frequently than they actually do.

Your personal experiences and perceptions shape your daily life. You’re the main character, the starring player in your reality, so you tend to focus on what matters most to you. That’s OK. But keep in mind: Everyone else in the world operates in much the same way.

Being under a spotlight can make you feel like you are being watched just as much as anyone else.

You might feel cast down by an unflattering work uniform, bad hair day, or an awful break.

“It can help to remember that most of the people you meet probably aren’t paying much attention. Even when you are aware of the way you look, they are more focused on themselves than on you.”

You might feel more self-conscious about your appearance when you dislike yourself.

Rather, feelings of self-hatred make it difficult to practice self-care routines that leave you feeling good about yourself.

People will pick up on unhappiness and discontent more readily if you have doubts about your worth.

“If you don’t accept yourself with kindness and compassion, this confidence won’t take root.”

You can cultivate self-compassion.

“Self-love can offer benefits, but it can be hard to get started. You might feel like you’re not good enough.”

What is body positivity?

“Body positivity is the idea that every body is beautiful. It can be difficult to swallow when you don’t feel attractive.”

Struggling with body positivity may leave you feeling down and affirmations of self-love might not have much effect if you don’t really believe them.

Body neutrality offers a more realistic mindset.

In a nutshell, body neutrality represents a change in topic. You can’t always change your body or other aspects of your appearance: eye shape, cellulite, bald spots, acne, and rosacea.

You might not feel like these things are attractive, but they are not going to stop you from using your body in other ways.

Body neutrality helps you learn to appreciate what your body can do, not how it looks. It emphasizes one key fact: You don’t have to love your body or physical features to find fulfillment and joy.

Instead, you can simply accept those characteristics as they are and move on.

Our guide can help you make the shift.

It’s not uncommon to feel ugly when you just don’t like some aspect of your appearance. Maybe you know you’d like to update your wardrobe or change your hairstyle, but you have no idea how to get started.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a new look, and the internet has made it easy to try out changes inexpensively. Even if you lack a highly tuned fashion sense or flair for hair and skin care, a quick Google search will lead you to countless free tutorials where you can explore possible changes without consulting a stylist.

Simple changes that reflect your natural features can help you feel better about yourself and promote body neutrality.

You could, for example.

  • Choose clothing that feels good on your body.
  • Find a hairstyle that suits your face type.
  • experiment with skin care and beauty products to find ones that work well for your skin type

Body modifications, like piercings and tattoos, can inspire self-confidence and self-acceptance.

“It never hurts to make changes you really want to make, not changing your appearance to fit someone else’s standards.”

“The idea of being ugly is a false idea. The way you look doesn’t define you. Romantic attraction depends on more than appearance.”

“One key truth is that your body doesn’t have to look a certain way for you to experience love, pleasure, and joy.”


Crystal Raypole worked as an editor for GoodTherapy. Her interests include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. She is committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.