How can I increase confidence and stop feeling so shy and unacceptable-looking in social situations?

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I can’t believe I’m having the problems I’m having now, at the age of 21 and a half, because I’ve always been very appreciative of my body, very unvain and uninterested in beauty, and a strong believer of everyone’s innate natural beauty which comes from within. I’ve also been strongly against the media’s patriarchal, heteronormative standards of female beauty, and always been proud of my love of learning, my kindness, my love of running and dancing, rather than looks. However, I’m starting to feel like my beauty is worthless, and that I don’t fit in anywhere, and it’s become hard to ignore.

Looking back, I used to have a slim face, small waist, big bum, and very muscly legs and arms when I was 17/18. However, lately I can barely bear to look in the mirror. Some days, I don’t go out or miss social events because I’m too shy and feel like I don’t look acceptable. I try to give myself confidence by wearing nice outfits and starting to wear makeup in the day, but this only gives temporary relief because then I realise I don’t want people to start noticing me and looking at me too closely either. I don’t have the flawless skin or womanly body of my mum and my friends, and my hair is neither a nice fluffy afro like theirs, nor long and sleek like someone with euro hair; I don’t even have corkscrew curls, it’s just dry, midlength and puffy.
I’ve got a round, chubby face, pale oily skin, I look tired all the time (because I sleep badly and also have been ill a lot), my stomach is bigger, I have literally no boobs, barely any eyelashes, and I just feel I lack any kind of natural beauty. My confidence has gone down a lot, because all the people I was friends with during my crazy, amazing whirlwind first year at university I know longer know; I’ve lost so many friendships in general, partly because I start to get bored or indifferent to people, or discover they aren’t nice, but others…I think it’s me, and now I’m becoming crippled by fear; I find it so hard to talk to people, or to get the courage to call friends, and even family. I just don’t believe how anyone could be interested in my life and what I have to say anymore.

People tell me all the time that I have a nice figure, or they like my hair, but I don’t believe them, or else I say it’s down to drink or a trick of the light or my makeup. People say they want my body, but the media trains people to think skinny equals hot. In reality, no one wants to be skinny, unfit and boyish, people want to have nice healthy bodies with a womanly shape and big boobs! My boyfriend tells me not to worry about how I look, but he is biased, he has to say that, and he is also very shortsighted and rarely wears his glasses…lol. I don’t know, I just feel I’m hard to get to know cuz I’m shy, and now I feel I look shit too, so I don’t know what I have to give. My old, very close friends of course give me comfort, but I don’t know how I will ever progress in life or meet new people if I feel like this. I’ve started day dreaming about boob jobs and hair extensions, or making myself feel better by wearing less and going out clubbing more…I know this kinda thinking needs to stop. I just want to be carefree about my body again, and throw on whatever without having to worry and spend 2 hours getting ready every day.

I’m confident in my intelligence and ability to write well, etc – I’m doing a masters degree next year. I also think I’m quite an honest and genuine person. But on the other hand, this thing about my looks has come out of the blue and made me feel so bad about myself, and constantly paranoid that my hair looks crap or my makeup is running or I smell or my clothes are too tight…I’m sick of it! I feel so dumb even writing this, I know I should snap out of it but I can’t! Sorry for the clichéd essay. Hope u can help.

Category: Tags: asked June 24, 2014

4 Answers

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accepted
I guess I might have just the right answer for you. First I would like to tell you about my life, my entire childhood was quite lonely as I was an introvert, fat, ugly and had low self esteem, the kind of guy people kick around. I carried the same attitude to college and it was killing me within. No one liked me and I hated myself to the core, talked to no one about my problem. Then one fine day I realized to lock my self up in my room and figure out What I want from life and what I think about myself. It took me months and months to see and realize that all my problems arise from the basic issue of not believing in myself and giving up even before I started due to fear. I decided to do the following things:1) Stay fit coz It made me happy. (Lost 25 kgs in 8 months)2) Respect who I am, I am a beautiful person inside but never respected that coz always gave preference to what people thought about me.3) Telling people about how awesome I am , talking to them about my ideologies and beliefs, ( we introverts think a lot, why not show it to others)4) Genuinely talk to others without expecting anything out of the conversation or friendship. Its totally worth it you will feel good inside and the people will start to like you.Here is the 21 year old me , college representative for Mozilla Firefox, also involved in community sevice and was featured in a national news paper for my project work and also the heartthrob at college. Thats what it is just believe in yourself and you will be fine. If you have any questions and want to bring about a change and become the real you just ping me I am always there for those who need me :) Cheers! Smile and enjoy life!! If you have any further questions I am right
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I've been dealing with a similar situation almost all my life. I was adopted when I was little. The people who adopted me are amazing and there is a racial difference which effected ne growing up, because I never thought I was pretty because I was white with weirdly straight but frizzy hair and a straight body with no curves, but my mom is black with an amazing figure and keeps her hair done in perfect curls. So I grew up seeing that as beautiful and what I am as not at all. So feeling like you don't "fit" and not feeling pretty is my specuLty. The truth I'd there's no fix, if there was I would have been slot happier growing up. But u learn to deal with it. For me my boyfriend helps me through it (I guess my taste in beauty continued into men, he's mixed black and white but has like the perfect bronzy skin) but he just makes it clear that he thinks I'm beautiful. And is there when I am not even close to pretty, like when I first wake up. He's always there for me and he makes me feel loved and important. He makes the misfit toy feeling to go away. My advice is to just find a place or people who are your safe place and use it or them as a "base" go there to reboot and get ready
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I felt the same way, too. since I started college everything, friends, confidence and along my looks just slowly went downhill. I´m 20 now. In my teens i was so pretty but since college i gained weight and felt like no matter how pretty you are it doesnt mean that you will meet nice people. Also being pretty wont last forever. Recently I´m trying to get back up. I think if you are not contented with your outer appeareance things can be easily changed. Maybe if you invest a little time daily just for yourself it will get better. Try to think about the things you find pretty about you. There just has to be something. As the saying goes "there are no ugly women , only lazy ones" Feel free to message me anytime :)
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Keep your head high, straight posture is also a must. Remember the other people are people too who also feel awkward and shy. So its pretty normal to feel all of this. Try stepping out of the comfort zone, will help alot with boasting confidence.