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I Feel Unattractive But People Tell Me Otherwise

I’ve been looking and i can’t seem to find a question like this, but i don’t know why i consider myself as “unattractive.” I’m a 15 y/o boy in high school and I always feel like i look so hideous, but people keep trying to tell me that I’m not. Sometimes I tend to get angry, because I feel that these people are just trying to be nice or generous. As a straight forward person, I like to be honest and expect the same from my peers. I try to avoid photos and videos, and when I talk to people, I feel as if they’re disgusted having to look at me. I think that this is a very negative thing, as people get angry at me because they think that I’m seeking attention, but I’m not. I just want the truth from people, but my thoughts of myself being undesirable can’t cope with some of these people’s opinions. Sometimes my flaws are so easy to see, and people still tell me that I look fine. Truthfully, I hate it, and if these people are lying I want them to stop. And if they’re telling the truth, I want my thoughts to stop telling me that I look ugly. It’s a disadvantage for me, for my love life and for my social life. (age 15, from US)

A: Fifteen is a tough age. It is natural to be very self-conscious at this age, but it sounds like you are more critical of yourself and your physical appearance than I would consider being healthy. We all have flaws and we all have parts of our body that we wish we could change, but it is not healthy to focus on them. Also, I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This basically means that we can all differ on what we find attractive. When your friends tell you that they like how you look, I’m sure they are speaking from their own perception — so to them, it is the truth. You are being disrespectful of their opinion to argue with them.

I would normally say that you will most likely grow out of this phase and learn to appreciate your good qualities, but I fear your negative feelings are too strong to work through on your own. I would suggest that you seek counseling on the issue because body image problems can lead to bigger, more serious psychological problems if not corrected. Please speak to your parents, your school counselor or your doctor to help you find a therapist or a therapy group. In the meantime, “get out of your head” and enjoy this very important part of your life!

All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts

from Ask the Therapist


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