No matter what you look like, you will have “ugly days.” We all do – but we don’t have to let our ugly feelings make us sad! I wrote this article for Allayah; she’s a teen reader who commented on my post about a rare disease that causes severe skin problems and joint pain.
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“I’m 17 and I have KTS (a rare congenital malformation involving blood and lymph vessels and abnormal growth of soft and bone tissue),” says Allayah on How to Live With Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome (KTS). “I don’t have it has bad as a lot of people. I only have it on my right leg. It stays swollen all the time and hurts so much, and sometimes I have to take antibiotics. I’m struggling with it emotionally and mentally, because I’m in high school. People just stare or ask a lot of questions and I hate talking about it because I feel so ugly because of it. To me it’s not fair because everyone else has pretty legs, and I don’t. I hate living with that mindset. I like hearing your story (about living with Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome). It helps to know I’m not alone, but still I don’t know what to do or how to live with feeling ugly.”
Maybe you feel like an ugly person because of a physical abnormality or disease that involves your skin, limbs, or facial expression. Maybe you feel bad about yourself because you asked someone “Am I ugly?” and they said you’re not ugly but you are fat (that happened to me! I was 10, and back then I had no idea what to do about feeling ugly and sad).
Or maybe you constantly compare yourself to your beautiful sister or gorgeous girlfriend, and that makes you feel like an ugly person.
5 Ways to Stop Feeling Ugly and Sad
Here on SheBlossoms, I focus on the four most important parts of your self that help you reach upwards and inwards: Creative You, Healthy You, Connected You, and Daring You. Today, our focus is Healthy You.
1. Stop lying to yourself
The stories you tell yourself, such as “I am ugly” and “I don’t know what to do about how I feel” are lies. The truth is that you AREN’T ugly – you just feel like an ugly person because you look different. Maybe people stare at you, or even call you names. But no matter what others do or say or think, you have the power to change how ugly or beautiful you feel. How? By changing the story you tell yourself. Here’s what to do when you feel ugly inside and out: talk to yourself differently.
Psychologists, counselors, and social workers call this your “narrative.” When you ask yourself a question such as “Am I ugly?” and you tell yourself yes, then you are telling yourself a story. You are telling yourself the story of Ugly You. And the stories you tell yourself affect how you feel about yourself.
What story are you telling yourself about how you look? Are you sitting in your “I feel ugly” smelly brown mess, and how does that make you feel? Feel free to tell me in the comments section below! A big part of learning how to feel better about yourself is talking about how you feel and what you think.
2. Act like Mason the Wonder Dog
Here’s what to do when you feel ugly: remember Mason. Boy, do I love that dog! He’s an ugly little terrier Yorkie Bichon mix who is always hanging out at the dog park. And boy, does that dog love my husband!
The first time Mason saw Bruce, he ran up and hugged him. Literally! Mason wrapped his front legs around Bruce’s leg and pressed his chest against Bruce’s shin. Mason didn’t even look up at Bruce, he just hugged him with the side of his doggy face pressed against Bruce’s leg. And to this day, every time we go to the dog park and see Mason, he comes running to hug Bruce. And he doesn’t stop hugging Bruce until Bruce shakes his leg and sends him flying through the air like a circus dog.
Mason is an ugly dog. I call him the Wonder Dog because he has no idea how ugly he is! Mason is little and weak, lopsided and bowlegged. He has an overbite and knotty hair.
But Mason doesn’t care what he looks, smells, or sounds like. He isn’t searching for “what to do when I feel ugly” on the internet because he does not give a flying fig what people think of him. He’s desperate for love but he doesn’t care. People laugh at him but he doesn’t care. Mason isn’t telling himself the “I am ugly” story. The only story he has is “I need a hug!” And he gets what he needs.
“Happiness and confidence are the prettiest things you can wear,” says Taylor Swift. Mason agrees with her, and not just ’cause she’s pretty and talented and rich.
3. Start telling yourself a different story
Maybe people really are staring at you because you look different. Maybe you are overweight, maybe your appearance isn’t what we’d call “normal.” Maybe people who don’t even know you call you an ugly person – and maybe your friends and even your family members tell you that you’re one of the ugliest people they know.
You can’t do anything about how people treat you, talk to you, or even how long they stare at you. But you CAN change your narrative or tell yourself a different story when you feel ugly.
In Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, Rosie Molinary uses practical techniques and a 365-day action plan that can help you regain a healthy self-image. These tips on what to do when you feel ugly will increase your self-confidence, change your habits of self-criticism, and improve your emotional and physical well-being. Through accessible, doable daily actions, you’ll learn how to manifest a healthy outlook on life. You’ll Blossom by learning how to live large and learning what to do to stop those “ugly days” from overcoming your thoughts and feelings. You’ll learn how to love yourself.
4. Learn how to change your narrative
In How to Change Your Story, I describe how to heal from a breakup by changing your story. It’s not a difficult concept, but it does take practice! Essentially, you need to become aware of the stories you’re telling yourself. Then you simply need to tell yourself a different story.
For example, I grew up telling myself that I was ugly, fat, and no good. I’ll never forget what it felt like to be told I was a fat girl when I asked “Am I ugly?” But I don’t have to sit in that smell brown messy of believing what people say, guessing what people think about me, and feeling like an ugly person.
So here’s what you do when you feel like an ugly person: act like Mason the Wonder Dog. Run around like the gorgeous crazy enthusiastic fool you are, and ask people for what you need. Woof woof woof! Do you need a hug, a new best friend, a better relationship with your partner? Maybe you need a dog.
Learning how to change your story – and what to do on those ugly days – isn’t an overnight process. It takes time, and it takes discipline to change your thoughts so you don’t feel ugly and sad.
5. Accept your warty self in all its amazing greatness!
Do you know how amazing you are?
- Your heart beats a million times a minute
- Your blood flows faster than a speeding bullet
- Your brain’s neurons and synapses fire constantly and reliably
- Your soul told you to stop feeling ugly and start changing how you see yourself
- Your hands get what you tell them to get
- Your voice works when you open your mouth
- Your mouth chews when you put food in it
- Your stomach digests your food
- Your guts use what your stomach expels to give you energy to move, think, and dream
- Your feet take you from here to there
- Your skin keeps all your blood and guts and organs from spilling out all over the place
- Your eyelids blink so you can see
- Your imagination helps you create stuff nobody else could ever think of
- Your spirit connects you to God
How dare you disrespect yourself? You are AWESOME!
The good news is that you have the power to change that same old story of feeling ugly and sad. You CAN stop asking “am I ugly?” and you can start saying “Some days I feel ugly and sad, and other days I feel fit, strong, healthy, and BEAUTIFUL.” Today, I choose to act like Mason the Wonder Dog and be crazy enthusiastic in love with the world and all the people in it.
Accept yourself, warts and all. Surrender to your body, bad skin and fat belly. Be kind to yourself, and believe that God created you this way for a purpose. He loves you deeply – and that’s why He brought you right here right now.
He wants you to Blossom…and Blossoming starts with digging up those ugly thoughts and planting seeds of self-acceptance, love, and peace in your life.
What do you think of my tips for what to do when you feel ugly? Feel free to comment below – I can take the good, the bad, and the ugly.
“People often say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ The most liberating thing about beauty is realising that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.” – Salma Hayek.
“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” – Sophia Loren.