DEAR AIDAN: Growing to Love Myself?

Dear Aidan!

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I feel so ugly so often! Is there anything you can do to help me with my confidence level? I find myself feeling really unattractive and feel down about the way I look. I am trying to lose weight and take better care of myself but everytime I see myself in the mirror I just feel so unattractive any way to help me feel better? I am also quite resentful at the fact that I have to live up to the standards of beauty, I hate that I am expected to look good. Why can’t I be appreciated for me.

Dear Beauty Queen,

Okay. First of all you are doing “that thing” a lot of people do that holds them back from what they really want. You expressed in the first sentence that you want to feel more attractive and more confident… then a few sentences later you are angry about having to be prettier which are thoughts that are actively working AGAINST ONE ANOTHER!! 

If you want to be more confident and beautiful, you can’t be resentful at people who prefer confident and beautiful people, or worse yet resentful at people who are confident and beautiful! You get me? Your goal is to BE MORE CONFIDENT AND BEAUTIFUL. So stop working against yourself.

I know you are like, “well that all sounds great, Aidan, but HOW THE HECK DO I DO THAT?” 

AFFIRMATIONS. But most people are not using affirmations properly. Truly. When you feel like UGLY then you say to yourself over and over, “IM BEAUTIFUL, IM BEAUTIFUL,” you are doing nothing but annoying yourself until you have a mental breakdown. Then you’ll start thinking you are ugly AND annoying. So don’t do affirmations this way.

The correct way to do affirmations is this: You work up the thought ladder with the next most positive thought that you can BELIEVE in your state of emotion. I am going to use myself as an example. I struggle with the way I look sometimes and this is what I do:

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(Looks in the mirror feels bad)

“I am Ugly” (what’s the next thought that you can think that you can actually believe)

“I am not the ugliest person in the world” (okay good now what)

“I am not SO ugly”… (okay now you start to look for aspects of you that you MIGHT BE OKAY WITH) “I guess I have nice hair,” “Several people have told me I have nice hair” … “My hair is silky”… “My hair is attractive” … “I like my bangs”… “My bangs cover up my UGLY FACE” (XXX this is a WORSE feeling; though, it’s okay you took a wrong turn. Just get back on track). “My eyes are brown”… “I do like my eyelashes”… “They are long”… “People pay a lot of money for these kinds of eye lashes”… “My teeth are white”…”I guess I do have a lot of things that make me attractive”… “I am also tall” … “I enjoy my tallness”… “I guess I am okay looking” … “I am imperfect, but I have good qualities too” … “No one is perfect” … “I am not any less perfect that anyone really if you think about it” … “Some people think im attractive” … “I think im okay” …  “I clean up nice” … “I’ve had moments where I thought I was beautiful” … “I guess I’m not so bad.” 

On and on and on… You are using affirmations to climb the ladder of thought. Because a slightly more positive thought will trigger a slightly more positive emotion, which will trigger a slightly more positive thought, which will… you get the idea. Give it a shot. It works. But you gotta catch yourself if you find yourself expressing a thought that brings you lower instead of higher. It’s an active process not to be done on autopilot. Do this everyday for five minutes for a month and watch your life change. 

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