Do I have self-image issues?

Dear Counsellor,
I am an insecure 17-year-old trapped in an adult’s body. I don’t want to draw attention to my flaws, because they’re there and I can see them and if by some meagre miracle others do not notice, I want it to stay that way. However, whilst I want all the people in my life to not notice my flaws, at the same time, I want them to see my flaws and tell me they’re not flaws and that I’m beautiful and perfect. I want people to reassure my insecurities. Does this make sense? I think I have real issues but I’m not strong enough to face them and this is weighing me down. Is this just a phase? Will I eventually get over it?

Dear Kami,

Self-esteem simply means appreciating yourself for who you are, including your strength and weaknesses. Only you can control your happiness. This is because if you let people decide how happy you should be, you will give away control of yourself to people that are not responsible for your happiness, and you’ll get hurt in the long run. Whether your flaws are physical or behavioural, the feeling of not being good enough usually comes when you give it room to undermine the value of your noticeable positive attributes that define your character. So, the more positive self-thought you have, the better your overall self-esteem will be.  Remember, your overall self-esteem comes from a variety of more specific domains other than flaws alone. You are uniquely created and you need to rise up and discover yourself. If you think that your flaws make you look less interesting or unattractive, there are many things that you can do to improve your self-image, such as challenging negative thoughts, building your confidence
and focusing on the underlying potential that makes your personality shine.  Set for yourself the things you really want to do with your life, and work towards them, plus, learn not to pick your spots, as this may encourage scarring. Relaxation techniques may help you break the habit. Recognise your accomplishments as you achieve them and work to attain even more. The more you achieve your goals the more you build your self-esteem.

Depending on people to reassure your insecurities is like giving the wheel of your car to a reckless driver while you’re in the car. Remember, many successful people in the world today have a long list of flaws but they’ve chosen to ignore people’s criticism and utilise their true potential. Focus on keeping your body healthy by eating nutritious food and staying hydrated.  Also, surround yourself with positive people who don’t criticise or judge you because it can negatively affect you. Choose your friends wisely, and pay attention to the compliments they pay you. In fact, good friends will help you work towards your career and fitness goals, which will help you feel more confident.  This will keep you away from falling into a pit of despair and you’ll be more constructive. By practicing the above strategies, you can learn to hold yourself to higher standards and live a much healthier and happier life.

Your feedback

You’ll grow out of it is just a phase in life. It’s normal to sometimes feel insecure. Try some relaxation methods like meditation, or even sports and prayer. It will make you feel better.

Christina Ngabonziza, saloonist

Change your attitude

It’s not healthy to live like this. I believe you need to dump this attitude and work on your self-image. This feeling you have does not necessarily reflect who you actually are. Build yourself.

Sharon Macyeyukuru, Mother
You need guidance

It may be a phase because of your age; however, you need to seek help to find out what is going on with you. I recommend that you talk to a counsellor or at least someone close to you, maybe your parents.

Christian Harerimana, Tax driver

Talk to a therapist

Maybe your body is changing fast, that’s what happens during adolescence.  I think you need to seek help from a therapist to figure out what to do.

Cyprien Sibomana, Kigali resident

Share your experience with peers

I think it’s natural to go through this because teens face different phases during that stage. You should discuss your issue with friends. Their own experience could help you understand what is happening and they could also help you handle it.

Herondine Uwajeneza, Businesswoman

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