Why am I so insecure?

Dear Counsellor,

I don’t consider myself to be beautiful but I’ve been told many times that with the right clothes and a bit of makeup I look very pretty. I do get men leering at me a bit which makes me feel a bit shy, and the ones that come after me aren’t interested in me as a person. As a result, I’ve never had any sort of serious relationship and this gets me down. 

To make matters worse, there is also a lot of animosity from other women around me, even my friends and family. Everywhere I go, there’s always someone who tries to make my life miserable.  At one point I was told I could be a model but I was ‘supposed’ to lose weight and this led to an eating disorder. I became dangerously thin that for a while, I thought I might not be able to have children.  Often times I encounter stunningly beautiful women and I wonder what life is like for them. As a young woman, how can I shake the feeling that being good-looking is the primary thing that males will acknowledge and praise my existence for?

Claire

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Dear Claire,
 
Nothing is more important than how you feel and think about yourself; you are a unique individual with attributes that many people admire. Also, feeling attractive goes beyond physical looks. It actually cuts across a wide range of other important aspects, including mental ability, social skills, emotional stability, psychological welfare and life achievements. The only problem is that sometimes, how we feel about ourselves isn’t in line with how awesome we actually are. If you’re feeling bad about yourself, you might need a shift in perspective. This feeling usually comes when you give it room to undermine the value of your noticeable positive attributes that define your unique character. There are little things you can do that can instantly increase your own sense of attractiveness. 
 
First, you must concentrate on building your own self esteem. Self-esteem simply means appreciating yourself for who you are including your strength and weaknesses. Remember your overall self-esteem comes from a variety of more specific domains other than appearance alone. Make your self-esteem dependent on your inner, not outer qualities. Recognise your accomplishments as you achieve them and strive to achieve even more. The more you achieve your goals the more you build your self-esteem. 
 
Don’t self-destruct. A study from the National Institutes of Health found that people who dwelled on negative aspects about themselves actually had a higher risk of self-doubt and may have a lower-rate of self-satisfaction. If you find yourself making negative statements about yourself, you need to pay close attention to why. These types of statements can make you feel worse about yourself and take a toll on your self-image. Focus on what you like about yourself, individuality, relationships, and perspective on the world. These constant qualities are often more changeable than facial or body features. Yes, it’s true that changing your self-esteem takes time, trial-and-error, but can often reach the highest peak of excellence once you learn to acknowledge more about yourself. You are uniquely created so you need to rise up and discover yourself. This can be done through taking risks and trying things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Focus on keeping your body healthy and well balanced by doing physical exercises and eating nutritious food to boost your brain-body connection, and drink lots of water to keep hydrated. Do not try to force yourself to look like a fashion model.
 
Don’t think about painting yourself with colours so as to have males pick interest in you, because men who are looking for a wife don’t have beauty as a priority. Just package yourself well and a potential partner will go for that. If there are people who are constantly putting you down, being rude to you, or are just bad influences in your life, do your best to cut these people out of your life, or spend less time with them.
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Your feedback

Learn to love yourself
Start by loving yourself just the way you are because being insecure about your looks complicates everything. You shouldn’t mind what other people say, I believe the right person who will truly love you will come your way one day.

Flavia Kabando, Parent
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Looks are not a priority
Men who truly want a serious relationship don’t dwell on looks only. There is a lot that they look for in a woman, also, I believe we are created in God’s image and no one is ugly.

Rene Ndutiye, Businessman
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You need psychological help
I think you have a serious problem that needs to be examined by a health practitioner. There could be a hidden problem that makes you have these horrible thoughts; I suggest you seek psychological help first.

Claudine Mutoni, University student
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Don’t let people put you down
Surround yourself with people who appreciate everything about you. Bad company can make things worse and you can end up hating yourself, which can lead to serious health problems.

Silva Muganda, Health practitioner
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Control your own happiness
Do not rely on others to feel worthy; this should come from you. People will always have something to say and listening to them will make your life miserable. Try seeking help from an expert on how to start loving yourself.

Patricia Kayitesi, Visual artist

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