Ask the Therapist: Help! I don't feel beautiful
Celebrate who you are, inside-out, as you continue to grow as a person
I am a 15-year-old girl. I feel I’m not very beautiful. My eyebrows are big and I’m not as thin as other girls. I try to make up for it by excelling in academics, but, secretly, I wish I was beautiful. — Name withheld
When you tell me you are unhappy with your eyebrows and weight when you compare yourself to other girls, I think you might be able to predict what I am about to say: Please, no comparisons to other girls or images you see on social media or other places. You are a unique individual in your appearance, values and thinking. I would encourage you to love and celebrate who you are, inside-out, as you continue to grow as a person.
At 15, you have transitioned from being a girl to a teen, and the next step will be young adulthood. During each phase of your life, you have changed and new things become important. Now you are more aware of your appearance, and you are noticing your eyebrows and weight. Many women shape their eyebrows and consider it no different than getting a haircut. Maybe you could talk to your mother about this for advice and possibly visit a salon.
As far as weight is concerned, I would encourage you to find out what a healthy weight range is for your age and height. Then make an effort to stay in this range. There is far too much social pressure today that emphasises on being slim, sometimes to the detriment of what is healthy for you. Your doctor should be able to help determine the weight range that is most appropriate for you. If you find that you are above your healthy weight, increase exercise and cut out unhealthy foods. I suggest you make this a lifelong habit to be as healthy as you can be throughout your life.
I am very happy to hear that you are excelling in your academic work, because this is the best investment you can make in yourself. It will set the stage for you to go forward and get a university degree. You will acquire good knowledge and analytical and critical thinking skills that are so important in our modern world. I hope you will continue to go above and beyond in your academics and not just see it as a way for compensating for something you are unhappy about!
(Dr Annette is integrated psychotherapist at CHMC, Dubai. Got a query? Email us on email@example.com)