Feeling like a fraud when faced with compliments about my looks: How to Deal
August 30, 2012 11:22 AM Subscribe
How do I stop from feeling like I am a fraud (because I have a lot of flaws) when people tell me I'm physically beautiful? This insecurity in my looks/my reaction to compliments is affecting my life in a lot of ways. I'd appreciate any and all advice on how to deal with this!
posted by rhythm_queen to Human Relations (67 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I am a 20 year old girl living at home and attending university. On the surface, I seem super confident--I'm highly extroverted and friendly with everyone, I seem rather attractive and I'm easy to get along with. I answer lots of questions in all my classes and though I may come across scatterbrained, I think I also come across as pretty intelligent. I am usually (part of the) life of a party, dancing and talking and flirting with everyone ( though, I'll say that I'm usually hugely ashamed of myself the day after....). However, the surface lies. I've got really deep-rooted body image and other insecurities that refuse to be exterminated.
The crux of my issue is this : I feel like I'm fooling everyone with my supposed "beauty".
I get a lot of compliments from people who don't know me very well--usually along the lines that I am really beautiful and confident--and I feel like a big fraud. I am not beautiful, not when I am naked. I feel like when someone says I am beautiful, I have the urge to immediately tell them about my flaws--My biggest one being the stretch marks I carry on my hips and butt. I feel like I do this to tell them that I'm not beautiful, to assure them they are not correct, but I guess it leaves a sour taste in our mouths afterwards. I have stopped doing this, but I cannot stop thinking this--if I go out and I look good outwardly and some good looking guys check me out, I feel like wow! If only they could see my butt! No, seriously. It's weird. .. I sometimes am so overwhelmed by disgust by my flaws that it makes me anxious, depressed, and stressed out. (I also have rather large areolas. Those bother me, too. I've heard guys who badmouth big ones.)
It's kind of worse now, that I get mild breakouts. I never used to get any breakouts but as soon as I turned 19 I've been getting zits that leave marks. These marks take a few weeks/months to go away and so I've been using makeup to cover them. I feel like when someone compliments my skin, I always tell them about my acne problems and the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. I just HATE the feeling that I'm fooling them! The difference without the makeup is pretty stark.
I feel like if there was no makeup or clothing in society, I would be considered really ugly. I know it's a weird thing to think about, but shouldn't beauty be unaffected by the absence of cosmetics and the illusion provided by clothing? If so, aren't I fooling people? I get nervous thinking about a potential boyfriend who would be attracted to my looks, or tell me I'm beautiful. Sooner or later, he'd see that I am rather physically flawed, wouldn't he? How could I still be 'beautiful' after that? I KNOW this sounds so immature. But it's the conversation that goes on in my mind. It's really bad.
I hope this wasn't a total ramble. I'm really sorry if it was. It should be noted that I DON'T always feel this way--it's 50/50. A lot of the times, I feel decent about myself, I feel like I look really good, and I know I have a lot of people (family especially) who love me and care about me. I also am aware I have a ton of awesome potential. But when the insecurities come back, they hurt so badly--they make me lethargic, unmotivated, and ruin the discipline I've worked hard to build in various parts of my life.
Please give me any suggestions! I *do* see a counsellor at my school who is AMAZING!!!! but I'd like some advice that's more self-help than therapy. I want to work through this by myself! I want to be successful at overcoming this insecurity by myself.
Thanks so much! This is an amazing community and I'm grateful for any responses/suggestions you may have to offer.