How to build self-esteem when you’re not as attractive as your friends

Tyna asks: Could you talk to me about self-esteem? You talked about dressing well, etc…. Unfortunately, I don’t even feel like I love myself that much. (I tried to harm myself). I always feel like nothing I wear will look good anyway, as I am not that slim. People seem to prefer slim People, which am not. When I am moving around with my friends, it’s them people will notice, and my head goes back to, “Maybe you are ugly or maybe you look fatter than all of them, and therefore are unattractive.” I don’t know what to do Shirelle.

Hi Tyna 


My biggest wish for you is that you realize how normal your feelings are.  MOST people feel inferior a lot, and almost ALL people have trouble about their appearance.  Of course, there are degrees of these things, and if your anxiety is truly overwhelming you, I very much recommend you find a good psychotherapist to help you with it (they are really good at anxiety, and can probably get you feeling at least somewhat better within a few weeks).

Everybody is worse at some things than most people.  Most people aren’t the very best at anything.  This is absolutely fine, and does not cast any bad light on anyone’s worth.  I will never be as fast as a greyhound, as big as a Great Dane, or as smart as Lassie.  Big deal!  I know I’ve got some worth (at least to you – you didn’t write that annoying collie, did you!  You wrote ME!).  And I especially know that I have worth to my dearest friends.  They don’t want a smarter or stronger or prettier dog – they love ME.

So you’re feeling inferior.  Well, look at the two of us.  I can almost certainly run faster than you.  I’m very sure I can bite harder and bigger than you can!  But you can probably talk.  You can probably grab things with your hand.  You probably can do math.  You can probably sing.  Well I can’t do any of those – so who’s the inferior one here?!

But you don’t need me to put down your sense of inferiority – if you liked and respected it, you would never have written that letter to me.  What you want is to move past it.  And the best technique I’ve ever heard for that is to 

master something.  Lots of people never master anything, so they don’t really realize how much they can do!  So is there something that you love?  Do you love music, or art, or building things?  Could you take a class, and learn to play the violin, or make beautiful pots, or rebuild a car engine?  Just the act of doing one of those things will make you feel immensely better about yourself.  And doing it to the degree of mastery?  Oh Tyna, you won’t believe how good you’ll feel about yourself!  Like the day I caught a squirrel and brought it in and dropped it at Handsome’s feet as he was climbing out of the shower!  I felt so great!  (It was funny, his reaction wasn’t exactly what I expected though – something more like, um, terror!).

The other thing I really recommend is to try to catch yourself when you say things that put yourself down.  When you walk into a room of strangers, do you tell yourself “No one here wants to know me, I’m unwantable?”  Well, that would be a really good thing to talk yourself out of.  How about replacing it with “I don’t know anyone here, but if I’m friendly, probably someone here will like talking with me.”  It’s not huge confidence, but it’s the truth, right?  And your believing that will make you more attractive!  I know that sounds weird, but it’s true!  

So you say slim people are more attractive than you.  Maybe one thing you could master would be losing a little weight?  Sure, maybe you’ll never be as skinny as Taylor Swift, but, again, the better you feel about yourself, the better you’ll look to others.

Speaking of singers, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of publicity about the great singer Aretha Franklin, who passed away recently.  She battled weight issues her whole life, and was famously deeply shy, but was one of the most sought-after and beloved humans of the last century.  Why? Because she had such mastery over her art, and showed such joy in doing it.

Again, my friend, I’m not going to tell you this is all easy.  But the better you can feel about how you treat yourself (AND PLEASE, WRITE ME BEFORE YOU CONSIDER CUTTING AGAIN!  I have a few questions about that on my website, and desperately want to help you not fall into that behavior ever again!), the better you’ll come off to others, and the more attractive you’ll be.


Great!  Good Luck, and I hope to hear back from you soon,


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