Wish I Could Be A Normal Teen

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,

 

I don't know what to do anymore! I'm 14 years old and I'm a big fake. I have an ugly face, but people don't know that cause make-up really helps me. I have no breast, but people don't know this cause I stuff in my bra, I've tried many things to get rid of my belly fat, but people don't know this cause I suck in real good, I have a big butt, but it looks very ugly when I look at it. I have very ugly legs, but people don't know this cause I use a spray that makes me look as if I have stockings on, so I make them think that they’re perfect legs. No one knows this about me but me. I feel bad because people really think that I'm pretty and some girls envy me. I wish I could be pretty but I'm not. I'm afraid to be myself cause then I'm not going to be noticed by anyone. I cry because I'm a big fake and I don't know what to do. Oh! And I didn't tell you the rest of my body problems, but you get the idea. I wish I could be a normal happy and pretty teenage girl, but I'm not. What should I do?

Signed: Wish I Could Be A Normal Teen

Dear Wish I Could Be A Normal Teen,

 

TeenHealthFX thinks that the thing that is getting in the way of your being happy is not how you actually look, but how you are feeling about how you look. From your email it is clear that you have a strong tendency to be hard on yourself and overly critical about your looks – and it is very hard for anybody to feel happy when they put so much time and energy into beating themselves up! There is a saying that sometimes we are our own worst enemies – and FX has the feeling that these girls who "envy" you probably have a more realistic view about your appearance than you do.

 

FX suggests that you think about where you get your tendency to be so self-critical. Are there people in your life such as friends or family members who have been critical towards you or put you down? This is important to consider because people who have grown up feeling criticized very often end up being very critical towards themselves. FX also wonders about whether or not you get caught up in comparing yourself to how models and celebrities are portrayed in the media. Studies have shown that because the media portrays such an unattainable image of how women are “supposed” to look, it can lead to emotional health issues in young women, such as depression and low self-esteem.

 

Once you have a sense of what may contribute to your tendency to be so hard on yourself, it would be helpful to do the following:

  • Let anyone who is critical towards you or puts you down know that it hurts your feelings when they do this. Stand up for yourself and do not tolerate people being overly harsh and critical about your looks.
  • Try not to surround yourself with lots of catalogs and magazines with images of models if you find you end up comparing yourself to these women in a negative way. And remind yourself that most of these photos have been altered through technology, portraying unrealistic expectations of how women should look.
  • Try to become more aware of the times when you are putting yourself down. When you do notice that you are being self-critical, stop yourself and find something to compliment yourself about. To feel happier it will be important to change your pattern of thinking to looking more at your positive qualities and characteristics rather than focusing on the negatives or making the negatives out to be worse than they really are. Changing negative habits - including our patterns of thinking - can be hard work, but it can also make a big difference about how we are feeling.
  • If with time you continue to have trouble feeling more positively about yourself, FX recommends speaking with a counselor or therapist to work on developing a more positive sense of self with the help of a trained professional. As FX stated above, this can be hard work and sometimes is more easily accomplished with the support and guidance of a professional.

 

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area.

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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