'I Feel Ugly' — 4 Strategies To Help You Know How To Stop Feeling Ugly

Do you feel ugly? Here's how to see your beauty.

woman looking in the mirror getty images

The raw reality of the meaning of "appearance" to people can be tremendous.

Feeling ugly comes from thoughts and emotions, and has little bearing on the reality of how beautiful the person really is. Your beauty comes in many forms, a few of which are your physical appearance.

Find yourself thinking, "I feel ugly'? You might want to know how to stop feeling ugly, but feel powerless to stop that voice in your head from barraging you.

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Many people call themselves ugly — even hideous — more times than you would believe. When these designations are uttered toward the only body or face you have, they carry a huge amount of pain.

Both women and men feel immense pain.

This negative belief affects women and men and can be debilitating to both genders and their mental health.

If you're calling yourself ugly, you're hurting yourself and those around you. Witnessing your torment can be painful to those who love you and want you to know how beautiful they think you are.

But how can you stop the voice that calls you unattractive or unsightly without becoming undone by pressure and pain?


An interesting thing to note is that no matter which place of the aesthetic spectrum people place themselves, there are at least fleeting moments when you don't feel so grabbed by your perceived "ugliness."

When examining the moments of ugliness, some of the issues that you face might be:

1. The focus of your attention

2. Repeating a negative message

3. Obsessively checking or avoiding mirrors

4. Seeking self-esteem from other people

It is possible to break the nasty pattern of destroying your self-esteem by convincing yourself that you're ugly. First, you need to know what triggers drive you to seek out negative patterns in your perceptions of yourself.


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Here are the 4 issues that might make you feel ugly and how you can stop them.

1. Focusing on your flaws. 

You might zoom your attention in on your flaws. This means that as long as you're looking at the flaws in yourself, you can't feel better.

Only when you allow your awareness to go somewhere other than "the problem" can you begin to improve and stop feeling bad.

Do not focus your attention on your flaws. It's a difficult task. As Dr. Joe Dispensa says, "Where you put your attention is where your energy goes."

Instead, try baby steps. Accept yourself as you are. Try being grateful for your body by appreciating little things, like the fact that your body gets you from place to place, or allows you to sing, dance, and smile.


Only once you accept yourself can you begin to notice the things about you that are truly beautiful.

2. Repeating a negative message.

In general, many people get stuck in some area of their body — or their entire body — when they call themselves ugly. And when you become trapped in this cycle, there's a repeated message automatically coming to your mind.

The message's origin varies; it could have started with an offhand or meanspirited remark from a friend, boyfriend, the culture, a family member, or even someone you barely know.

Remember that the messages you hear about who is beautiful and what looks are lovely are biased, distorted, or false. These views only consider a small group of individuals as beautiful.


Try changing up the message you're telling yourself when you feel ugly. Instead of saying, "You're disgusting!" try being gentle and thanking yourself when those negative messages pop up.

3. You are obsessed with mirrors. 

When feeling unsightly, some seek the help of a mirror to check or fix flaws. For some, this urge to check can become excessive. For others, the urge to avoid mirrors at all costs can become obsessive.

You might feel as if mirrors are cursed! Whatever you do with mirrors, the intention should not be to suffer.

Try looking with soft eyes when you confront yourself in the mirror. Treat the image you see as you would a good friend.


Don't cut yourself up into little pieces. You are a whole person.

4. You rely on validation from others.

Many measure their self-esteem by assessing their beauty by other people's standards. This strategy is very unhelpful because the evaluation of your appearance depends on moods and thoughts in particular situations.

The image in the mirror is not the place to search for self-esteem, especially because you feel vulnerable about it. At least for the time being, look for your worthiness somewhere else.


Remind yourself of the qualities you offer outside of physical beauty.

You might have children that adore you or a partner you can make laugh at the drop of a hat. Your friends may believe your beauty lies in your sharp wit, or in the way your whole face lights up when you smile.

No matter who you are, only a small slice of your self-esteem should be derived from looks.

There are many other ways in which you enrich the world with beauty. When you begin to look for these instead of telling yourself how ugly you think you are, that's when you're going to start being able to appreciate all the loveliness you have to offer.

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Iréné Celcer is a psychotherapist and author working with eating issues, body concerns, and divergent bodies in Georgia, Florida, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information on how she can help you, visit her website.