Why are you confident about your looks and when did you become so?

(115 Posts)
Trashyearrings Sun 15-May-16 02:20:53

I've just name changed, and often post on threads but don't start them.

My question is:
**Why are you confident about your looks, and when did you become confident?

I am quite insecure about my looks and decided I was hideously ugly when I was bullied in school. I was very tall and skinny and had frizzy hair and glasses. My dm would make disparaging comments about my hair, she wanted a dd with "long blonde hair" and "chose the wrong father" (my dad is black). She would often dress me in men's (not boy's) clothing from age 13 as she said it was the only thing that would fit me lengthwise (i am 5'10 now, was prob 5'7 then?) She didn't do this to be mean and I very quickly started to buy my own clothes, but to her I was so tall and she didn't believe that women's clothes would fit me. To this day she will comment if she sees me in heels that I'll "tower over everyone". Dm and her siblings are 5' and under, so I know I must seem v, v tall to her. On df's side lots of women are my height and over.

I don't like my teeth (gappy), and am finding it hard to lose weight from my stomach after dcs. My tummy is fat, as are my thighs. When I was very slim (underweight) I thought that my bum and thighs were too small. Basically, I always find something to dislike.

I'm in my 30s now and have been trying to focus on the positives and have definitely got past the self-pitying stage that defined my 20s. I like my eyes, and I like my bum and breasts; and have spent years growing my hair (this is the first time in my life that I've worn my hair out). But I wouldn't say that I'm confident yet.

For those of you who are confident about your looks; why and when did you gain your confidence?

Is it just a state of mind? Is it compliments from others? Were you raised to be confident about your looks? Do you look like someone who is famously considered to be good looking? Were you sculpted by a surgeon to be his/her idea of goodlooking? Is it due to fitting that symmetry grid thing that apparently defines beauty? Is it because your significant other is beautiful and must have picked you for the same reason?

Caveat: I know that there are more important things in life than looks. I'm just curious.blush

i'm not confident about my looks, not at all.

I was bullied for various reasons when i was younger but being 'ugly' was one of them, i had crooked teeth, acne, glasses, auburn hair and i was very very short. I was repeatedly called fat and i really wasn't at all, i was just an average weight for my height

Ive grown up to be very insecure about my looks, there are some people close to me who make mean remarks about my looks, my weight, my dress sense so even now in my mid 30's, i feel like that bullied child.

it's funny because even though I am now the fat i used to be teased about being when i wasn't. i can objectively see that i'm not hideous, I just have no confidence in myself and that shows more than me having crooked teeth or wearing glasses.

I wish i had even a little confidence in me just not being totally hideous but i don't know if it will ever happen sad

retainertrainer Sun 15-May-16 05:51:44

It's absolutely a state of mind. I've always thought that I was attractive. I've always felt confident with my appearance-that I'm pretty and slim and dress well. It 100% comes from my mum and nana,they boosted my self esteem during my childhood at every opportunity.

Now that I'm an adult,looking back at photos of my youth-dear God I was a plain child! Slightly over weight,no sense of style,buck teeth. They really did a fantastic job in giving me high self esteem!

As an adult I make an effort with my appearance-I stay slim,I try and dress well,I've had my teeth fixed and even though I can now see myself objectively I feel good about myself even if I'm pretty average.

CakeCupSpotty Sun 15-May-16 06:24:33

My mum was the same. There was always "something" wrong with me as soon as I hit puberty. She'd tell me to stop eating so much food because it was making my breasts bigger but she never bought me a proper bra. I was made to wear clothes about 2/3 sizes up because I was so "fat", but I wasn't. My siblings chipped in too: I had eyes like a goat, I was hairy, my nose was long and I was disgusting with my spots.

The best thing happened when she died and then I've removed myself from my siblings and extended family and am nc. I am happy with my chubby tummy but I disguise it well with high waisted trousers. I only meet with people who make me confident about myself. If I even get a whiff of shitty behaviour I don't meet them again. Surround yourself with love and kindness. I'm not fully there yet; I still have issues with my face, but I guess it will come with time.

AgathaMystery Sun 15-May-16 07:43:30

I'm 2 stone overweight
I'd like a bit of Botox
Thighs are rather chunky

but

I look okay, i'm not like the back of a bus, I dress nicely. I look back at photos of wedding/holidays and don't cringe. Except for last year when I was 4 stone overweight. Now sorting that.

Most importantly I am the mother of a daughter. So I can't ever (& wont ever) discuss weight/appearance with her. Unless it's to say really nice things. We tell her she is clever and kind and lively and lovely and beautiful. All the things my parents told me.

I'm mid 30's, I'm a bit chubby. I'm a bit short, thighs a bit chunky, but it's totally okay. I am absolutely confident in that.

dudsville Sun 15-May-16 08:07:18

You've had a lot of challenges to knock your self perception, which sounds mostly lije the voices of your mother and the nasty kids at school. You would be helped by adjusting your perspective. When you find you are criticising yourself check whether this is really the voice of others first or your own opinion. When it's your own opinion make the criticism helpful. I.e. rather than "I look awful" something like "I didn't know this shape didn't suit me, god to know!" and adjust your wardrobe accordingly. You've identified the things you like best about your appearance. Develop those areas and remind yourself of them and find ways to enjoy them more. And personally, my thing is to not look in the mirror much. I get ready for the day in front of mirrors and then don't look again until I take my makeup of at the end of the day. This means I'm not randomly critiquing myself throughout the day.

FrustratedFrugal Sun 15-May-16 08:33:07

I started out the same way (skinny, awkward, tall, pale, flat-chested, with glasses) except for the hair (mine is very fine and limp). My mother is also very critical and unhappy with her looks. My body image changed in my mid-thirties when I got pregnant and had my children. I had always felt inadequate but somehow seeing how easy it was for my body to cope with pregnancy gave me a lot of confidence.

I know that there is still a lot objectively wrong with my looks but I like my body and feel good in it. I have resisted weight gain, I am tall enough so I can wear flats all the time, I've learned to do my hair, know what suits me, and wear eyeglasses frames that suit my face. I think that the confidence comes from within: I am pretty happy with my life and love my family and job. How I look is not important in my line of work, so I don't need to fight crow's feet. I feel liked and respected, and as a result, it is easier to be relaxed and playful. I find midlife really liberating, less pressure to conform and to look conventionally attractive. I feel free to be whoever I was intended to be.

Fastcargirl Sun 15-May-16 09:11:45

I'm getting there. Although I'm not sure if it's confidence or something else. Like so many of you I was criticised by my dm for my looks: you need to pull your hair forward, pull your hair forward, and actions to pull my hair forward. You look ok but you need to grown your hair longer, your make up looks ok but it would be better if you had a better fringe. And so forth. Relatives would tell me I was hefty, always criticism about my weight that would be relayed by them or through my dm back to me. I would get so anxious about visiting the relatives because of the criticism about my weight. I was always overlooked by men, always my friends were the first to be 'picked'. It left me incredibly insecure, I had relationships that were based on my appreciation of having the crumbs. Even now my dm will comment all the time 'look at her lovely hair, she looks lovely, she is really attractive etc'
Over the last 2 years my whole outlook has changed. I've dumped the friends who shamed me (one so called friend text me to tell me she heard a rumour I'd got fat again,): I've also distanced myself from anyone who doesn't show respect. I've got reasonably fit and I know I can be stronger. I have learned to reset the negative thoughts as they come in. Feeling positive had definitely helped me be more confident about the way i look.
The internet has helped. As a young person I was isolated, feeling I was the only one. With mumsnet and other places I know most experiences are shared by others. I'm not there yet, I still need to address some issues around spending and worries about photos and I have to work on not automatically assuming everyone's reaction to seeing me is 'god she is ugly, fat'.......but I'm getting there

allegretto Sun 15-May-16 09:14:32

I m 43 and still hate the way I look and try to avoid looking in mirrors. I know it is not right to be like that but the fact is I have had so many people telling me I'm ugly over the years that I can't get over it. Looking back at photos I think I used to look alright but looking in the mirror today, I still look a mess.

Savagebeauty Sun 15-May-16 09:20:24

I was a very awkward teenager....six feet tall, gangly, bookish......never had a boyfriend.
I reinvented myself at university away from my mother who is overheard saying " savage is very plain, she'll never marry"
Sadly I think I've always been grateful for any attention from men. My ex told me nearly every day I was overweight ( I was eleven stone) and I believed him
sad
But since divorcing him I feel gorgeous and "me". New partner adores me. I look radiant....friends tell me I'm a different woman.
And yes I'm 56, a few wrinkles but I know I look late 40s at the most. I look after myself, lots of "me" time and may not be classically beautiful but am attractive.

PacificDogwod Sun 15-May-16 09:22:56

I've never hated how I looked, but never thought I was some kind of beauty or style queen grin - I just don't care all that much, I think because growing up how any body looked was just not very important. My dad would happily wear the same clothes until they fell apart and has no sense of style whatsoever (he would agree - my mum sometimes had to stick holey jumpers in the bin without him noticing, otherwise he would rescue them again…) and my mum while nicely dressed hardly spent any money on herself and her shape and style are so very different from mine that we fairly early on agreed to disagree on questions of style.

I lost some weight in the last year and I feel the most confident now, probably better than ever before. I have just turned 50, I have 4 kids, the youngest is 6. I spent so long (15+ years) either TTC or recovering from MCs or being pregnant or looking after an infant/BFing (and working) that I simply kept on going and surviving rather than thinking too much about my looks.

OP, I think you are right to concentrate on the things you do like about yourself and celebrate/accentuate them, and don't dwell on the bits that are less ideal.

Re hair: I think we always hanker after what we have NOT got. My hair is dark blond/light brown caucasian wavy frizz mop. I always wanted really shiny black swishy Asian/Oriental hair grin - that was never going to happen!

junebirthdaygirl Sun 15-May-16 09:31:20

I have never worried much about my looks. My dm never commented on my looks good or bad. I'm only realising that reading some of those posts. It just wasn't part of our family to comment on looks. The emphasis was on learning so l worried more about test results. Tried to be a high achiever to please my dm. I think the single thing that helps me is wearing colours and styles that suit my body and colouring and l never try to follow fashion but stick to that. I dress simply as it's easier to carry off and l find l always admire simple outfits on others.

maggiethemagpie Sun 15-May-16 09:31:25

After losing four stone I am a lot more confident about my looks than I was before - even before I put on the weight in the first place. It's all relative. I'm not 'obviously fat' now so to me, because I look better than my fat days, I think I look ok.

Also I always had a thing about my eyebrows as they were overplucked and uneven due to a scar from an accident, but I've just had semi permanent ones done which look a whole lot better so I don't have to look in the mirror and think I have crooked eyebrows anymore.

I think true beauty does come from within but a bit of external beauty helps too!

Frostycake Sun 15-May-16 09:33:49

It sounds as if you had a difficult and unsupportive up-bringing OP. Just remember that your worth is not measured by how you look.

Im the same height as you and i battle to stay slim as i know its one of the key things to me looking good. I tend to just get bulky rather than curvy if i put on weight.

What i do is make the best of what ive got. if i can change something, i will (hair colour, tan, eyelash dye, etc) if not then i just make an effort to be groomed. I find grooming goes more towards how you look and feel than clothes.

Are you accomplished at anything? I find that helps so that your self-worth isnt all focussed on how you look. Having said that, I'd be tempted to tell your family that models are tall and they are society's accepted standard of beauty.

SfaOkaySuperFurryAnimals Sun 15-May-16 09:36:26

My confidence changed overnight when I finally found a job in good at, I'm only a deputy manager at a nursery but everyone thinking I'm amazing for the first time in nearly 40 years changed everything for me. This really is not a stealthboast, I have struggled with depression, anxiety, hypertension and bullying. Not giving a shit really helps, mindfulness is a wonderful resource. Also I don't do media crazed magazines, I eat healthy and have recently upped my exercise regime. I am a late developer, I'm 40 next year, I have 21 yr old and 9 yr old twins yet I am sorting out my separated stomach muscles and I am better now than at twenty. Still don't like photos of my face thoughsmile
All the things people say that hurt or things they do tell you that actually, they are ugly/fat/ lazy/stupid / weak or have issues. Finally, love yourself sounds Anal but its true, no one else can build on your greatness until you believe it yourself. Hope this isn't too long, sorry😞

Frostycake Sun 15-May-16 09:41:22

Oops! just seen you were 5'7" youre 5'10" now - Im not that tall but youre still model height - make the most of it and wear stuff the rest of us look daft in (maxi-dresses & tube dresses!) show your legs off in a short dress & flats and paint your toenails red. wear skinny white jeans etc. Can you find a celebrity who looks like you and immitate their style?

Yellowsun11 Sun 15-May-16 09:44:46

Can I say op I have have the vision of a tall slim woman when u describe yourself --not that I'm envious at all --it's emotional stuff from your past have you had councelling

Yellowsun11 Sun 15-May-16 09:46:12

Basically your mother told you weren't good enough by how she acted .thatvwas shit mine did the same .
You sound lovely by the way

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Sun 15-May-16 09:47:24

Ever since I turned 16 it so and lost the baby fat.
Saying I'm confident with my looks does not mean I think I'm beautiful. I'm not.
It means I'm attractive and I I know that.

Floisme Sun 15-May-16 11:44:13

I became more confident after hitting my mid 50s. My body and face were changing and I decided it was time to stop worrying and just make the best of what I had while I still had it. So I went back to the drawing board, re-appraised my looks and body shape and worked out what suited me all over again.

It meant being very objective about my appearance and identifying not just the things I didn't like - we can all do that - but also the things that looked good. I concluded that all things considered, I was in pretty good shape and although I'm realistic about my looks, I'm also much more confident about them now.

Judydreamsofhorses Sun 15-May-16 11:54:10

If you asked me if I was confident about the way I looked right now, I look a sight - unwashed hair, pyjamas, no makeup, glasses. Once I've had a shower and got dressed, I'll be a bit more so. I don't think I'm stunning or anything, but I scrub up okay. For me the key has been developing a strong sense of my own style, and also making the effort to always look "polished" even though I rarely look conventionally "smart" - so hair washed and styled every day, always red lipstick (but very little other makeup), nails done, wearing clothes that suit me etc. I'm 43.

Trashyearrings Sun 15-May-16 13:43:55

Hi all PPs, sorry I've not had a chance to read through all of these until now. Thank you every one for responding. It's really interesting to know what makes others confident. I also really feel for anyone who isn't yet confident. A common theme seems to be what dms have told us, and what we grew up hearing as to whether or not people have grown up to be confident, or whether they've had to learn to be confident as an adult. My aunt would always call my cousin "princess" and was quite vocal about her pride in her dd's looks, so I think I always thought that it was just my dm that was critical. But it clearly wasn't! I think it's hammered home the importance of helping dcs to grow up confident.

MsBojangles Sun 15-May-16 14:03:17

Like you, my mother made me feel 'less than', as did my stepfather and the bastard kids at my school...having a healthy self esteem was never going to possible with all of that.

In my 20s I blossomed a bit, my figure was good (I'd probably be called a butterface today) but confidence was still low so I defined myself by who I was dating - rich older men, 'cool' guys (drug dealers), the odd model/actor.

Ironically I feel better about myself since stopping dating at 40 and going pretty much NC with my family. I've learned over the years what my triggers are so it's easy to avoid people who will make me feel 'less than'.

mercifulTehlu Sun 15-May-16 14:18:37

I think that most teenagers are insecure about their looks - it's just a feature of being that age. If that natural insecurity is massively heightened by unsupportive or cruel remarks by others, it can become a much worse problem which is then hard to shake off even once you're an adult.

I think quite a lot of women become more confident about their looks a bit later in life, not because they necessarily look better but because they have learnt that looks aren't really that important, and that as long as you are clean and tidyish then that's ok. I lost quite a bit of weight, in my late thirties, which made me feel a bit better about myself, but I don't give a great deal if thought to my looks really.

Happydappy99 Sun 15-May-16 14:27:58

I became more confident after my divorce. I'm 38 now, have a few wrinkles and wobbly thighs but I don't care. I started ignoring fashion and rules and wearing things that make me happy (today's outfit is sparkly mermaid leggings, vest top and flip flops).

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