“I Hate The Way I Look” 11 Ways To Love Yourself Again (2024)

Are you someone who looks in the mirror and says: “I hate the way I look”?

This guide will suggest 11 ways to fix that problem and love yourself again.

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients to boost their self-esteem, as well as to make the positive steps that’ll bring more fulfillment into their lives.

That’s why I’m keen to share this guide with you. 

So, let’s dive in.   

Why Am I So Concerned With My Appearance?

Society is obsessed with beauty.

The media uses beauty and sex appeal to sell everything, from makeup and mascara to smoothies and supercars.

Honestly, it’s nearly impossible not to get sucked in.

Physical beauty plays a role in attracting a boyfriend or girlfriend. Your appearance creates a first impression that can help you make friends. It can help you in certain careers too. So, there are reasons to want to improve what you look like.

However, if you’re spending your whole life obsessing over your hair, your skin, your body etc, it’s probably because you’ve been trained to do this by the people you hang out with and the media you consume..

If you’re constantly:

  • spending time with superficial people;
  • consuming beauty-focused media;

…then it’s inevitable that you’ll surely develop an unhealthy obsession with your appearance. 

The problem is: beauty-obsessed people can never win. 

For ladies, there will always be someone with better eyes, boobs, lips or legs. For gentlemen, there will always be someone with bigger arms or more defined abs.

So, if you have an obsession with how you look, it’s likely to never end. More importantly, you’ll never be happy.

Even if you do find a sense of satisfaction, it’ll only be temporary. Your next ‘bad hair day‘,‘bad skin day’ or whatever else will be around the corner when you have this attitude towards beauty. 

Let’s also remember that Father Time comes for us all. None of us will be physically attractive forever.  

A better strategy for your mental health, then, is to learn how to start appreciating how you look right now. 

I Hate The Way I Look
Image by user18526052 on freepik.com

How Do I Stop Hating My Looks?

I’ve listed 11 strategies to help you below.

1. It’s Absolutely Possible To Improve Your Looks  

This is the first thing I have to mention.

Anyone can dramatically improve their appearance by working out and eating healthily for a sustained period of time. 

If you do, you’ll not only look better, but you’ll feel better and your confidence will naturally skyrocket. 

Oh, and you’ll probably live longer. 

Everyone should do this, regardless of how they feel about their appearance. If you don’t like your appearance – perhaps because you’re too fat, too skinny or for whatever other reason – you should absolutely find the willpower to improve your body this way.

If you take the steps to improve your grooming or fashion, you can often transform your appearance too, so consider consulting an expert about that.

Sure, there are some people who spend every day in the gym, buying makeup and fixing their hair who still feel ugly. 

We’ll get to the solutions for these people.

However, there are plenty of people reading this article who will only need the confidence boost from a more attractive body, or a fashion makeover.

2. Sometimes, All It Takes Is To Feel Better About Yourself  

There are plenty of models – people who are paid to be beautiful – who spend their whole lives feeling insecure about their looks.

Remember, there will always be someone better to compare yourself to. 

Thankfully, there are also tons of so-called ‘average Joes’ and ‘plain Janes’ who fully accept and appreciate their appearance.

You don’t need perfect cheekbones or a six-pack to feel beautiful. In fact, you can have these and still feel ugly. All that matters is your levels of self-love. For more on this, see my list of expert hacks to love yourself.

3. Give Yourself An RAS Flip 

When someone who feels ugly hears that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, they usually roll their eyes.

But, bear with me. 

I’m going to explain the science behind this popular catchphrase.

There is part of the human brain which chooses our selective focus called the Reticular Activation System (RAS). This chooses what stimuli we focus on and what we ignore. 

If I told you there was a gift for you attached to a blue car or a green fence in your neighborhood, your brain would start to notice more of these. That’s the RAS at work.   

Anyway, if we really like someone’s character or the way they make us feel, our RAS will lock onto their attractive features and ignore their physical flaws. They literally appear more attractive to us when we like them. 

Then, if they treat us like dirt and break our heart, our RAS will begin to focus on their flaws. This explains why people look at old photos of their exes and ask themselves “what was I thinking?!”. It’s called an “RAS flip”. 

But what does this mean for you?

Firstly, it means you will appear more attractive to people if you can learn how to make them adore your character.

This is why your mother actually believes you’re the most beautiful baby ever born into this world. She’s not just saying it. It’s also why your future spouse will believe the same as they stare into your eyes on your wedding day. 

More importantly though, it’s also possible to perform an RAS flip on your own self-image. 

A great practice for this is to look in the mirror, pick out certain body parts and tell yourself that you love them. Shout these affirmations with passion and gusto! Don’t hold back! Show no fear!  Make yourself believe how sexy you really are!

For more information about the power of this exercise, see my list of hypnotic affirmations for self-confidence.   

4. Go Out And Enjoy Your Hobbies. Love Your Life!

When people like you, they’re more likely to see you as physically attractive and want to date you. At the very least, they’re more likely to be kind and give you compliments.

That’s one of many reasons for you to create time to enjoy your favorite hobbies with other people. 

Perhaps you can join a social club and meet new friends who have these hobbies.

This is a great way to find a boyfriend or girlfriend who thinks you’re awesome. A loving relationship can certainly help cure your self-image problems. 

But it’s also a great way to add more joy into your life. 

When you’re happy about your life in general, you’ll spend less time worrying about being ugly. 

Happy people tend to be more attractive too! The stress and heaviness is removed from their face and body. They laugh more. They smile from cheek to cheek – and they just look better.

There’s a great book called ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ by Bessel A. Van Der Kolk, which can teach you more about how our body reflects how we’re feeling on the inside. 

If you suffer from social anxiety, see my guide about how a social coach can help you overcome these types of problems.

5. Cut Toxic Friends From Your Life

Your self-image is largely crafted by the social feedback you get as a child. The feedback you get from your parents and other family members is most important, but children tend to take on most of what they hear at school as fact too.

To grow up with healthy levels of self-esteem and self-compassion, children need to hear far more compliments than insults.  

The problem is: children don’t get much say about who they have to spend their time with at school or at home, nor do they tend to stand up for themselves when treated badly. If they’re unfortunate enough to be exposed to school bullies or (even worse) parents who say they’re ugly, they can grow up believing this as an adult.  

A key phrase that the stylist said to the child in this heartwarming/heartbreaking viral video is: “you should not know nothing about being ugly.”

That’s true. 

Now you’re an adult and you’re aware how deeply social feedback can shape your thoughts, it’s time to cut people from your life who don’t make you feel confident. If there’s a person at your job who you can’t avoid, pledge to not be affected by the way they’ve treated you. 

Make a pledge to only build relationships with friends or family members who make you feel amazing about yourself. 

This includes online ‘friends’ who post toxic content about beauty or physical appearance. There are several online communities such as ‘incels’, ‘femcels’ or ‘blackpill’, which will do no good for your mental health at all.

In fact, why not make it a habit to stop consuming any content that spreads hate or doesn’t fill you with confidence?

6. Be Wary Of Your Social Media Usage

Social media can be useful, so I’m not going to suggest you stop using it.

However, the truth is: most people use it in a way that is unproductive for their time and their self-image.

Are you following models on Instagram or TikTok just because they’re beautiful? If so, I want you to ask yourself: what are you getting out of it? Is it a net win or a loss for your life to follow this person? 

It has been reported that a lot of young adults are suffering from a self-esteem crisis, because they’re comparing themselves to the picture-perfect models they’re seeing on social media every day.

It’s easy to forget these images are digitally edited to make the subject look as sexy as possible. It’s literally their job to try and look perfect. It’s all they focus on.

Anyway the easiest way to stop comparing yourself to these social media models is to stop following them. In most cases, this only causes a net gain for your life.  

Related Content: Why Do People Post On Social Media?

7. Delete Your Online Dating Accounts

Let me talk to the guys on this one.

Several studies suggest it’s only the top 20% of attractive men who get any  attention from the women they want on dating apps. 

Meanwhile, average-looking and even slightly-above-average-looking guys are getting next to no matches.

That can be enough to make anyone stare at their reflection in the mirror and question themselves.

This mostly happens because women are overwhelmed with attention on dating apps. Men far outnumber women on most of them, and tend to be less picky when swiping on photos.

This abundance of attention inspires the fairer sex to be incredibly choosy for who they match and message with. 

Also, it has been proven that their decisions are almost entirely based on their first glance at a  man’s photos, so there’s no opportunities for guys to use their natural charm to create that ‘RAS flip’ mentioned earlier. 

The sad thing is: most guys continue to spend money on these dating apps that get them no notable action and ruin their self-esteem. There’s no need for it. 

An average-looking guy could use his winning personality to woo women in the real world, but instead he chooses to rely on an algorithm proven to be rigged against him. 

If you’ve not been getting the results you’re hoping for on dating apps, you’re better off deleting your account completely. If it hasn’t worked for you already, there’s no reason why your fortunes will change. 

Why choose to continue living in a virtual world which tells you aren’t good enough to date anyone?

Concentrate on the real world, where you can use your charm and charisma to find someone who likes you for you. 

If you’re a woman who is unsatisfied with the quality of attention you get on dating apps, you should do the same.

8. Learn To Be Present

If you’r someone who can’t enjoy their day-to-day life because you despise the way you look, I’d recommend you learn more about mindfulness.

When you’re present to the moment, you only have thoughts related to the activity you’re doing. There are no other toxic or unhelpful thoughts running through your head. 

That means you’re not going to stop having fun, because you’re suddenly conscious about your weight, your clothes, your makeup or whatever else. Your inner critic goes silent and you can focus on enjoying yourself!

Meditation is an amazing practice to become more present, but there are more. 

I have a list of proven ways to empty your mind, which will help you achieve this state of presence. This list is highly recommended if you suffer from anxiety or regularly find yourself stuck in your thoughts.  

9. I Hate The Way I Look In Pictures Or On Video

There are reasons why people don’t like how they look in photos, which have nothing to do with them being ugly.

For example, could it be that your photographer has no idea how to make you look good? Might it be that you have no idea how to pose for a photo?

Photography is an art form and that’s why the professionals are paid so well. Models aren’t just chosen because of what they look like, but also how they perform in front of a camera.

If you don’t like how you look in photos, the answer could be to pay for a photoshoot with a professional. A great one will be able to support you, show you how to look better in photos and take some flattering snaps of you. 

Why Do I Hate The Way I Look From The Side?

Another explanation of why people don’t like photos of themselves surrounds the mere-exposure effect. This essentially suggests that we’re more accepting of things we see frequently. It has been proven by many studies.

In photos, you may see yourself from the side or other angles you’re not usually exposed to – and it might just be this lack of exposure that makes you dislike it.    

10. Feeling Depressed About The Way You Look?

If your poor self-image is giving you symptoms of depression, it’s best to speak to a counsellor or therapist for support as soon as possible.

There’s nothing wrong with taking this step. These professionals are qualified to listen to whatever is troubling you have and to make you feeling better about yourself in no time. 

You don’t have to wait until you’re at your lowest point to do this. It’s best to tackle the symptoms of depression as soon as possible.

If people wait too long to speak about their body image issues for example, it could develop into Body Dysmorphic Disorder. And it’s a lot harder to treat BDD than it is to simply help people with their sad feelings about their body image. 

Therapy is a safer and more permanent solution to body dysmorphia or depression compared to plastic surgery, for example. The people who appear in the media after having become addicted to plastic surgery provide good proof of that.

These plastic surgery addicts fail to realize that there will always be someone better to compare yourself to. Learning to feel comfortable in your own skin is the solution. 

11. How Do I Accept My Appearance?

There’s a popular acronym in the men’s self-help community called WINS.

  • Work Out 
  • Image
  • Nutrition
  • Shut The Hell Up 

This acronym encourages men to improve the stuff that can be improved, and to stop complaining about everything else. That’s great advice for both genders

Self-improvement coaches who use WINS will usually point out that your personality is something else you can improve to be more attractive. That’s more true than any person tends to realize too. 

When you’re happy with your day-to-day life and the person you’ve become, it becomes so much easier to accept your appearance. Once you do that, you’ll often notice that more people begin to find you attractive anyway. It’s an upward spiral of awesomeness which begins with you accepting the things you can’t change. 

Related Content: I Hate My Life – Effective Ways a Life Coach Intervenes

Any Questions?

Thanks for reading my guide. I hope it changes the person you decide to see when you look in the mirror.

It appears that most people feel unhappy with their appearance at some point, but hopefully you now know how to deal with it

You deserve happiness and it’s much easier to find when you embrace the person you are right now. 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to keep talking about this topic with you.  

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.