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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Esteem issues

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Author Topic: Esteem issues
Hatsworth
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My girlfriend is apparently extremely attractive to everyone, as she tells me about (and I see when I'm with her) random stares she gets when she just walks in the mall or hallways at school, or community centres etc. Then there's also guys who ask her out and hit on her and such. I've learned that I do and must trust her, and she dislikes all the attention anyways. She shoots down all the guys right away so..

But I have 2 questions, she's been pushed down by other girls and mom as well throughout her life, and when I got together I tell her multiple times that obviously she's very attractive contrary to what she thinks of herself, cause of all the people that she sees staring at her and the unwanted attention she gets of course. Am I right in doing that? in trying to make her accept it?

And secondly, I trust her and try not to be bothered by all attention to her, and sometimes it's laughable. But sometimes it's truly frustrating she denies her attractiveness, which also makes me feel really unattractive with no attention ever. What can I do about feeling so alone cause of her? because she's very friendly, knows lots of people, compared to me who is opposite, not completely but with obvious difference.

Posts: 47 | From: Canada | Registered: Oct 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
copper86
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Hi, Hatsworth!

I can certainly empathize with you. Having a very attractive partner, while making us feel good about them and ourselves, can sometimes cause us some worry too, since others find them attractive as well.

It sounds like your girlfriend is very modest; and it also sounds like she is trustworthy. Do you think there is a certain reason why she does not believe she is as attractive as you and others think? Do you think that might have to do with self-esteem? Sometimes, people value the opinions and views of people closer to them rather than strangers; so perhaps your validation of her attractiveness means more to her than others', which could also be why she briushes it off when others stare at her.

I also empathize with you over your own feelings. Sometimes, if no one - not even strangers - validate us about anything, from our appearance to our personality traits, we can feel pretty low. I think social validation is something our society empasizes; but I think how we think others view us is often linked to how we view ourselves. How do you see yourself physically? And, if you have a girlfriend who seems to care about you and enjoy spending time with you, I'm sure she values you for all the physical- and personality-based traits you have. [Smile]

Also, I want to add that sometimes, girls can feel threatened by othr girls who they perceive to be attractive - in general or moreso than themselves - so rivalry and "pushing others down" can occur. Let her know that she is loved and valued and attractive, just as you have been doing. [Smile]

I hope you are feeling better! Take care!

[ 07-15-2012, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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MusicNerd
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Hey there, Hatsworth! I'm sorry to hear that your girlfriend doesn't have a lot of confidence when it comes to her beauty. I know how your girlfriend feels and it’s definitely no fun to be in that space. I will never forget what my one teacher told me, “You can get a bunch of great compliments, but that one insult is the one that stands out.” I can see why it would be frustrating to see her not be comfortable with herself and her beauty, but maybe my story can help you understand where she’s coming from.

I was bullied at my elementary school, mainly by other girls, and they made fun of my love of books and good grades and they called me fat. True, I was a little bit chubby, but I hadn’t had my growth spurt at that time so my height hadn’t caught up with my weight yet. They also didn’t like the fact that different boys in my class liked me instead of them. They made me feel ugly and weird and downright horrible about my physical appearance (though now I own the word “weird” like I own the word “nerd” [Smile] ). Even though several boys had crushes on me, I still thought I was unattractive and I absolutely hated everything about the way I looked. At my middle school I was also bullied by some people, but I made friends at my new school so I felt better than I did at my elementary school.

Like your girlfriend, years later, this bullying from those girls contributed to me being uncomfortable whenever strangers would stare at me. I figured it had to be my height since I’m tall for a woman, or it had to be my weight since I still felt fat even though I’ve thinned out, or it had to be for some reason other than what my mom was telling me: “they think you’re attractive”. Sometimes random people would even come up to my mom and tell her they thought I was attractive, but I still didn’t feel that way about myself at the time. Throughout my low self-esteem period, my parents would compliment me and support me; they also taught me that there’s more to a person than beauty and they had me place a great importance on academics. I also focused on playing the violin since it's something that I love to do and when I became good at it, it gave me more confidence. I still love to play. [Smile] Now, after years of my awkward phases and the support and kind words and compliments of my parents and others, I finally started to change my thinking and embrace who I was. I thought, Perhaps I’m not ugly, perhaps I’m pretty. Perhaps I’m not weird, but really who on this planet is “normal”? If I am weird, it’s ‘cause I’m different… So you know what, sure I’m weird. I used to be afraid that if I embraced my looks then I would be arrogant (and I absolutely have no patience for arrogant people), when in reality that would just make me confident. I realized that it’s not as if I think I’m the most beautiful person on the planet and everyone should bow down to me or something ridiculous like that, because then that would make me arrogant.

I’m so sorry that your girlfriend not only has endured the jealousy of these girls, but negative treatment from her mother, too. My heart goes out to her. It’s not easy to shake off insults when people have picked on you your whole life for something out of your control, such as being beautiful. I’m sure it especially isn’t easy when those insults are coming from someone you think you can trust, like your mother. I think you’re doing a great thing in complimenting her and reminding her that she’s beautiful! Pointing out other wonderful things about her helps, too. [Smile] Time and support (from you and others who care about her) are going to help her come around and embrace her beauty. Does she have friends or any other relatives who make her feel good about herself? Does she have hobbies or interests that make her feel confident about herself?

I’m sorry that you’re feeling lonely and unattractive right now, but how she feels about herself has nothing to do with how attractive or awesome she thinks you are. I’d like to understand more why you feel unattractive and lonely as a result of her lack of self-confidence. Does she withdraw from you emotionally or not want to hang out with you when she feels down on herself? Is that where your current feelings of loneliness and unattractiveness are coming from?

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

Posts: 301 | From: a galaxy far, far away... | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hatsworth
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copper, thanks for all the support. I think basically the reason she never thinks highly of herself is because of crap that people threw at her before I got close with her. Such as in the beginning of highschool and elementary, people bully her and made her feel unattractive, and most often from what I remember, these are the 'attractive' and popular ones, so I inferred some sort of jealousy there.

And regarding myself, I used to have really low self esteem, thinking I was extremely ugly and picking every little thing I had about me I didnt like. Now I think I'm more realistic, I think I'm maybe average, possibly a little below but not too horrible. I can see myself not being greatly handsome or hideous. I've asked her and she says that I'm average basically (now good looking of course because love does that to people [Smile] )

And Musicnerd, it's not any act of hers or really anything she does that makes me feel unattractive or lonely, but rather it's in seeing 'the other side'. I mean like seeing people flock over her, ogling her in public, her complaining me about all the people hitting on her, it really makes me then think about myself. Like why I don't have people checking me out and such, and coming to the obvious conclusion of just not being that attractive to everyone. The loneliness is similar, because she's extremely friendly to everyone, her guy friends introduce her to other guys as well (I have my suspicions on that but it really doesn't matter on the whole) and she just knows so many people. She recently told me in summer school she knew random people in the halls, familiar faces everywhere for her and friendly too! All the while I was in a different school and seeing just people I've met here and there, no over friendly faces anywhere. Then also everyone texts her, even my close friends start conversations with her, and never to me I had realized.

Thanks for the insight on everything from you two, really helps in understanding [Smile]

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MusicNerd
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You know, beauty is relative to whatever culture you live in. For example, in Mauritania, plump women are considered gorgeous while thin women are not so much. So while over here in the US I'm considered "pretty", over there I'd be considered "ugly". In parts of New Zealand, having tons of tattoos all over one's body is considered a sign of beauty for a woman, while over here it wouldn't be. In some parts of the world, having fairer skin is beautiful while in other parts having darker skin is beautiful. I could go on and on about other beauty traits in various cultures, but my post would be way too long and I think you get my point. [Smile] I also think that beauty is relative to individual people's perceptions (which might be influenced by culture), too. So, while one person might say you're "average" another person might find you "handsome". Sometimes I'll express to my friends how I think a certain man's hot (I tend not to talk with them about which women I think are hot) and my friends will shrug their shoulders and go "meh" about him, you know? I don't think it's possible for absolutely every single person out there in the world to think that just one person is beautiful. Sometimes people think a person's too thin, too fat, too tall, too short, too curvy, not curvy enough, too muscled, not muscled enough, too unconventional-looking, too plain-looking, whatever. No one can encompass all the diverse standards and opinions of beauty that are out there. [Smile]

As for seeing "the other side", sometimes it's not all it's cracked up to be. Really. For me personally, I think it can be flattering sometimes to see other people check you out or compliment you, but other times it's no fun to be hit on by some creepy old men or for some women to hate you because they have their own insecurities to work out. You know, I used to have trouble making friends. I used to be painfully, and I mean painfully, shy. I'm still an introvert, but I've been able to make friends more easily than I could when I was younger and I didn't realize until recently why that is: I wasn't comfortable in my own skin back then. I know some people who aren't considered the conventional standard of "beauty" in this culture, but since they radiate such confidence and such ease with themselves, people flock to them. I swear, they really do. I think that's the real key at times; while some people flock to others solely over their looks, people can also sense when you're chill or confident with yourself and they want to be around you more when that does happen. [Smile]

As for your girlfriend's experience in summer school, it seems to me from your post that she already knew people there, so that's probably why they were really friendly to her. And as for the texting thing, my friends don't initiate texts with me most of the time, but that doesn't mean they don't still like to hang around me. I start text conversations with them a lot of times, so maybe you could start doing that with some of your friends, too.

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Hatsworth
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Well first off, I personally believe that although beauty really is subjective, at the same time, there are things that make some people attractive to a lot of people and some things that just aren't that attractive. Like a general trait that would make someone attractive to a larger amount of people, though not necessarily everyone or even the majority. Because my girlfriend is checked out by essentially everyone (many different people, even age-wise)from what I can understand.

Also about having people around you, I'm very sure you're right about confidence being attractive, but my girlfriend honestly isn't that confident, so I'm guessing she either seems like it or is just plain attractive? And for myself, I think I'm quite more comfortable now than before, but I notice not anything has changed, no one really goes up to me.

For the summer school thing, yeah she knew tons of people there already, but strangers kept trying to know her, hit on her and such, and also all her guy friends were trying to introduce her to other guys too, not so much the girls though. As for texting, yeah I guess I realized it's not that they don't like being around me, but if they liked talking to me, why wouldn't they just start if they wanted it? I started conversations a lot recently by the way.

And as a side note, if I'm kinda alone, not being very attractive or friendly or anything, just average I guess, should I be content? Should one be content not talking a whole lot with people, generally being alone?

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Heather
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Hatsworth: I think what MusicNerd was making clear is that all of this still tends to be very cultural and community-based, and there really is no "majority" when it comes to this when we are talking about the whole world. [Smile]

However, how we see ourselves often can have little to nothing to do with how other people see us, so people who have a lot of people expressing attraction to them can still suffer poor body image or self-esteem (and sometimes BECAUSE of that, because it can feel pretty crappy to have people seem so interested in your surface), and people who don't can still have positive self-esteem and body image.

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MusicNerd
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
However, how we see ourselves often can have little to nothing to do with how other people see us, so people who have a lot of people expressing attraction to them can still suffer poor body image or self-esteem (and sometimes BECAUSE of that, because it can feel pretty crappy to have people seem so interested in your surface), and people who don't can still have positive self-esteem and body image.

^This. So much of this.

When I was referencing the people who had the loads of confidence but weren't considered "beautiful" in this culture, I didn't mean for it to come off as "strangers were hitting on those confident people all the time". Looking over my post, I realize that's how I might've sounded and that would've pretty much contradicted the whole story I had about the random strangers' compliments during my low self-esteem period. Sorry about any confusion I caused there, Hatsworth! I meant more that there were people at my school who seemed pretty comfortable with themselves, and who seemed to have an easier time making friends with others than I did at the time (since I wouldn’t really talk much, I kept to myself and I wouldn’t show any sort of outward display of emotion from fear of being bullied, this winning combination made me come off as “cold”) and they had people come up to them again and again in the hallways all the time. Eventually my first friend in middle school (a.k.a. the rare, extremely bubbly person who was brave enough to approach me) introduced me to her friends and helped to bring me out of my shell, which led me to feeling more confident and comfortable in making friends with other people in turn. Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that: I misinterpreted your post as “pretty people have more friends who want to hang out with them” with me trying to disprove that, instead of reading it as “attraction is expressed more to people who are considered pretty”.

[rant]I think it’s unfortunate that the media seems to have ingrained in us as a society that we’re only deemed attractive not only based on narrow standards that vary from place to place or person to person (as if that’s not confusing or frustrating enough!), but also based on if other people make catcalls at us or check us out or validate our attractiveness in some way. Those kinds of messages that we’ve been given, instead of the messages of embracing our individuality or not comparing ourselves to narrow ideals or other people, seem to have made people depend on the opinions of others and that makes it even more confusing since everyone has different opinions anyway (even in just one culture) on something as subjective as beauty! *exasperated sigh*[/rant]

I know that it always sounds pretty cliché when people say things like, “Looks aren’t everything,” and it makes you go [Roll Eyes] since society’s pretty much put “beauty” (whatever it is exactly) on such a pedestal, but looks really aren’t everything; it's just that we've been taught since we were young to compare ourselves to others and to rate ourselves and rate other people and have them rate us based on our looks. I used to wish I could just blend into the wallpaper so that I could escape the bullying or the glares or when strangers who made me feel uneasy or unsafe would make creepy remarks (or sometimes even follow me), because people would focus so much on my external appearance and they wouldn’t see me for the person I was on the inside who had thoughts and feelings just like them. So I think “the grass is much greener on the other side” sometimes, you know? The fact that you have friends who like to hang out with you shows that they seem to think of you as a pretty cool person and, honestly, that’s not something to be taken for granted. [Smile]

I hear you expressing how your girlfriend knows a lot of different people and a lot of different people want to get to know her, so I'm wondering: Do you feel like you don’t know that many people or do you feel like you don’t know that many people compared to your girlfriend?

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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WesLuck
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Wow, there are people making judgements about beauty in many galaxies. <grin>
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Hatsworth
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Hmm well most of my life as I think about it I didn't think I had a lot of close friends or even know a lot of people. It's just that recently this year that I've been caring less and becoming more comfortable with myself and talking to people more. I feel like I don't know a lot of people and it's just that my girlfriend reminds me that I don't, not that she does it consciously but in my mind I realize still. I guess I realized that I should just stop thinking about this at all and be content with whatever friends I have or whatever loneliness I feel because it's probably unfounded?
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MusicNerd
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quote:
Originally posted by WesLuck:
Wow, there are people making judgements about beauty in many galaxies. <grin>

Hahaha! Oh, yeah. Beauty's a universal concept, even if the standards of beauty themselves aren't necessarily universal. [Big Grin]

That's great that you're becoming more comfortable with yourself, Hatsworth! [Smile] I agree on enjoying however many friends you have right now, since I say, “it’s quality, not quantity” anyway. [Wink]
But I'd also add that if you find that you still want to meet new people solely for the sake of making connections with people (in addition to enjoying your current friends), then maybe you could focus less on comparing your social circle to your girlfriend's and more on joining things. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to get to know more people, if that's what you want. So if you do desire to expand your social circle, then are there any clubs you could join or activities you could do (in or outside of school) to meet new people (band, sports, drama, etc.)?

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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WesLuck
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You don't have to be exactly like your partner in characteristics like social circle (and any other characteristic either [Smile] ), and it is almost impossible to do so anyway!

And what I like to say:

"unique is normal,
normal is weird,
weird is good!"

-hugs for Hatsworth!- [Smile]

[ 07-23-2012, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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