In today’s filtered society, where every picture looks Insta-perfect, it’s easy to think that everyone out there is flawless, increasing our own self-consciousness on the areas that we feel need work.
Consciously we know it’s not true – airbrushing, filters, the right lighting, the perfect angle, all of those work together to create that finished look of perfection. But subconsciously, that perfection leads us to increasing self-awareness of the things about us that we don’t like, and no matter how great we are otherwise, those areas that, to us, are glaring, keep us from feeling our best.
In the shadows of your mind, those little facets of your body that you don’t like linger and grow, making the little bump on your nose or those few extra pounds become so obvious that sometimes it can seem like everyone must notice, even though they don’t.
Instead of letting the self-hate take over, it’s time to embrace those quirks that make you, well, you. Some of them are fixable, and some of them aren’t, but you are not alone. Here are 8 things that make many people self-conscious, starting from the top down, and some advice on what to do to remedy them.
1. Your Hair
As a child, you probably never really thought anything about this, but the older we get, we notice other people being self-conscious about how thin or thick their hair is, their receding hairline, or their high or low forehead, and subconsciously we begin to worry about ours as well.
Many things can contribute to your hair’s health. Some of these things are fixable, and some you just have to wait out. Hormonal changes can affect your hair and can come in cycles. Taking vitamins can help make your hair thicker, longer, and healthier, but quite often you have to be on these vitamins for a long time (months) before you notice a difference.
Family history plays a part in your hair’s health, and you can’t do anything to fight that, short of implants and surgical procedures.
Certain medications and treatments can result in thinning or brittle hair. Illness and stress can result in your hair falling out. Your lifestyle choices, such as smoking and your diet, can make a difference as well.
Once you analyze what your hair’s needs are, you can then determine an action to take to help get it to where you want it to be, whether it is a change in your diet, quitting smoking, or taking steps to avoid stress.
2. Your Ears
It used to be just accepted that we can’t do anything about our ears, no matter how big or small they were, but technology has improved so much that this is no longer true.
If your ears are a main cause of your self-consciousness, you may want to look into otoplasty, or ear re-shaping. These types of ear surgery options can improve the shape, projection, position, or proportion of your ears and is often done as an outpatient procedure.
Ear surgery can be a very simple way to increase your self-esteem. Some procedures don’t even require more than a local anesthetic, and the scarring is minimal and hid behind your ear.
3. Your Nose
There seems to be a “standard” for what a beautiful nose should look like, based on old Hollywood film actors and actresses. Men can have a broad, large nose, but it can’t stick out too far, and women’s noses should be small and narrow.
But these standards are not realistic, and really are not acceptable anymore. In fact, larger noses combined with unique features can be exotic and beautiful. These large noses and other striking features now seem to make someone gorgeous instead of just plain pretty.
However, if your nose is causing you to stop looking for the beauty in the rest of your body because you are so self-aware of it, rhinoplasty is always an option. This type of surgery is done on the nose to change its shape or function, and can be done for medical or cosmetic purposes.
4. Your Breakouts
Many of us were promised during our puberty years that the acne we were so ashamed of would eventually go away. For many of us also, that was a lie.
So as you stare in the mirror at the pimple that has appeared overnight on the tip of your nose, making you feel not more like Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer than the strong and competent person you are trying to fake being for your job that day, remember that you are not the only one going through this.
Just like as a teen, our bodies are undergoing constant hormonal changes that can cause breakouts. Daily living, sweating, environmental pollution, and makeup can also cause them. Sometimes they are easy to hide with makeup; sometimes you just have to be patient and wait them out. It’s normal, and it’s okay.
If you are really self-conscious about it, though, you can try a few tried-and-true remedies. Ice applied on pimples helps to reduce inflammation and swelling, so it works pretty well on most pimples, but not on blackheads. While it’s not a miracle cure, when used with regular cleansers, the right moisturizer, and non-comedogenic makeup, it can help you avoid those pesky breakouts that make you self-conscious.
5. Your Arms
Maybe you think they are too big or too bony, too hairy or not hairy enough. Almost everyone has concerns about their arms.
While this is one area that almost everyone can agree on that they are self-conscious about, there are very few options short of toning and exercising to get you where you want to be here.
Brachioplasty, a form of body contouring plastic surgery, is available if you are extremely self-conscious about excess skin around your arms, but since most people are not happy with the way their arms look, you could also just go with it and accept it as one of the quirks of an otherwise great person.
6. Your Breasts
Like your arms, almost no one is satisfied with the size of their breasts. They are either too big or too small, too flabby or too flat. Many people are also concerned because one may be bigger than the other, but this, too, is perfectly normal.
Wearing the right bra can help you shape your breasts to their best form. Exercise can help reduce excess fat, since breasts are made mostly of fatty tissues. If you are really self-conscious, though, there are many types of breast augmentations and reductions that you can look into.
Breast augmentations uses breast implants or fat transfers to increase the size of your breasts, while a breast reduction, or reduction mammoplasty, reestablishes your breast to a functioning size proportionate to the rest of your body.
7. Your Thighs
Social media seems to be all about the thighs, lately. People are tracking down exercises to fix their thigh gaps and buying quick-fix thigh creams to eliminate dimples and lumps to try to get the perfect supermodel thighs. Alas, many of these creams are schemes, and if you are not consistent with your exercises, they won’t work.
Most creams are high in promise but low in result. The best fix for your thigh gap is consistent exercise and diet, and this will help your dimples at the same time.
8. Your Feet
There’s no such thing as the perfect foot, but you may feel that your toes are too long or too short, or your feet are too large or small or wide or narrow. The point is, there are very few people who have the foot-model shape and design.
If you are insecure about your feet, start with a pedicure. It’s an inexpensive way to get rid of calluses and dry skin, primp and polish your toes, and just generally feel good about your feet for a while. Exfoliating regularly and using moisturizers like coconut oil can help you in between pedicures and spa days.
Swelling in your feet and ankles can be caused by medical conditions, so if this is what is causing you to feel poorly about yourself, be sure to speak to your physician. They may be able to give you a quick fix to get you back feeling and looking your best.
If your feet are really calloused or in pain, you may need to look into the shoes you are wearing. Flip flops and sandals all the time can cause your feet to widen, as well.
Start With Your Mind, Then Move to Your Body
Regardless of how beautiful you really are, without the right perspective and frame of mind, you will not notice all of your positive features.
Don’t let the shadows in the back of your mind keep you focused on the negatives – own your flaws, remedy them if you can, and if you can’t, move forward and pay attention to how those flaws work together with everything else about you to make you the amazing person that you are.