How To Cope With Those “I’m So Ugly” Days And Feel Better About Yourself

We’ve all been there before. You’re standing over the bathroom sink, looking in the mirror, and analyzing your features. Suddenly, your nose is too big, your dark circles are terrible, and that zit on your chin is disgusting. You can’t help thinking, “I’m so ugly.” You’re not, of course, but trying to convince yourself otherwise is tough. Here’s why you have days like this and what to do about it when it happens.

Why you have “I’m so ugly” days even if you’re generally confident

There are a lot of different things that contribute to the way we perceive ourselves on a daily basis. Even if you generally have high self-esteem, sometimes things happen that knock your confidence temporarily. Those things include but are not limited to the following.

  1. Societal pressure This one’s a killer. Scroll through social media or open the pages of a magazine and you’re bombarded with perfect people. They have the most incredible bodies, no wrinkles or pimples, their features are 100% symmetrical, clothes look ridiculously good on them, yada yada. It’s only natural that’s going to get to you at times. “It’s normal to experience moments of self-doubt, especially when we feel overwhelmed by external pressures, such as society’s unrealistic expectations of beauty and perfection,” psychiatrist Dr. Ketan Parmar, MBBS, DPM, tells Bolde.
  2. Comparison They do say comparison is the thief of joy, after all. Seeing someone you find attractive and comparing yourself with them is bound to make you miserable. That being said, it’s totally normal. “As humans, we are prone to comparing ourselves with others, which can lead to feelings of insecurity and hating our appearance even when we know that everyone is unique in their own way,” Karmar explains.
  3. Stress and anxiety When you’re feeling stressed, you’re not yourself. Stress leads to an increase of cortisol, which can screw with your body image (among other negative effects). You start overanalyzing your features and focusing on your flaws and before you know it, you’re sure you’re ugly.
  4. Comments from other people Obviously, these people are the worst. You don’t need anyone in your life who thinks it’s okay to criticize or judge your appearance. That’s petty, immature, and gross. However, sometimes all it takes is one small comment from someone to have you reeling. Remember who you are — someone beautiful.

How to cope when you’re having one of those days

  1. Take a deep breath and get some perspective. Sometimes when you feel yourself spiraling and thinking you’re so ugly, you just have to stop. Breathe. Then, remind yourself that there’s not just one way to be beautiful. “Remember that people come in all shapes and sizes and while specific looks go into and out of style, it’s important to instead focus on this question: Am I making the best of what I’ve got?” suggests Dr. Laurel Steinberg, Ph.D. “If your answer is yes, move away from focusing on your exterior and focus on more important topics such as what your contributions to the world and your relationships are like. If your answer is no, seek professional help to help you make the most of what you’ve got (hair stylist, wardrobe stylist, manicurist). Then move towards focusing on what you’ve got going on inside.”
  2. Do something that makes you feel alive. By this, I mean something active. You’re so incredibly fortunate to have a body that carries you around each and every day. How can you be ugly when that’s the case? Show your body some love by going for a run, doing some yoga, taking a hike, or something else that makes you feel alive. Connecting with your body can go a long way in reminding you just how beautiful it is (and you are).
  3. Do or wear something that makes you feel sexy. In addition to appreciating your body, you can amp up your confidence a bit more by feeling sexy. Wear that little black dress that hugs your curves in all the right ways. Organize that boudoir session you’ve always been too nervous to try. You’d be surprised at what an effect this can have.
  4. Take some time away from social media. Seriously, put your phone away. Nothing will make you feel uglier than social media. The photos you see on Instagram are not real. Hell, even if they were real, they’re no reflection on your personal worth. Every once in a while, take a little hiatus to reconnect with your authentic self.
  5. Practice gratitude and self-care. You have so much to be grateful for, and I don’t just mean physically. Focus on all the things that make you fortunate and celebrate them. Also, extend yourself some grace and gentle self-care. You deserve to feel cradled by love. Give that to yourself.
  6. Spend some time with people who uplift you. Nothing will wipe that “I’m so ugly” thought out of your brain quicker than being around positive people. Hang out with your best friends or your mom and dad or your cousins. Go out and have fun, laugh together, and just enjoy life. You’ll quickly forget what you were so upset about.
  7. Set realistic goals. If there are things you want to change about yourself physically, be realistic. You’re not going to lose 30 pounds overnight. You’re not going to look like Kylie Jenner by next week. You can’t change your face (and you don’t need to). Be realistic about what you’re trying to accomplish (and why you want to accomplish it).
  8. Consider speaking to a mental health professional if needed. If you’re struggling with more ugly days than beautiful ones, this is a consideration. A therapist or counselor can help you work through issues and give you coping mechanisms to help you feel better long-term.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill