10 ways to feel better about how you look
Throw away your conventional, media-defined ideals of beauty.You're not going to change society's definition of beauty, but you can change your own. Don't focus on the beauty you see in ads but, instead, to the beauty you see in the real-life people you admire.
Define yourself in ways other than how you look.Make your self-esteem contingent on your inner, not outer qualities. Focus on what you like about your abilities, personality, relationships, and perspective on the world. These almost invariably show improvement over time and are often more changeable than facial or bodily features.
Don't freak out when you feel you "look bad."The anxiety and stress you feel about how you look can take an actual toll on your face, and you'll be more likely to display the outer signs that truly detract from a pleasant appearance.
Smile.On a related note, assembling your features into a pleasant expression when you see people goes a long way toward giving yourself a more pleasing appearance. As corny as it sounds, people like other people who smile. Plus, according to the facial feedback hypothesis, smiling can actually improve your mood.
Go cold turkey on the makeup.Try a day or two of being makeup-free. You may find out that you actually look better when your skin has a chance to breathe and your eyelashes aren't weighted down by mascara.
Wear clothing that's actually comfortable.Along with the makeup, you can also go cold turkey on the clothes you feel you need to wear to look fashionable. You might find that, even for a couple of days, if you "let it go," you'll feel less fixated on keeping up with fashion and truer to yourself.
Take a break from the mirror.Don't break your mirrors, but take a brief respite from constantly checking them. Avoid peering surreptitiously at yourself in the rearview mirror or the store window as you pass by, as well. Instead, focus on how you feel inside.
Focus on keeping healthy.Being concerned about your body's shape because of how you look isn't beneficial to your overall well-being; being concerned about how your body functions is. Engage in enough exercise and sensible eating to get in shape, but not to the point of trying to force yourself to mold to the image of a fashion model.
Use others as a sounding board.You may think your nose is huge and your freckles are a disaster, but those who care about you may find the very features that bother you the most to be endearing. If you're feeling that you "look funny" or "fat" today, ask your nearest and dearest. They may, surprisingly, support the idea that you don't need all that makeup or shapewear to look like the person they love.
Take your aging in stride.Constantly comparing yourself unfavorably to people who are years, if not decades, younger will inevitably detract from your self-esteem. Even comparing yourself to Hollywood figures who are the same age as you can lead to frustration. Most of us can't afford the luxuries of frequent facials and spa treatments, much less plastic surgery, and no one has ever won the battle with the calendar. You will look older as you get older —but it still beats the alternative!