Do You Feel Ugly? Understand Why + 13 Ways To Cope With Not Being Attractive

You're a fountain of kindness, intelligence, and fun.

But you're not the best-looking bloke or babe on the block.

And sometimes, your unremarkable (or even unattractive) looks tug on your mood. 

We get it and have some advice to get you through it.

First, know you're not alone. 

More people feel this way than not.

There are certainly more average-looking people on the planet than there are head-turners.

Second, freeing yourself from the limiting, damaging, and ever-changing parameters of what constitutes beauty will improve your mental health tenfold.  

So today, we're answering the question: How do I accept being “unattractive?” 

How to Tell if You're Ugly

Let's start by facing the demon and objectively consider how others rate your physical appearance. Specifically, how can you tell if people think you're ugly? 

Strap on some emotional armor, and let's explore a few signs.

  • People Always Compliment You: It may sound counterintuitive, but people don't compliment good-looking people as much as they do others. Some folks refrain because they assume the stunner has an ego. Others stay silent because they're tongue-tied and nervous. The opposite is also true. People often give their average-looking friends confidence by gassing them up with praise. 
  • Strangers Don't Help: Strangers are constantly tripping over themselves to help your gorgeous friends. You, however, sometimes wonder if you're wearing an invisibility cloak because folks rarely lend you a hand.
  • You're Dating Profile Doesn't Get Much Action: Is your dating profile account a ghost town — replete with tumbleweed and silence? If so, it's fair to conclude that you're not exactly “model material.”
  • You Don't Spend Much Time Grooming: How are your hygiene habits? Do you shower and clean yourself regularly? How many days a week do you get up, get dressed, and put your best foot forward? If your grooming habits are lax, you're likely not looking your best.
  • You’ve Overheard or Been Told Directly: You may have overheard a friend or family member say something like, “She’s not much in the looks department, but she’s smart as a whip.” Or worse, some mean-spirited jerk has made a direct and hurtful comment about your looks.

Why Am I So Ugly? 7 Reasons You Feel This Way

Are you feeling crappy about yourself and wondering: Why am I so ugly compared to everyone else? 

Understand that everyone grapples with bouts of low self-esteem, and your perspective may be skewed when those storms descend.

With that in mind, let's unpack seven reasons you may feel “ugly.” 

1. You've Weathered a String of Rejections

Whether you're a beauty queen or “have a face for radio,” a losing streak — personal or professional — can strip you of self-confidence. Rejection stings, and learning to deal with it gracefully takes a lot of practice and energy.

So if you’re out of mental “juice” to do so, continuous snubbing can lead to overblown concerns about your appearance.

2. You're Surrounded by “Beautiful People”

Have you ever seen the movie The Devil Wears Prada? The main character, Andy (based on an actual person), is a standardly pretty girl who lands a job at Vogue, where she feels like an ugly duckling. 

The film does an excellent job of showing that even “cute” people feel intimidated when surrounded by gorgeous folks. 

3. You're Dealing With a Bout of Low Self-Esteem

Everyone on this planet suffers a few bouts of low self-esteem during their lifetime. Even narcissists are insecure at times. And when we go through these periods, it's common to feel down about how we look.

4. You're Lugging Around Unaddressed Trauma

This trauma can be a rapacious beast that erodes mental health. Many people get caught in destructive behavioral cycles, which leads to physical and emotional self-sabotage.   

Working with a professional therapist can help you navigate issues affecting your mental health. Moreover, they can teach you how to make the necessary adjustments that allow you to live a more fulfilling life moving forward.

5. You're an Outsider

Being an outsider is painful. In fact, due to our innate drive to survive, it's one of the four primary fears among humans. 

So if you find yourself outside of the “in crowd,” you may grow depressed, which often leads to self-debasement. And once you're in a downward spiral, the likelihood that you'll be critical of your appearance increases.

6. You Don't Fit the Beauty Standards of Your Community

Do you live in a community with narrow beauty standards? Is there only “one way” to fit the “pretty” mold? Millions of people worldwide do, which can cause stress and anxiety about appearances. 

On a positive note, the world is a gigantic place. So if you sit tight and work hard, one day you can move to a place where your aesthetic is more en vogue

7. People Are Mean to You for No Reason

You go out of your way to be a good person. Or maybe you stick to yourself and don't insert your nose into others’ lives.

Whichever the case, people still aren't very friendly to you. In these situations, it's common to assume your physical appearance is the root of their rudeness.

They may be “appearance snobs” and will only hang with people who match their appearance standards.

How to Deal with Being Ugly

So you're not the shiniest shell on the beach, nor the most dazzling gem in the case. Big whoop. There's a lot more to life. 

Furthermore, you can do several things to gain confidence and find a partner (if you want one). So let's explore how to not look ugly or let average looks drag you down.

1. Work on Your Mind

A beautiful brain attached to an “okay” face is leagues more attractive to many people than a gorgeous facade linked to an empty mind. So work on your smarts.

And no, your IQ isn't a definitive barrier to intellectual success. Study after study shows that people who spend their free time reading instead of vegging out in front of a screen are “smarter” and more successful.

Moreover, research proves that eating well, exercising, and meditating improve cognitive function. 

So if you feel like you'll never measure up aesthetically, try shifting your focus.

2. Find Passions and Hobbies

People with passions and hobbies are more content than those without. They occupy your mind and time, leaving less space for rumination and distress. 

Moreover, when you go to events associated with your genuine interests, you're more likely to meet people with whom you get along well, leading to fulfilling friendships and maybe even romance. 

3. Wear it Like Armor

Tyrian Lannister, the beloved Game of Thrones “imp,” gave excellent advice about not fitting into cultural standards.

In one of the early episodes, he sagely explains: “Never forget what you are; the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” 

Knowing what you're working with and ridding yourself of “substandard shame” will carry you to great heights.

4. Learn About the History of “Hotness”

Granted, this doesn't work for everyone, but some folks find a lot of comfort in learning about the history of hotness.

It puts things in perspective and serves as a potent reminder that taste is subjective, standards change, and trends are often fueled by superficiality. 

Coupled with a deep belief that kindness, generosity, friendliness, compassion, and grace are more important than aesthetic concerns, being an amateur “beauty academic” can be a boon to your mental health. 

5. Curb Jealousy

The green-eyed monster is vicious, and doing everything possible to expel it from your consciousness is a good mental and emotional investment. 

Envy eats away at the soul, and it has the power to mangle perceptions, behaviors, and feelings. Individuals who learn to control it and accept reality enjoy inner calm and contentment.

Ancient stoic philosophers employed a concept called “amor fati,” meaning “love of fate,” and it’s helped millions of people overcome perceived shortcomings and better deal with hardships.


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6. Talk With a Therapist

Therapists are trained to diagnose issues and give patients tools to overcome destructive patterns. 

Unfortunately, many healthcare companies still don't cover mental health costs, so seeing a counselor can be financially prohibitive for many people. 

If you're one of the millions in this category, consider online therapy — which can be significantly less expensive. Participating in support groups and reading relevant books written by licensed psychologists and psychiatrists can also help tremendously.

7. Understand That Everyone Feels Ugly at Times

Even the most beautiful people in the world sometimes look in the mirror and are disappointed with the reflection staring back at them. Why? Because insecurity is part of the human experience.

Pinpointing your self-doubt is a sign of strength. And once done, you can work to overcome it. However, it's essential to understand that some insecurities never go away, and that's okay so long as you learn to mitigate their mental impact.

8. Find a Partner Who Fits

Statistically speaking, there are more average-to-ugly people than stunning ones. So if disappointment about your appearance is linked to a lack of partnership, why not look for someone on your level? 

Also, never forget that looks aren't everything. It may sometimes feel like it (especially if you're younger), but beauty is truly just one aspect of a person. Some of the most desirable, impressive people have “four” looks and “ten” personalities.

9. Don't Focus on Your Looks

For a month, try not to focus on your looks. Maintaining personal hygiene is vital, but commit to eschewing beauty stress for 30 days — even if you have to fake it sometimes. Keep telling yourself: It doesn't matter.

Most people who give it a shot find they're not nearly as concerned with their lack of looks after the experiment is up, and they don't fall back into the habit of obsessing about aesthetics.

They realize life is much more sweet and satisfying without lugging around the concern and never look back.

10. Understand it May Be a Phase

People's faces change over time. The most dramatic transitions occur during the teenage to adult, early middle-age, and senior periods.

Beauty companies sell the idea that lotions and potions curb the aging process — as if getting older is a bad thing. But in reality, some people look better with each passing year. Why? Because they learn what works best for them and gain confidence. 

If you're a teenager going through your “awkward stage,” keep the Buddhist concept of impermanence at the fore of your thoughts and remember: This is just for now. Because, in almost all instances, it is.  

11. Revel in the Benefits

People frequently talk about the benefits of being attractive, but there are also a lot of perks to being “ugly.” For starters, your life may be full of the things that matter since your looks do not define you.

Also, you probably have more time to pursue your passions instead of constantly poking, tweaking, and obsessing over every last contour of your face and body.  

Furthermore, aging is much less stressful for people whose earlier lives didn't revolve around their looks.

12. Give Yourself a “Glow Up”

Every so-so-looking person can be a couple of notches more attractive by giving themselves a “glow up.” How? Start by getting a haircut that flatters your face shape.

If you wear glasses, find frames that do the same. Then:

  • Buy clothes that flatter your body shape.
  • Eat well and exercise for a healthy glow.
  • Enlist a professional makeup artist who can show you how to highlight your best features and minimize your worst. 

13. Consider Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is always an option if you simply can't find happiness in your own body.

We're not suggesting you get a new face or body, but if you have one feature that works your last nerve and causes you great distress, consider getting it tweaked. 

Final Thought

We get it. Feeling like you're on the lower end of the beauty scale can be difficult. But challenging emotions will dissipate if you learn to see that it doesn't define you and subsequently work on becoming the best person possible. 

Beyond that, know that you're likely more attractive than you think. We, humans, tend to be hyper-critical of ourselves.