Let's Discuss!: Coping with Low Self-Esteem Days

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Last week, I had a low self-esteem day.

You know those days--you roll out of bed, look in the mirror and are horrified by how you've somehow transformed into a hideous beast overnight. That whole day will inevitably be terrible, and every time someone even glances at you, you shrink back in fear, hide behind a curtain of your hair, and scurry away as quickly as you can.

Okay, it was an extremely low self-esteem day.

The culprit behind this, as usual, was a case of overgrown eyebrows desperately needing to be threaded (post), and a whole posse of bulbous, bright red cystic acne threatening to take over my face. I've said many times before that I never feel more unattractive than when my eyebrows need to be done (I'd rather go out with no makeup and perfectly groomed brows, than a full face of makeup with overgrown brows), but the acne caught me off guard.

My skin is a roller coaster of extended periods of good skin days and then horrendous skin days, and this particular day was one of the worst I'd ever had. It came in the middle of a "good skin" patch, and took me completely by surprise. 

But what shocked me more than anything else was just how crappy it made me feel--to know (and see!) so many atrocious bumps on my face that couldn't possibly be ignored. I had gone through plenty of these days during the times of bad skin, but had almost forgotten what it felt like to have something on your face make you feel so vulnerable and insecure.

Is there anything that makes you feel unattractive the way acne does? It's not just the discolored factor, which is easy to conceal, it's the bumpy and strange texture that really causes discomfort. That whole day, I kept stepping back as people were speaking to me (yes, I did!), afraid that they would get too close to the cystic nightmares all over my face. 

That day, I was fortunate enough to discover a product that hides (and I mean really hides) even the most unsightly pimple (post on Thursday!), but it didn't make me any less self-conscious.

These feelings of insecurity and discomfort are largely in our heads, of course, as people no doubt noticed my acne, but probably weren't judging me the way I thought they were. But does that make it any less annoying to deal with?

Acne is the source of my insecurities on low self-esteem days, but I know for others it can be facial hair, large pores, discoloration, birth marks or really any "imperfections" we see on ourselves. Apart from concealer, I just don't know how to deal with it, which is where you lovely people come in.

I'm sure we've all experienced a low self-esteem day, so I'm interested to hear how you cope with it. While the obsession over these little things is purely mental, the subject of what we obsess over is physical. Does that mean the only answer is to cover it up with something else physical (makeup), or would total overcoming of these insecurities mean a revamping of the way we perceive ourselves?

And if we need to change our mindset to look past the "imperfections" that are so hugely exaggerated in our minds, exactly how do you do that? Can it even be done, or will we always have a few insecurities holding us back from full confidence?

[Alternatively, if you'd like to project something a little more uplifting, tell me what makes you feel like the most confident and best version of yourself! For me, freshly threaded brows and a good blowout leave me ready to take on the world!]

Please share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. My image issue is a common thing. My face looks uglier in photos and videos than in the mirror. But there's a good reason for that.

    Of all the time we spend looking at our own faces, nearly 100% of it is looking in the mirror, where the right side of your face is nearest the right edge of the mirror. (See what I'm saying?) In pictures, the right side of your face appears nearest the left edge of the photo. But why does that make someone look less attractive?

    Every face has imperfections: imbalance of features from left to right (e.g., the tip of my nose is rounded on the left but more chiseled on the right, and my left cheekbone has a faint ridge to it near the eye socket). We spend so much of our lives getting acclimated to the imbalance in the mirror, and polishing our looks toward an appearance we can accept as attractive; on the rare occasion we see ourselves in photos, the balance is off and unsettling.

    But guess what. Everyone else sees you the non-mirror perspective 100% of the time and they will see you as beautiful in real life as you are photos. They won't know the mirror image of you the way you do. The only point of reference for them will be the wonderful person who matches, or outshines, the beautiful face.

    You will overcome these things. Outshine your outside from the inside. Be well > feel well >look well.

    1. Really interesting explanation! I didn't even think about how we think we look in pictures and videos, but what you're saying makes perfect sense, since I'm one of those people who hates how I photograph.

      Thanks for the positivity and participation!

  2. I find that if I stare at the mirror for too long, I will inevitably find flaws. My solution? Not looking at myself in the mirror!
    Of course I still take a glance or two to make sure I look presentable in public, but nothing more than that. I find that really helps me! Less time spent in front of mirror= less flaws I even notice myself = feeling better about myself

    1. I love your idea, Tiffany!

      Staring at ourselves in the mirror has got to be terrible for self-esteem, and sometimes when I do it, I can actually feel myself looking for something to obsess over.

      I think I read something about a woman who didn't look in a mirror for a year, and she said something about how satisfying and rewarding the whole experience was.

      I'm sure we could all do with a little less "mirror time".