Self doubt and insecurity at 18 years old

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 months ago.

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    Valora, I dont know why but its so hard to accept it, Im really trying to be less harsh on myself but sometimes I just feel like so aware of it. I dont like videos or pictures of myself. But the thing is that some people say that im good looking, but I just cant see what they seem to see. Sometimes I feel good and then I see myself in a picture and it would bring my state down because it doesnt look like the image i have in my head.




    Joe, when people say you’re good looking, please believe them. Do yourself that favor. I’m sure they wouldn’t say it if they didn’t mean it.

    There is also good reason why you don’t like yourself in pictures…. lots of people don’t… because the image is flipped from what you see in the mirror. The mirror image of you is the one you see in your head. Pictures of you look different than the mirror version of you because everything is at opposite angles from what you’re used to seeing.  So it looks really weird and not anything like you’re used to, so it’s understandable that you wouldn’t like it. Does that make sense?

    I also want to say it’s normal to feel insecure, too, especially when you’re younger and that it generally starts to get better as you get older. I think just about everyone is insecure about some part of their bodies and has the feelings that you do, where sometimes they feel like they look good and sometimes not so much. It can take effort to appreciate your features more often than not, but remember that your bad view about how you look is just an opinion, and those can be changed.

    Maybe saying some self-affirmations in the mirror would help?  It might feel silly or awkward when you start doing them, but they’ve been shown to improve mood and mindset.  Have you ever watched any of Kerwin Rae’s videos? He has one where he teaches people to say “This is simple. This is easy. This is fun” when they’re doing a task/job they hate, and repeating that phrase changes their mindset about their job to where it’s more enjoyable. He explains the psychology behind that in the video, but it’s basically tricking your mind into seeing what you’re doing in a different way.  I think the same would go for your feelings about your appearance. If you look at yourself and say “dang, I look good today,” “I have a great, masculine nose,” or whatever you want to say… no matter whether you feel you do or not, but repeat it until you mean it and you can feel your mood lift, it’s quite possible that could improve your opinion of yourself.



    Dear Joe:

    Here is my understanding at this point and  my suggestions:

    1. Pot- it helped you feel better before, but not anymore. It has been harming you for a while: “I smoke pretty often with my friends… But slowly and slowly I started feeing insecure while high.. I also became super aware when high and just getting lost in my head and having a bunch of negative thoughts. So now whenever I smoke I feel uncomfortable with people.. my insecurity grew bigger and would get paranoid when I was high. I was obsessed… I think this came around the same time that what I feel like social anxiety”-

    -clearly, you should no longer smoke pot at all, don’t you agree?

    2. From  Childhood to Adulthood- you are just about to graduate high school and legally and practically, you are entering the adult world, childhood is past, adulthood is not yet. You feel less connected to your parents/the older adults in your life and to your younger siblings, who are children, and so, you feel and are alone a lot of the time, uncomfortable and annoyed with adults and with children:

    “I’m in my senior year of high school and going to college next year…(I) don’t really feel like hanging out with my family, like when they want to go to the beach or to a  barbecue. I mostly see them during dinner, the rest of the time I’m either with friends or in my room. I have a little brother and a little sister who are 7 and 11.. don’t really like the childish atmosphere of the house most of the time and I’m often annoyed by the stuff my brother says… I used to always have fun with him (step father). But lately I have not been able to have the same feeling.. I feel like we don’t really have a connection. I don’t really like hanging out with him, I get annoyed by him sometimes”.

    3. More about Adulthood after high school- now that you look back, life as a child seems simple, going to school, grade after grade, elementary school, middle school/junior high, high school, home life after school, having fun with family, playing with other children, etc. But  now, “life is too hard and complicated”, having to choose a college, and a major, and living arrangement, if away from home, and planning a career, a future income, independent living…  new challenges and the thinking is: am I qualified to live this adult life, am I good looking enough to attract women, smart enough to do well in college and have a good career, and so forth. This very worry is fueling your acute self awareness/ feeling judged.

    -I suggest thorough planning to decrease your anxiety regarding these new challenges. The more you plan rationally, receiving professional advice regarding college, major, career planning, the less anxiety. You increase your chances of success by a whole lot when you plan wisely and receive quality professional or otherwise wise advice from people with experience and expertise.

    4. The Nose, almost a separate entity that doesn’t belong in your face, so it feels. What to do about the nose… -I suggest the following- because you get alarmed when you see your nose in the mirror and in pictures, avoid looking at pictures and avoid the mirror. If you stand by the sink in the bathroom, at home or in school, and the mirror is right there, take a deep breath before you look and aim at looking away from the nose. Look at other parts of your face, the parts that need to be looked at (ex: teeth, when brushing, eyes to remove any after sleep stuff there) and purposefully, look away from the nose, see it in the background only. These two practices will decrease your daily anxiety.

    5. That hollow experience, “I feel kinda hollow and missing personality. I think I still come off as normal to people but it sure is a struggle inside”- you are not alone, as you go to college, you will meet many hundreds of people your age who also feel hollow and missing personalities, and like you, they will be trying desperately to appear normal, many of them will be successful at appearing normal, just like you are. But it sure is a struggle for them too.

    -try to connect with certain individuals your age, not for the purpose of smoking pot, and not for the purpose of appearing normal, funny or smart, but for the purpose of sharing that hollow feeling. Don’t join the people your age who do all they can to escape that hollow feeling by partying hard. Choose instead the people who party in moderation and who are willing to look into that hollowness.

    There is growth that starts when we look into that hollowness inside ourselves and help others look at theirs. We become more and more when we do that, but this too, in moderation.




    Thank you Anita, I will think about all of those things

    Life is a weird experience



    You are welcome, Joe. Post again anytime you want to.


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