3 min read

Most people I come across these days feel bad about the way they look to a certain extent.  They obsess over so-called 'flaws' and feel like they look inferior to lots of other people. 

They can't believe that they would ever be someone's first choice, even if they're in a relationship with someone who's telling them that they are!

But the basis for all this negativity and suffering is extremely shaky.  Here are 5 good reasons not to trust the insults your mind is hurling at you about the way you look...

1) Our minds have a negativity bias 

If you get ten compliments in a day, but one insult, what do you tend to focus on?  Our minds' obsession with keeping us safe (which comes from our caveman days when we lived in near-constant physical danger) gives us a very biased picture of what's actually going on.    

Filtering out and dismissing any positive feedback, and exclusively focussing on criticism or insults, distorts our perception of reality.  But the truth is that an insult about our appearance is not a real threat to our survival in the same way as an attack from a wild animal is, and, as such, we don't need to focus all our attention on it to stay alive. 

Rather than keeping us safe, ruminating about critical feedback simply creates a hellish experience for ourselves in which we live in a very painful story about how disgusting we look, and how unlovable and unattractive we are as a result.

We can't necessarily escape this tendency fully - it's part of our evolutionary wiring.  Fortunately, we don't have to.  Simply being aware of it can help enormously. When we find ourselves consumed by negative thoughts about how we look - whether they're based on insults from other people or not - we can start to get a sense that we're in the grip of unreliable, unhelpful thinking and learn to give it less attention and respect.

The news provides a good analogy here.  The news is typically focused on negative events - war; natural disasters; crime; terrorism etc.  However, much of the world is at peace and, in many places, more people are not being victimised by crime than are.  So, while the events reported on may be true (although not always), the exclusive focus on the negative can give us a distorted picture of what's going in the world as a whole.  

Believing that your body is grotesque is a reflection of this negativity bias at a personal level.  Healing requires that we become less trusting of everything our minds tell us as we recognise that they tend to be very pessimistic.

2) You've been brainwashed into seeing a natural body as wrong

Throughout our lives we get bombarded with images of people who all tend to conform to today's so-called 'beauty' standards. Often the images have been adjusted, and sometimes the bodies themselves have actually been 'adjusted' through surgery and other cosmetic treatments.  All of this has given us an unrealistic understanding of what most human bodies look like.

But, of course, there's nothing wrong with having a natural body, and your so-called 'flaws' are part of what makes you who you are - the special and unique you. And deep down we all have a yearning to be close to other people.  Real people.  Not fakes. 

I've written a few poems about our disdain for our natural bodies, including Can you see your beauty?; Why do we hate our bodies?; This Ordinary Body; and Is your body enough? which I hope will help you see this more clearly.  It's ok to live in a human body that doesn't conform with arbitrary rules.

3) Human beings are wired to be attracted to one another

Like the rest of the natural world, we have evolved to be attracted to one another, so we will pass on our genes and continue the life of our species.  These are powerful drives, and even a lifetime of brainwashing can't eliminate them entirely. 

Even if people may be conditioned to judge your appearance against certain metrics, that's not going to be the only factor at play.  Desire for sex, romance and intimacy will win the day if you let go of your negative thoughts for long enough.  

We are not meant to be attracted to everybody and rejection is an inevitable part of life, but sooner or later, human desire for closeness will trump everything else provided we don't let our negative thinking about ourselves get in the way.

4) Attraction isn't only based on looking a certain way

Do you know any happy couples who've been together a long time?  Their mutual attraction isn't based on their partner's body always looking a certain way.  Bodies change over time.  But attraction that's based on a powerful connection will outlast and embrace all physical changes.  

I've been with my husband for 20 years (as of 2024), and I can attest to the truth of this! 

Sexual attraction can't be reduced to the size and shape of a person's body parts. We are beings, not objects.

5) People usually judge themselves much more harshly than other people

Ever heard anyone else banging on about how awful they think a certain feature is, and find yourself wondering what on earth they're worried about?  Well, how about you consider the possibility that other people feel the same way about your so-called 'flaws'?! So, the next time that thought pops into your head about how ugly you are, and how hopeless your life is as a result, please remember to take it with the huge grain of salt it deserves!

If you want to live a happy life, it's crucial not to believe everything you think.  


  • Conformity with today's so-called 'beauty' standards isn't the only basis for attraction.  When we feel positively disposed to someone, they will look more attractive to us, irrespective of the details of their appearance.
  • Attraction can’t be reduced to physical metrics. Desire to be close to someone that lasts mainly rests on things we can’t see.
  • It's not your job to figure out how it could be possible for someone else to be attracted to someone with a body like yours.  Instead, your job is not to let your negative thinking about your appearance run your life and get in the way of your enjoyment of intimacy.  Don't let your negative thinking steal your joy!

And now it's over to you.  Tell me about your experience and perspective.

  • Do you tend to focus on the negative when it comes to opinions (other people's or your own) about your body?
  • Do you find anyone attractive who considers themselves ugly?  What does that tell you?
  • How would you like to respond the next time you get a negative thought about your attractiveness?  
  • What makes someone attractive to you?  Is it just their body's conformity with the so-called 'beauty' standards?  What if their body changed over time?  Would your attraction to them disappear?

Let me know in the comment box below. I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Reach out if you'd like support

If you’d like to worry less about your attractiveness, so you can enjoy intimacy more, check out my free resources or find out how you can work with me.

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