Q&A: Why don’t I feel beautiful?

Today’s Q&A really hits home. “K” asked why she just doesn’t believe she’s beautiful, regardless of what her closest friends and loved ones tell her. A lot of us struggle with this and I wanted to address why we find it so hard to believe sometimes.


First, let’s just remember that we LEARN to compare ourselves and pick ourselves apart. When we’re extremely young we’d never think to do this. We’re taught what to believe is beautiful or that external “perfection” even matters or is possible. And when young girls do it we blame the media because where else do they learn this habit?! The media, yeah, but we adult women perpetuate it. Please realize that every single thing we covet about other people is strictly the fault of manufactured expectation of whatever beautiful is at the time, and NOT things we necessarily even WANT to change. We know this because we only desire certain things as they become popular. Styles of what’s beautiful change every decade or so and chances are, what we “wish” we were changes just as often.

Beauty standards are constantly changing and it’s all made up and ridiculous.

A few weeks ago I was on Instagram and came across one of Kristen Bell’s pictures. She had twins not too long ago and she still looked completely GORGEOUS about to go to some big gala. Then I read the caption and she was saying how the reason her boobs looked so perky is because there was literal duck tape wrapped from the bottom of her boobs up to the back of her shoulders to keep them from looking droopy. I found this hilarious and so freakin’ awesome!

My point of sharing this is that no matter how “perfectly beautiful” someone else looks to you, they’re struggling too with their image too. Don’t get tricked into believing that IF you had THIS then you’d feel better, because you wouldn’t. You’d find something else to nitpick.

But this is GOOD NEWS! That means that you don’t need to change anything to feel better. You just need to do a little internal work.

Being happy with ourselves takes practice and effort. So just because you have days where you don’t like what you see in the mirror doesn’t mean you’re destined to feel this way forever. It just means you’re normal! Loving yourself takes practice and when you practice something with intention, progress is inevitable.

Here’s your action plan:
1) On bad days AND good days (that part is important), take a couple minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY and praise yourself.
Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself 3 things you did well that day and 3 things that look nice. It sounds silly but trust me, it WORKS. You MUST MUST MUST do this daily. Even if you feel great, DO IT. If you feel weird about looking in the mirror, you can even journal in writing instead.

2) Instead of dismissing compliments, say THANK YOU and smile!
Don’t excuse them or wave them away. Practice accepting them and saying thank you.

This helped me, so I’m sharing it. I got to a point where I was annoyed with myself for feeling negatively about the way I looked. I was like, “this is SUCH A STUPID waste of time!” I kept picturing my 85 year old self looking at pictures of me now saying, “I looked amazing & can’t believe I took that for granted.” Also at the time, I was watching a friend battle breast cancer and the chemo took her hair and yet she was STILL working out and being a general BADASS and I thought: I am ridiculous. None of my petty insecurities are worth wasting precious time over. And I changed some habits and quit. It still comes up, but it’s better now. BTW: my friend beat cancer and is doing amazing!

Over to you! Have you ever struggled with FEELING truly beautiful even when everyone around you reminds you that you are? How do you overcome insecurity? 

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    Jacquelyn Bever

    January 11, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Girl, you are amazing!

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    January 11, 2017 at 7:46 am

    This video came at the best time. Thanks SO much for sharing. 🙂

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    January 11, 2017 at 8:50 am

    This may sound a little weird Erin but after joining the PBYP I changed the way I think about my hair. My hair is a bit crazy, wavy, curly and unmanageable and I have been styling it short for years in order to keep it looking sleek and straight. I listened to my hairdresser make comments about how my hair wouldn’t style the way he wanted it to due to it’s natural curl. I went home and decided never to go back. I took a good look in the mirror and decided to stop using hairdryers and straighteners and started growing it. I looked at different ways to treat and style my hair. Some have worked, others not. Some days I love it and I get compliments, somedays I look like Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons and I wear a hat.
    The point is I decided that I would stop looking at my hair as a problem just because it didn’t look like ‘it was supposed to’. I talked nicely to my hair and accepted it for what it was.
    Thank you for sharing your own personal insight I will be sharing it with my daughters.

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      January 12, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      Hehehe Sideshow Bob…I feel ya, I have crazy curly hair too. I kind of had the same revelation you did about a year ago. I had grown my hair super long for years (for mine the longer it is the straighter it gets) and threw it in a pony tail for years. I finally chopped it all off and I swear I looked like a lion for a month. I got a wide range of comments about it some negative, some positive, some hilarious. Now that’s my favorite way to wear my hair 🙂

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    January 11, 2017 at 9:04 am

    This came at the perfect moment for me too – thank you so much for this video, I’m sure I’ll come back to it if I ever struggle again 🙂

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    January 11, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I’ve been struggling with this forever… But I’m a mom of three girls and don’t want them to ever doubt about their beauty. So whenever my husband and I take care of our health: eating better o doing excersise we allways afirm to them is something we´re doing to be healthy not to look better. That’s a plus…
    Thank you for this great videos! <3

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    Jayson E. Kriedler

    January 11, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Good message, Erin! When I was a younger man, I saw only one type of woman as “beautiful”. But the older I get, the more I realize that beauty encompasses a wide variety of traits and looks. I’ve also come to realize that “perfection” is not really beautiful. It’s the small imperfections that make a woman stand out. For instance, Cindy Crawford’s mole, Lauren Hutten’s teeth gap and so many others. By the way, Erin, you look absolutely gorgeous today! : )

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    January 11, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    This is definitely a thing women struggle with and I have found that just getting older is helping with self-confidence and self-acceptance. I am 36 and feel better about my self now than ever. Erin, thank you for all of this and you are stunning without makeup.

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    January 11, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I think this was the most beautiful Q&A so far! I could tell it came totally and authentically right from the heart. Do more of this!! <3

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    January 11, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    This is beautiful and heart-warming! Thank you Erin!!! And thank you K for opening up. You are not alone!

    My personal trick for the days I’m not feeling awesome is to wear a tiara that I keep in my bedside table (YES, I am 30 years old and I own a tiara). It reminds me that I don’t have to wait for anyone to call me a princess, it’s enough with me playing on my own team. 😉

    Much love!!

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      January 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      I’ll be getting me a tiara today! I love it. Thanks from one princess to another

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    Stefanie Wenker

    January 11, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I love this video! I’m realizing more and more that a lot of people are struggling with the same things, that it is OK to make mistakes, but to be kind to ourselves when they happen. Feeling beautiful to me is not about loving every part of my body, but more about accepting that this is where I am right now and that that is OK.

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    Laura Derry

    January 12, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Thank you for sharing this! It is something I have been working on for a while now.

    I have a very loud inner critic, always have, but I’m trying to quiet her down & see myself more truly. Now when I drop my keys/ spill something/ make some other small mistake that ANYONE could make I still hear her say “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” but I make myself look at what happened, take a breath & say (aloud if I’m not in a crowd of people) “Yes, I made a mistake (acknowledge whatever happened), but anyone could have done that; it doesn’t make me stupid. In fact I know I’m not stupid because (I have built myself a store of proofs that I’m not stupid, such as my education level, or my problem-solving skills.)”

    Sometimes I catch myself before I make a mistake, like nearly forgetting my gym card & unlocking the door to get it. My inner critic still chimes in with her “Stupid!” rant, but I take a breath & say something like “I just remembered my gym card BEFORE I got to the gym! That’s not stupid; that’s a mistake averted! Well done me!!”

    Baby steps.

    Accepting a compliment gracefully is another great piece of advice! It took me ages of practicing to be able to say “Thank you,” to a compliment, rather than running myself down in response. In the early days it’s fine to begin to be self-deprecating, then to correct yourself; “Oh, no I definitely haven’t lost weight…sorry, what I meant to say was Thank you.”

    We are all works in progress, all the time! xxxx

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    January 12, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Oh my gosh, so, so, so many times I have looked at photos of myself 2, 5, 10 years ago and thought, “what was I so insecure about?” And I’m sure, I’ll look at my former self in 5 years and think, “hey, I was pretty okay!” Our perspectives about ourselves can be so warped just from living in our own heads. You really do have to proactively take steps to get out of that cycle and it’s difficult. I think we are subject to a lot of information day to day that makes us believe that thinking highly of ourselves is somehow not being humble. Totally not true! You HAVE to value yourself first before you can value and appreciate what’s going on around you.

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    January 12, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Hi Erin
    I have not forgotten The Bad Yogi, but I don;t post a lot and also I am just now finishing a 6 weeks holidays (I KNOW!!!) in which I have been doing lots of things that I really enjoy. I have been travellling and living out of a suitcase, eating sandwiches prepared from the car boot cold box, using old t shirts and shorts, jumpers when cold and a rain jacket when rained….. No make up, no mirror to criticise my body (who can waste time with that when I was ready to jump on my wetsuit to go to surfing lessons????) …
    The point is, and is a bit ironic, that if I’m happy I don;t really care how I look, I AM HAPPY!!!! The secret is to transfer this to next week when I’m back at work and face the routine again…. Can I do it??? I need to trust myself to do it.
    I’m fed up to live with the criticisms that have marked me in the past, and the past is gone, does not have to determine my future, my future is mine and can be wathever i want!!!!

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    January 12, 2017 at 6:59 am

    I’d like to add something to your to-do-list:
    4) If you don’t find it within you to treat yourself the way you deserve it, if you lack the courage or feel unworthy, imagine the way you would treat your friend/sister/daughter/etc (I refer to females but i guess males have similar trouble). Think of how THEY deserve to be treated, and why. Most probably you will answer yourself that you want them to be treated nicely because they are lovely beings and EVERYBODY DESERVES IT. Also, you want them to TREAT THEMSELVES NICELY.
    So…Why not treating yourself as a friend? Why not complimenting yourself from time to time? Why not being an example to your sister who picks herself apart? If you don’t have the courage to do it for yourself, do it for someone else…
    Imagine the way you look at them. Most probably you will find that all of the people you know have some physical traits you really like and probably some that you do not envy them for. But still we find the beauty in other people way easier than in ourselves… Try to shift your perspective…

    Oh, and a thought about compliments + stuff like make-up:
    I use make-up, sometimes. I think it is a very nice invention. But I believe it is important to remember this: make-up will only ever be able to “improve” or make slight changes in what is already there. If you get compliments, let’s say on a party wearing some fancy make-up: don’t make yourself believe “it’s only the make-up, actually I look shit”. That’s bullshit! No compliment in the world can make such a big difference. Same goes for clothes, hairstyle, whatever. Take every single compliment as it is – you are beautiful. Full stop. :*

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    Christin Slyngman

    January 12, 2017 at 10:49 am

    So great Erin! I am going to be 35 next month, and I just had my second daughter in July…and I have to say, you are absolutely right about positive affirmations, and getting out and doing something…but also about it taking time and practice to be able to love and appreciate yourself! When I was in my twenties before I had kids I was really insecure about my weight and how I looked…and I was actually in really great shape, but I was a dancer in high school (Ballet mostly) so my body image was based on comparing myself to other dancers. I would scrutinize every flaw. It took a lot of time, and something surprised me about having kids…I thought I would look in the mirror and hate how I looked postpartum, but honestly, because I’ve chosen to learn to invest in my health rather than how I look, I look in the mirror and see a strong woman who’s body has been able to give birth to 2 beautiful daughters…and I want to pass that image on to them! It takes time, courage, and consistency…and also spending less time comparing myself to others. Hugs and love for sharing on this topic and providing great ways to help!!

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    January 12, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Can you do a yoga for the common cold?

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    January 12, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    This reminded me that last year as a “resolution” I decided to be the one setting trends, even if that meant I was my only follower. The thought behind it was for me to stop looking at other women and think: Oh, she looks so great, and knows how to choose her clothes, do her hair, wear her makeup etc., but rather accept my own style and carry on through my day with confidence. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and it’s also helped me to be braver and try things I might not usually do/wear out of fear what others would think. Now it’s more like, I’m gonna try this and what anyone might think is non of my business.

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    January 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks Erin.

    My trick for learning to take compliments may seem weird, but now i can 100% accept and even believe a compliment without awkwardness.

    If someone said “you look ace in that” my old reply was “uggh my bum is so big”. To change this reaction i thanked them then added a bit of light hearted sarcasm and lots of cheeky smiles – ” and look how tall i look” (1.55cm ?).
    Sounds weird, but it IMMEDIATELY stopped me saying negatives and added a cheeky positive on top.
    It didn’t take long before i didn’t feel the need to add the comic relief to a compliment.

    Importantly for me, it took the awkwardness away from accepting a compliment; i now graciously accept and believe all compliments.

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    Eleonora Cosner

    January 14, 2017 at 1:53 am

    Just thank you.
    I’ve always struggled with insecurities. At some point something changed: I became self confident…and happy.
    Then I lost it again.

    And I don’t know how to be that way again.

    I’ll try your #1 tip ♡

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    Beth Henningsen

    January 15, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I always feel worse about myself during a certain time of the month. I’m tired, cranky, moody, in pain, and it’s a whole body feeling of just ick. I eat the ice cream, realize it is what it is and move on. I know will I feel better about everything in a week!

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