“Salaams, I’ve always struggled with being confident about my appearance. Logically I know Allah’s made me beautiful because women are inherently beautiful, but I’m struggling with being content with it. I know this is something a lot of women feel but that doesn’t make it okay. I want to look in the mirror with contentment, instead of thinking parts of me “look wrong”. I’ve been trying to say positive things to myself to improve my thinking about this but I’m not there yet. I look in the mirror way too much, almost checking “am I ugly yet?” over and over. Because of this I have a difficult relationship with makeup too… I like using it but I try not to because I’m scared it will worsen my self-image. In fact, whenever I do, I feel ugly when I take it off. I’m also very self-conscious of my appearance in front of men, feeling like if I’m not attractive, I’m disgusting, or less-than, somehow. I’m worried about how this will affect me in a future relationship too. Hijab has helped alhamdulillah but my thinking is still the same. Any advice on changing this mindset? BarakAllahu feeki sister x”
Wa alaikum salaam!
Firstly, I want to apologise for taking so long. I pray this will be somewhat useful even though it is super late. Secondly, once again I am no scholar so the advice I am giving is merely from my own experiences and understanding of things. Like you, I too, have my insecurities. Not necessarily in terms of outward appearances for me, but insecurities are insecurities all the same. In that sense, you aren’t alone in this and the fact that you want to figure out how to change your mindset is awesome because it means you want that positive change in your life 🙂
I reckon one of the biggest things that have an impact on the way we view ourselves often comes from the environment around us. I went to an all-girls secondary and sixth form, so this was all a bit too obvious to me when I was growing up. Naturally everyone conforms to each other; we’re made to feel like if we don’t do what everyone else is doing or wearing, then our social status drops. It sucks that this even happens; that we can’t just be comfortable in our own skin. But we’re human. We learn from each other and we influence each other. Sometimes though, that influence isn’t always a good thing. It may be that your struggle for contentment is a partial result of your internal self comparing to others around you (or it may not be, I could be wrong but I’m trying to cover all angles). The first step I think to getting past this is reminding yourself that the only standards you have to apply yourself too are those standards in Islam and your own standards to build you into a better person. How people make you feel, how the opposite gender make you feel, how makeup makes you feel, should not dictate in any way how you feel. Your character and mannerisms are far more important than how you look – it’s just going to take convincing yourself that and even realising that yourself to appreciate it. Like everyone always says, if you’re beautiful on the inside, no matter what, that will always shine through.
Moving on from that, honestly, there are no parts of you that ‘look wrong,’ despite how you feel. You are perfect, because Allah doesn’t create anything imperfect. Of course, everyone has shortcomings, I’m not condoning bad actions through saying this. What I am saying is that the physical outer embodiment of you was created perfectly – your inner soul needs to come to acceptance with this and if anything, have gratitude in this. Realise our purpose is much greater than how we look and more about what we do. You, most likely, have a lot going for you and a very bright future; therefore do not let your self-worth be dictated by your own perception that you are not enough – it’s unfair on yourself.
Lastly, gaining self-confidence takes a while. Genuinely. I’m dishing out this advice like self-acceptance will happen overnight but it takes a while to achieve it. I don’t think there’s ever a point where everyone is fully happy with themselves but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – it helps push us to achieve perfection. But beauty does not define perfection. And that’s what I’ve always told myself to always stay comfortable in my own skin. It will take a long, hard think over what matters to you and the kind of person you want to be to overcome the thoughts that look are the most important thing. I fully appreciate it isn’t easy but I have full belief that you have the capability and capacity to realise this and you will, no doubt, be happy when you do.
You are beautiful, do not let anyone, not even yourself, tell you otherwise ❤