How To Build Your Self Esteem & Self Confidence

build self confidence and self esteem
build self confidence and self esteem

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Self esteem. Most people don’t know how to build their self esteem and self confidence. And it’s tough, self esteem is kind of an abstract concept. Most people feel like they know what it is but they really don’t. It’s one of those ideals people constantly chase like- purpose, meaning, life, and goodness. Self esteem is probably the most valuable thing you can have and yet so many people don’t posses it.

So what is self esteem? And how do you build your self esteem?

Self esteem, by my definition, is a sense of confidence and belief in oneself that you are a person of value; a person worthy of respect and dignity. That you are a capable and independent person no matter what.

Let’s break down the concept further. What is esteem? What does it mean to hold someone in high esteem? Well, you’ll probably really respect that person, you won’t doubt them in moments when they give you advice and you might even want to be a bit like them. Self esteem is exactly that, but towards yourself.

A lot of people throw around that phrase but don’t really have it in themselves. Often times it’s confused with ego. But self esteem is different than ego. Ego is a version of ourselves that we imagine. Our sense of self. You can have an ego and no self esteem. You can also have self esteem and no ego. You can have both. But they are separate. Like I said, ego is the version of ourselves we imagine and self esteem is the complete respect and belief in oneself.

So what do you need to do in order to build a high self esteem? It’s not as easy as you think:

1) Avoid toxic people
This seems like a given but somehow toxic people tend to slither into our lives. They love to leech off the good energy of people with high self esteem and confidence. Usually in the form of a romantic interest. When you have high self esteem you tend to repel toxic partners (because you know better than to engage them) but when it’s low, the toxics will come in droves. It makes sense to avoid someone who devalues you, doesn’t respect you, pokes at your insecurities and overall is incompatible. Yet so many men and women end up with partners that thrive on keeping their lovers down and out.

By ending relationships that hurt how you see yourself, you are taking the next step to confidence and happiness. Because it’s impossible to be happy when someone you love is hurting you. It just doesn’t work if you want to build your self confidence.

2) Avoid situations that are emotionally harmful

This sort of ties in to topic # 1, if you’re avoiding toxic people you’re essentially avoiding situations that are harmful. But that’s not enough, there are tons of different situations you’ll need to avoid in order to maintain your sense of who you are and your value.

Somehow we’re also drawn to situations that seem either too good to be true or just give us too much hope. Disappointment is a huge reason why people lose their self-esteem. It could be something as easy as wanting a guy/girl to like you and finding out he wants your friend or standing next to your supermodel sister and feeling like the most monstrous person in the world when you’re actually really cute or dating a known player but still hoping you can change him. Or studying with the smartest kid in class, only to be left feeling dumb because you take too long to do the work. These sort of small not so serious situations will peck at your self-esteem and keep you from feeling as confident as you should be.

There’s also the issue with drama. I wish people were logical but we aren’t. We’re drawn to drama because it gives us a thrill or some sort of validation. It’s so important to avoid all drama and disappointment as much as possible and not put yourself in these emotionally charged situations because at the end of it all, the conflict will cause negativity towards yourself.

Think about the last big argument you got into…it wasn’t long until you started doubting yourself and wondering why you’re going through such a hard time. You started to question who you are and your value. The truth is, you can’t always avoid drama but, at the very least, you don’t have to seek it out.

3) Remember your strength

Sometimes when I’m feeling like life is impossible and too hard, I look back at what I’ve accomplished. I think of all the really hard shit I’ve gone through like my battle with achalasia or my unplanned pregnancy or the mold that infested our house. You see, I went through all that and it was stressful but I got through it.

Chances are there are challenges you’ve had to go through too. Remembering those obstacles in your life and drawing on that strength you had to get through them is a huge tool.

Looking at your past moments of perseverance and applying that to your future is one way to build your self esteem. Why shouldn’t you believe in yourself now when you’ve proven yourself capable time and time again? This is an easy way to build your confidence. It’s not really a fake it until you make it sort of self-esteem but more about giving yourself the credit you deserve.

4) Be your own cheerleader
It’s not always going to work out that someone will be rooting you on. In reality, there might be people in your life who are actively trying to tear you down.

Life is rarely perfect in that way and in these times you’ll need to know how to be your own cheerleader and believe in yourself when no one else does.

There was a girl in my high school that was always so negative. She had no knowledge on how to build self confidence. Every conversation I had with her was dreary and self-deprecating. She always complained about how nobody liked her, she was ugly, the teacher didn’t help her, her parents suck, etc. I tried to cheer her up and get her to think about the positives in her life but it never worked. After a while it was too draining and I had to distance myself. It just seemed like she enjoyed her own misery.

The point is to not expect others to lift you up but to do it on your own, even if you have to fake your own happiness for a little while. Self esteem isn’t something that can be built overnight but is something that’s built over time as you start to see yourself as worthy.

That friend, she had terrible self esteem and even though I was a friend who always was positive, it never helped. She needed to see all the positives in herself, for herself.

5) Accept who you are
Don’t be an apple wishing it was a pear, and don’t be a pear wishing it was an apple.

We all have things we wish we could change about ourselves but some of those things are unchangeable.

When I was younger, I used to wish I had lighter skin. Can you really change the color of your skin? Not unless you’re Michael Jackson.

My skin is the color of light milk chocolate and it’s a very nice complexion, but I lived in a neighborhood that was white and Italian so I wanted a fair complexion instead. Over time I learned to really love my skin, it hardly wrinkles and never gets sunburn. Imagine if I dwelled over my darker skin color, how unhappy I would have been?

For things you can’t change, you need to learn to live with it and love it. Your quirks, your imperfections, all of it. Accepting these things about yourself and even loving them will give you the mental room to feel positive about who you are and what you’re all about.

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I think the main point here is that most people aren’t born with a ton of self esteem. I would describe it more like a muscle you need to flex to strengthen.

What benefits are there to build self confidence? Tons, actually! You can finally do all those things you wanted to do in your life but were uncertain you could accomplish. You can ask that cute guy/girl out and not feel like their approval means everything and you can start living on your own terms and no longer feel chained to your insecurities. A person with high self esteem has the ultimate freedom.

So take it one step at a time, little by little your self esteem with find you.

If you like “How To Build Your Self Esteem & Self Confidence” Check Out My Other Posts!

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How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier

How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier
How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier

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I’ve been guilty of it, subtly putting someone down, nitpicking flaws, needing to have the last word as a futile effort to be “right.” It’s true, I have moments where I’m the asshole and most of the time I don’t mean to be…it just sort of happens. But I’m working on it. I really want to learn how to stop being so petty and learn to be happier.

According to Urban Dictionary (my main source of definitions for modern day lingo), petty means:

1)making things, events, or actions normal people dismiss as trivial or insignificant into excuses to be upset, uncooperative, childish, or stubborn.
2)A person who habitually overreacts.
3)A person who is purposefully childish with the intent of illiciting a reaction.
4)An immature over reaction in retaliation of an undesired outcome.

You get the picture, basically an asshole. Most of the time, I don’t mean to be this way, it’s usually a response to other people’s asshole behavior.

I think most of us are petty in our own ways. At work I often find myself absorbing other people’s negativity and then giving it back in petty, unwarranted comments. Life is so stressful, sometimes my capacity for stress bubbles over in pettiness. I need to really learn how to be happier and not so petty.

Here are some of the ways that pettiness can show itself:

1) Needing to get the last word

Have you ever spoken to someone or gotten into an argument and the other person always had a biting comment back? You might correct them or clarify politely and you’re met with a derisive unnecessary comment that really didn’t do much but get under your skin. With people who are petty in this way, you can almost always guarantee that there’s a biting comment around the corner, usually it’s something to put you down or or point fingers at you for some wrong doing. It looks like this:

“Marsha, can you please wash the dishes tonight. I feel so tired.”
“Of course I’ll do the dishes Jenna, it’s not like I have anything better to do than to clean up after you.”

Of course Marsha, is being a petty b*tch about washing dishes. She could have either said “yes” or “no, sorry I can’t,” but she had to give this underhanded comment that was totally unnecessary.

3) Nitpicking

Nitpicking is an obvious one, and kind of piggybacks on needing to get the last word. It’s a way of picking at someone’s flaws until they have nothing left but bareboned insecurity. People who have experienced nitpicking tend to feel very insecure around the person being petty, it often feels like they’re walking on eggshells.

I used to have a friend, honestly she was more of a frenemy, she would always make fun of little things “jokingly.” It was pervasive from what I wore, to how I ate, to what I said. She always said it in front of other people so they could get in on the “joke.” Little things like, “why are you wearing that, it’s too hot, you never know how to dress for the weather,” or “you eat too slow, everyone always has to wait on you,” or “look how forgetful Alex is”, she always needs to be reminded of when the test is.” After a while those kind of comments tend to strip you bare and leave you feeling like you’re nothing. It’s so much harder to learn to be happier, when someone is reminding you of all the ways you suck.

3) Superiority complex
I’ve seen this happen at work more so than anywhere else. Especially with bosses or more seasoned colleagues. Somehow the status of being more seasoned or a manager makes people petty as f*ck. These people are always reminding you that you are beneath them. Whether that’s objectively true or not, it doesn’t matter.

People who suffer from this type of pettiness rely on belittling you so that they always feel in control. They NEED you to feel like you’re beneath them so they can feel superior.

5. Stubbornness
I’ve been very guilty of this one. I can be intensely stubborn. ESPECIALLY when I feel like I want to have something my way. If I’m not getting my way, then I’ll go out of my way to be stubborn over the smallest thing just to give the other person some hell. Sure, I could compromise and meet in the middle, but then I’d have no leverage for what I really want. By being extra stubborn, in some ways, it gives me some wiggle room to negotiate something else. A “tit for tat” kind of deal.

This is actually a VERY immature way of negotiating and handling disagreements but who said I was mature? Being overly stubborn is a way that some petty people (me) passively can get what they want or get their revenge.

Here are the ways you can stop being petty:

1) Be the bigger person

Pride is a hard thing to swallow and at the root of all pettiness is a sense of pride. Pettiness finds a way to “one up” someone. By being a person that is above all that, it just proves you’re an emotionally mature person that doesn’t stoop to other people’s pettiness.

Trust me, I know how satisfying pettiness can be, especially when someone is being rude to you first. At the end of the day, holding your head up high and not lowering yourself to other petty peoples’ level will give you a sense of self confidence, assurance and petty-free pride.

2) Meditate

Sometimes you just need to take a step back from the situation. Meditation, prayer or whatever you want to call it on a daily basis will help calm your nerves and give you perspective on what’s important in life- and it’s definitely not pettiness. Life is about how to learn to be happier with yourself.

Next time someone gets under your skin, you’ll be able to have the calm clarity that it’s just not worth it and let their annoying-ness roll right off.

Even if you’re in the heat of the moment and someone is being totally obnoxious, it doesn’t hurt to take a few moments to breathe before giving a petty comeback. In those few seconds, you might be able to come to the conclusion that your petty comeback doesn’t do sh*t to resolve to conflict and actually adds fuel to the fire.

So take a moment, not everyone deserves your reaction, so stop being so petty.

3) Talk out your issues

Other times people might just get on your nerves and not even KNOW it, and if you don’t speak up but just jump to pettiness, you’re going to give the wrong impression. This is the way many communication issues arise. Someone says something rude and annoying, they’re unknowingly doing it and you just get triggered.

The key here is to talk it out. Mention that the behavior that triggers you is not ok and why you feel that way. Really make an effort to explain yourself. Some people will understand and stop triggering you and stop unknowingly annoying you. Others will scoff and say, “Oh, stop being so sensitive. It was only a joke.”

To those scoffing assholes, bring on the pettiness. It’s ok, as long as you gave them the warning not to trigger you. *wink*

4)Avoid your triggers

And if all else fails and you can’t get those annoying rude people to leave you alone despite telling them, you should probably just avoid them. That’s probably the easiest way on how to stop being petty and learn to be happier. Most of the time pettiness brings negativity into your life so half the time it’s not worth the effort.

Avoid the assholes and the people who are rude and crass. Avoid people who don’t respect boundaries and are just trying to get a rise out of you.

I’m a true believer in karma and bringing positive people into your life through positivity. So avoiding and cutting out people who don’t treat you the way you deserve and only bring out your ugly side sounds like a plan.

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If you like “How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier” Check out these other posts:

How To Be Successful & Be Happy

How To Care Less & Not Care About What People Think

The Power Of Positivity: Live The Good Life

Are Your Friends Fake?

These days I’m a bit of a loner. Not to say I have no friends anymore but I definitely have a better quality friends. It took me a while to figure out that having a lot of friends didn’t mean I had great friendships or that I was a great person to be friends with. During that time when I considered myself pretty popular, most of my friends ended up being fake.

It was a painful realization to know that a majority of my friends were just friends with me because of circumstances, not because they genuinely liked me as a person and valued me in their lives.

The first thing I needed to learn was the difference between friends of circumstance and friends of value.

Friends of circumstance gravitate to you because they enjoy your company AND because you have some shared activity together.

High school friends are a good example. These are people that you saw for maybe four years day in and day out, going to the same school, the same classes and the same activities. It’s easy to build close relationships when you see someone all the time. But they’re still friendships of circumstance. Everyone experiences this. It becomes painfully obvious after high school ends. When everyone goes to different colleges and you see the friendships begins to fade. You don’t get texts as much from them or calls. You start to notice that you’re not getting invited for birthdays or meet up’s. Maybe that friend joined a different group of people, many of which you’re not familiar with. The reality is that most high school friendships end because the circumstances that brought the friendship together is over and then maintaining those friendships start to require work.

This is the main cause for why people perceive certain friendships as fake, especially if you could’ve sworn that the person liked you for you. But they were just circumstantial.

And this is why you’ll see a lot of people stick around their hometown because they have the comfort of their circumstantial friendships. Subconsciously, they know that if they leave the circumstance that created the friendship there’s a chance the friendship will not continue. From what I’ve seen, circumstantial friendships tend to breed complacency, lack of growth and staleness.

Friendships of value are very, very rare. I would say that maybe 1-5% of everyone’s friendships are friendships of value. If you meet a friend like this, it’s good to keep nurturing that relationship because it’s a healthy, honest, no strings attached friendship.

A telltale way of knowing if you have a friendship of value is that no matter how far you go, how many years pass by or how many changes occur in your life, that person is always able to be there for you. Maybe not physically, maybe they live far away, but they make the effort to contact you and share their lives with you. Why would someone do that when they’re no longer in a situation that makes it easy for them to be friends with you? Because they value who you are as a person.

Another way to tell if someone is less than a good friend is if they treat you differently then they treat others.

Some people view their lives as a movie and see their friends as just supporting characters, supporting them. Someone to make them look good, someone to fill the silence in their lives. People who have poor character will NOT make good friends. These people are capable of being kind, friendly and fun but their lack of character will keep them from being good friends in the long term.

For example, you see your friend Emily talk down about another friend that’s going through a rough time-maybe that person is a little strange or shy. You see her talk badly about that other friend behind her back but in person she’s friendly with them. What does that tell you?

That Emily would easily just talk as badly about you as she would about that other person.

Sure, you might shrug it off as just gossip or small talk, but that kind of behavior is very toxic and is sure to rear its head as soon as Emily finds someone better so they can talk about YOU behind YOUR back.

I had a friend like this once. She was very two-faced and I kind of gave her the benefit of the doubt because she never treated me badly. But once she found a friend that she considered “better,” I was the new person gossiped about.

So it’s really important to look at a person’s character even if they don’t treat you badly, if they treat other people badly, to just avoid them and not even bother building a friendship that way. Because it’s only a matter of time before that friendship collapses and you find out that you wasted so much time with a toxic person.

I wish I had better advice to give other than avoiding someone who’s fake. I wish had advice for how to change a friend and make them better. But whether a person is a good friend or not, that’s a choice they need to make for themselves, it’s not something you can help them with.

The important thing for you is to determine if they’re fake or not. And if, after reading this, you find your friends to be circumstantial, self-centered or two-faced, it might be time to manage expectations on how loyal you expect those friends to be.

Why Integrity Matters

My Best Friend Ghosted Me

How To Make A Change in Your Life

How To Interview Well: Tips & Tricks For The Perfect Interview

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I was always a terrible test-taker and on top of that, I’m terrible at interviewing. I just don’t have a gregarious personality. I’m introverted, I don’t smile enough but I know my stuff. Apparently, knowing my stuff doesn’t come across in my interviews if I’m not outgoing.

Personally, I feel like the interviews process is such a terrible way to hire people. There’s so much emphasis placed on interviews over resumes. How much can you really know about someone after 10 to 30 minutes of talking to them? Often times the smooth talkers and the more extroverted interviewees get preference just because they interview well. For me, I’ve gone as far as avoiding changing toxic jobs just because I don’t want to go through the interview process. It’s a nightmare. As I’m sure it is for a lot of people. But over the years I’ve gotten better. I’ve come to terms that it’s a necessary part of life like driving or Christmas with the in-laws, might as well get good at it.

Here Are The Things That I’ve Learned Along The Way:

1) Research The Company In Advance, Including Your Interviewer

Dig deep and find out everything you can about the company. Check the company website and look up the person who will be interviewing you. Google any news about them. This research will help you to come up with reasons as to why you’re a good fit for the position. Why is it important to research? Because you want to be prepared. One of the main questions interviewers ask is, “why do you want to work here?” Understanding the companies history, their current projects, what’s happening in the news will help you link your experience with why you want to work there. Since most candidates don’t put in this effort, this will separate you from the pack and help you be memorable.

2) Check Glass Door, Yelp, Linkedin and Indeed For Information.

This interview is also about finding out if this is the right position for you. Often times, people take jobs without thinking about the culture of the company, the work environment, or the benefits. It’s essential to find that out as early as possible so you could bring these questions to the interview. Glassdoor and Indeed are both great ways to get insider information on what it’s like to work at a company. Nearly every major company has a profile on Glassdoor or Indeed. There you can find out about benefits, interview questions, the salary and what current and former employees think about working there. Yelp is also a really great tool to find out more about what it would be like to work there. Customers play a major role in your work environment. What they think about the service or the product matters. With Yelp, you can find out if the company is organized or easy to deal with. I also recommend checking LinkedIn and looking at the profiles of the person interviewing and people who have similar positions as you. Low-key stalking. ?You want to know what kind of background they have. Maybe they have something in common with you that you can bring up casually in the interview. Or maybe they know mutual acquaintances and can help with networking and getting your foot in the door before the interview. These are all amazing ways to prepare for a successful interview.

3) Dress Business Formal.

No matter the culture of the company, the best thing to do is always dress business formal for an interview. I know that interview clothes can be expensive but getting one outfit that looks fantastic will help you win the job.

I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen women trying to pull off mini dresses as interview appropriate, I’ve seen women wearing weird patterned stockings, I’ve seen men wearing borrowed sports coats with khaki pants to an interview. And though some of these outfits you can get away with, you’re risking the chance that the person who’s interviewing is a very formal, traditional professional and will judge you poorly based on your attire. Always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Women should wear either a pant suit or, preferably, a pencil skirt with a blouse and blazer. For men, all you need to do is invest in a $200 tailored suit and $100 dress shoes and that’ll be your interview outfit for years to come.

4) Prepare Mock Interview Answers And Questions.

The hardest question I’ve ever answered is “So tell me about yourself?” It’s such an open ended question! Where do you begin; how should I tell my story in a way that makes this person want to hire me?

Being able to answer that question and tie it into your experience and who you are is key. Give me questions about my qualifications and my previous experience anytime, it’s the open ended questions that can go anywhere that tend to be the most difficult.

Be prepared for behavioral questions. Things like, “tell me the last time you were challenged at work? Tell me about your weaknesses? Tell me about your strengths? How do you handle disgruntled clients?”

Of course you won’t know all the behavioral questions that could come your way, but preparing yourself to think about how you would react in a situation in relation to getting the job is important for your preparation.

5) What To Do The Day Of.

The day of the interview I like to abstain from coffee. For me, coffee or any caffeine makes me jittery and anxious if I’m already nervous about something. And I’m a nervous Nellie when it comes to interviewing.

I’ll also bring a bottle of water. I tend to get dry mouth when I’m nervous; a lot of people have that sort of reaction to nervousness. Nothing is the more distracting than hearing my own lips smack together while I’m trying to have a conversation, so I bring water to keep myself hydrated and even break up the conversation. Take a sip here and there if I need to think about an answer. I also make sure I have everything I need in terms of my resume. I’ll look it over one more time to make sure it’s flawless and doesn’t need an update.

Finally, I’ll just relax. You’ve already done the hardest part of preparing and if it doesn’t work out then it wasn’t a good fit. No need to torment yourself and cause more anxiety by worrying about how the interview will go. Just getting to the interview process is an accomplishment in itself.

6) Interview Etiquette.

This is really more of the basics of shaking hands when you meet someone, making a lot of eye contact and smiling.

I would also recommend using the interviewers name during the conversation. Using someone’s name frequently helps make the conversation feel familiar, friendlier, and casual.

Having a firm handshake is also important. A strong handshake is the first indicator of confidence. Don’t go with the limp or killer handshake. Practice in advance if you’re unsure of what kind of handshake you have.

7) After The Interview:

Send a thank you note. Recap what was discussed and just remind the interviewer why you’re a fit for the company. Thank you notes are professional, nice and a good reminder for an interviewer who has probably met with half a dozen people already.

Follow up on whether you received the position. Any more than once is considered desperate. If the person wanted to hire you, chances are there would be no need for a follow up. But the follow up is mainly to keep on their radar. If they tell you you haven’t received the job, you should express interest in any of future positions.

Let go. Sometimes you go on an interview, send follow up notes, send thank you notes and you never hear back. It’s hard, especially when it’s your dream job or you’ve been out of work for a while, but it’s important for you to keep a positive attitude. Sometimes that means letting go of negative feelings from past interviews.

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Interviews are nerve-wracking. It’s scary to go in front of a stranger knowing they’re judging you from what you look like, what you sound like to what’s on your resume. At the end of the day, you have to be positive and understand that it’s a numbers game. Eventually if you play your cards right with excellent interview skills, you’ll get a job that’s the right fit and the right pay. These tips will help you increase your odds to help you find the right position.

Check Out My Other Posts

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Tags Interview question and answer, interview help, second interview, phone interview, how to face interview, how to get a great interview

Pretty Privilege: The Power Of Beauty

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Photo courtesy @longlifephotography

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And for the most part it is, I’ve never been one to believe that beauty played a major role in whether you can maintain a relationship. Like attracts like. With marriage and relationships, they aren’t reserved to the most beautiful of us, though it can help.

Being attractive, as studies have shown, can help in many different ways. Attractive people are considered funnier, more likable, and smarter than Plain Jane or Joe Shmoe, regardless of whether those attributes are true or not. This boost in perception is often called pretty privilege, the belief that attractiveness can open doors and better treatment. There are all types of privilege- white privilege, male privilege, rich privilege etc. But pretty privilege is unique in that any gender, race, ethnicity can have it. Some people don’t even know they have it since beauty can be subjective. I spent many years being confused and didn’t know I was considered pretty. If you look in the mirror too many times, you start to see the flaws.

But pretty privilege has an expiration date. Most enjoy this privilege from their late teens to their early 30s, some are blessed to have it even longer.

And when you think about it, pretty privilege gives an advantage for certain jobs like make up artists, instagram models, dancers, actors, hairdressers and any sales positions, etc. First impressions are everything. When you’re going to a job interview the first thing a person knows about you is how you look. That could set the mood for the whole interview and even determine whether you get the job.

I really understood how powerful pretty privilege was when I was helping two supermodels find an apartment. They were in their early 20s and looking for an apartment in East Village, NYC. Talk about a trendy place to live. They were gorgeous people. These women were incredibly beautiful, tall and svelte; I could see why they were super models. One of them did runway shows for fashion week in Paris and the other had a campaign with Gucci. There’s no better example of how pretty privilege can truly change your life because these two women made so much money, more than I will make in half my career. High six figures kind of money, just to take pictures and be beautiful, not to mention all the free stuff they got from the designers and free food they get on set. It seemed like an amazing lifestyle and all based on their beauty and attractiveness. Personality-wise these girls were like anyone else. They were introverted, nice enough, and friendly. Yet I felt drawn to get to know them better, helping out these top models was so cool!

My own experience with pretty privilege was not nearly as all-encompassing. I was actually a very ugly child; scrawny, short, and kind of man-ish. It wasn’t until my late teens and early 20s that I realized that I was conventionally attractive. Youth seems to do that to people, you’ll see older people bring out their photos of when they were young and it’s like wow I can’t believe they used to look like that! That was me in my early 20s, sort of blossoming.

Initially, it felt a bit awkward to have men and even women want to get to know me based on nothing but my appearance. I was conventionally beautiful, but because I was an ugly child for what seemed like a lifetime, the attention seemed fake and false as a young adult. Where were these people when I was plain? I used to try and make friends and it didn’t work since I wasn’t as attractive, now all of a sudden I was interesting to people.

Over the years, people’s kindness became more normal to me. I recognized that had I been less attractive I probably wouldn’t get the same amount of attention, but I figured I might as well take advantage while I can. Youth only happens once.

Things people would do that they probably wouldn’t have had I remained unattractive:

1. Give me seats on public transportation when its standing room only.

2. Free food: sometimes as an add on to what I ordered.

3. Free drinks.

4. VIP admission to clubs.

5. Offered to study with me in college (I wasn’t particularly smart or outgoing)

6.. Buy me stuff from small trinkets to tickets to shows.

The attention was really intense from 19-24, then started to level off at 24 after I married, and definitely has leveled off at 30.

Over time I realized that being considered pretty did have some pitfalls. It’s hard to be pretty.  It was hard to feel close to other women, there was a sense of competition from them and sometimes jealousy. It was also hard to know whether someone was being really generous out of the kindness of their heart or whether it came from a place of attraction. After a while, I just started to assume attraction was the motivation for male kindness; I had met too many men who held expectations in return.

Beauty is also fleeting. I always knew that and never had my self-esteem tied with my outward appearance. Now that I’m 30, it’s clear to me that my most beautiful days are behind me. Everyone in this world gets older; they get a little more tired, they get wrinkles and their hair starts to gray. And though good looks last only a while, it’s taught me to value my other qualities and aspects of my personality above my physical appearance.

Pretty privilege is a gift that you might’ve been given, no different from being born to the right family or in the right country. But just like any other opportunity, it’s what you make out of it that counts. And though it lasts only a short time, a lot can be done in those years you’re considered most beautiful. So consider your beauty a gift, whatever beauty you have, and seize the day to build a future ahead.

Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 18

What Does It Take To Be Charismatic and Likeable?

My Experience Shopping High End Luxury

Tags: How to be pretty, look pretty, how to be prettier, being gorgeous, you look pretty, pretty girl problems, pretty sucks, become gorgeous.