How to hate your appearance: three quick tips

Ruth Onyirimba

Women’s Studies and English professor Kim O’Neill conducts unofficial polls in her classes regarding many topics, including body image. As it turns out, the results aren’t always pretty (pun definitely intended). To administer the polls, she would ask students to lay their heads down on the table, then to raise their hands if they felt particularly pleased about their appearances.

“It saddens me that whenever I do this, only a few students—sometimes only one!—will raise a hand,” O’Neill said.

As it turns out, the results of O’Neill’s polls are consistent with the statistics. According to, 91 percent of women aren’t satisfied with the way they look. What I came to realize was that there are several things that we do on a daily basis to make things harder on ourselves. Here’s three:

1. Comparison.

They say that comparison is the killer of joy, and I can’t say I disagree. Unfortunately, it turns out that there will always be someone taller, shorter, less muscular, more muscular, wider or slimmer than you are. However, although that may be true, there are many other features that come to your benefit, friend. Your appearance, or even that one feature of your appearance, that you despise doesn’t make you any less handsome or beautiful – but comparison won’t tell you that.

2. Lack of recognition.

Have you ever been pissed off at those beautiful people who talk about how much they hate their [insert feature here]? That, my dear, is you.

Like I said, there are many features that you have that make you a stunning individual, but sometimes we lose sight of those things. It’s okay to give yourselves compliments every once in a while. What’s more, it’s also okay not to disagree with the compliments that come your way.

3. Repeat.

A lot of the things we say about ourselves today are the result of habits that have been formed, maybe even years earlier. For example, some might have the habit of saying “ew” or “gross” every time they see a photo of themselves, others may let out an aggravated sigh every time they stand in front of a mirror, etc. Reader, this is the conclusion I’ve come to: as long as you are in the habit of expressing self-disapproval, you will struggle to consciously approve of yourself. I strongly believe that there is a lot of power in the words we speak, so to say self-destructive things on a regular basis may lead to your own demise.