Hi, so I am new to this place and I am still a bit confused about how it works but I think I do need some help with something that I recently came to realise. Today my mother came to my room and as we were talking she got a little closer. I was feeling uncomfortable but I just stepped away as I usually do. And then she asked me why. But I’ve never thought about that. I just usually avoid being close to people. And it’s cause I always thought I was gross, smelled bad, I just think I am generally unatractive to people. I am a part of a dancing group and when I was younger there were older people that used to bully me. Whenever somebody from their group of friends had to be next to me, they always laughed at each other, looking at me with disgust, they would say that I smell bad, that I am ugly and laugh with eachother at me. They were the typical popular kids, I was a few years younger and as I am in a highschool related to math and I compete in this field, my reputation is that I am a loser, a nerd. But I do dislike their kind of behavior so I never had the urge to try and fit in just to be liked by people that I dislike myself. I still dance to this day, but some of this people are no longer a part of this group. And as I’ve grown up, they stopped bullying me like before. I’ve found my group of friends, I feel more confident, or so I thought. I am extremely self-conscious of the way i smell, the way I look, I always bring my parfume with me, I always have some gum on me, I avoid being close to people. I wouldn’t say I am fat, but I guess I am a bit chubby, I am 1.75 and around 73kg, like I am not overweight but I feel so big, especially in comparisson to the girls around my age. I am almost 18 now but I haven’t been in a relationship, nor have I kissed anybody. I’ve liked some boys but I’ve never felt comfortable. I just can’t imagine how someone can be that close to you. Even when somebody leans closer to me when we are doing something together, I always try to keep my distance, as I am afraid, that I smell bad or that they would see how ugly I am. Even with my close friends I struggle to allow them close to me, just like hugging eachother, sitting close to one another. I find it very scary. It’s been hard for me to find friends because I’m always afraid of letting them close to me and It’s very hard to relax around people. I’ve been wearing glasses for 6 years and whenever I take them off, I feel like everybody is constantly staring at me and thinking how ugly I am. Even like standing near my classmates or like hugging when we see eachother. I feel good when I chose my outfit for the day but the moment I go out ,I feel disgusting, like I am so fat, ugly, gross. I don’t want this to stop me from living my best life. I can see how I distance myself from people and I don’t think that this way I’ll ever be able to be in a relationship, or even have a real close friendship. I am ok with talikng but when it comes to being comfortable with eachother, I just can’t. People have said that they generally like me, like I am not a confrontational person, I try to be as kind and helpful as possible. Just some of them thought that I disliked them because of how distanced I am. I don’t know what to do. I want to fix this. I don’t want to feel this way whenever I am in public. Can someone recommend me something, I really have no idea what to do with myself. The quarantine isn’t helping, I’ve put on some weight but this is nothing in comparisson to the things people are going through and I fully support social distancing. I know that my problem isn’t that important, especially in this situation. I just can’t seem to calm myself and I really needed to find a place where I can share what’s on my mind. My mom says that this is wrong, that she’s never even thought that I smell bad, that this is not in my head. But I guess I need somebody else that is not related to me to calm me down. Of course no one can see me, I just wanted to get it out od my head ans perhaps find a way to controll this and with time to become more comfortable with letring people close to me. I wish you all a very nice and happy day. I am sorry, I wish you all the good in the world and that all tour family and close ones are safw, healthy and happy
Hi there! First of all, let me tell you, you are very articulate! You explained your situation very clearly and with great insight and awareness. It shows that you are a reflective person, and that means that sometimes you can overthink things, but also you can reflect on yourself and think about how to change things into better. Please keep cultivating this skill of self-reflection, as it will be useful to you later in life when you’ll think about how to solve certain problems or situations, since it will help you find solutions for yourself, and tailored specifically on yourself, more easily. Also, I’m very sorry to hear that you were bullied when you were younger. I was too, and it was awful. In the end, it helped me become the person I am, so I have come to accept it as an experience and try to learn and grow from it. But this took a long time, and it still doesn’t change how awful it was. So I’m really sorry you had to go through this – no one should have to – but I hope that one day you’ll be able to feel like you’re past it, and that you’ve grown stronger because of it. As for this issue, it seems that you’re very self-conscious, which is quite common – I am too. That is something which takes time to overcome, and even so, it doesn’t really go away, though you can learn to manage it. I’m 24 now, and I remember being a mess when I was 18. It took me a while to find my style, my natural way of being, and my comfort zone. Still, sometimes when I shave I can feel very self-conscious about whether my beard is even, or too long, or not tidy enough etc. I find having music or watching something while doing that helps me relax and not hyperfocus on all my imperfections – which by the way only exist in my mind. That is something to consider too, that we often perceive ourselves as worse than we are. There is a famous video on YouTube of people describing people they’ve just met to an artist or something like that, and the artist draws the person, and then the person sees their drawing of themselves, and they find themselves to look more beautiful than they would think themselves to be. So yeah, often there is a bias in our judgment, and it tends to be towards the negative. A bit like when we think about the past we can often remember the bad stuff but not the good things, or when we talk about ourselves we often say how awful we are but we never acknowledge our good qualities. These are also called thinking traps. I recommend you like them up. One of them is also something like projecting stuff that’s not there onto people, like when you say that they must be looking at you and thinking how ugly you are. Why? It’s just a feeling, it’s irrational. And it’s hard to let go of it, but you have to try, and with time, it will become easier. As harsh as it sounds, time will really help you grow and find your true form and your place in the world. Heck, I’m 24 and I’m still trying to do that! But I feel like I’ve definitely gone places since I was 18. So, be kind to yourself, and have faith. Also, keep working on that self-reflection, and look into things like thinking traps or cognitive distortion. And try to acknowledge more all the lovely things about yourself. As for closeness/distance, that’s very personal. I also don’t like to keep too close to people. Things have become a lot easier in terms of social anxiety etc, but I still like to keep my distance – boundaries, as people call them. To an extent, there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people like to be very close when they speak to you. I hate it. If they get closer, I’ll slowly but surely, and subtly, step away. If they ask me why, I’ll say I don’t like being too close to people. There’s nothing wrong with saying that. If anything, it’s important for you to establish it and own it, that you prefer to keep your boundaries. It’s important that you’re comfortable in your own skin. Anyone and anything else can sod off. Sure, it’s a shame that you don’t feel as comfortable being close or having physical displays of affection with your mother or your close friends. But that is also something that will come with time. Or not. I mean, it will definitely improve. But even if you still find it hard at times, you can always learn to manage it. Of course, now it’s not the best time to practise this, but if you have a close friend or family member, perhaps you could tell them about this and ask them if they’ll let you practice on them. Simple stuff, like sitting next to each other, side by side, for 2 minutes. Then 3. Then 5. Then in front of each other. Then a hug. It will be super difficult and awkward at first. But little by little, you will ease to it. And even if you don’t the first times, and it takes you a while to get there, not a problem – you did it with a friend, who will understand you and support you, and so even if you didn’t succeed, no worries! Better luck next time. As for bf/gf, that’s also something that will come with time. But if you can build intimacies with friends and family first, then that will prepare you for it. But also not. For some things, it will still be a baptism of fire. I remember my first relationship. It took me ages even just to work up the courage to hold her hand. And kiss? She did it. She asked me to close my eyes, and kissed me. I didn’t even like that much it at first! I’d never had a kiss, it felt strange. Then it got easier with time, like everything else. So, again, even with this, be kind to yourself, but if you want to work on this, do it one step at a time. Try talking about it with your close friends and family members, ask them to help you practise, see how you do. And even if you don’t succeed at first, again, be kind to yourself, and tell yourself you’ll do better next time. Little by little, you’ll get there. Oh and by the way, even though the smell thing is probably in your head, why not try a different type of body wash or shampoo? One with a nice fragrance, like your perfume. Or maybe a nice hydrating creme that’s scented how you like it. You don’t need these things to be comfortable in your skin, but if it helps you feel like it – more like yourself, if you know what I mean – then that’s great! Even I for example have a scent of deodorant or a brand of bath stuff that I really like, and I feel great after I’ve had a shower and done my face routine etc. I use mainly Dove and Nivea, if that helps! It takes time to figure out what works for you, what helps you feel more like yourself, and at ease with it. But when you do, it feels great! And that’s also part of self-care. Anyway, I hope you’ll find this helpful! Have a lovely rest of your day :)
Thanks a lot for your advice and everything you shared. It was very comforting and I do feel a lot better after reading it and as some time, even a few hours, have passed since. It feels reasuring to know that things get better, I’m hoping that with time I’ll get comfortable with myslef and with what I need and want. I really apreciate your reply. Thank you with all my heart.