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How you look

Body image is what you think about your own body and how you feel about the way you look. It's normal to worry about how you look sometimes.

How you look - girl with head in handsIs it normal to worry about the way I look?

It's normal to worry about the way you look sometimes, especially as you grow and go through puberty.

There can be a lot of pressure to look a certain way and fit in with everyone else.

In films, music videos and magazines everyone seems to look a certain way and have perfect skin. In real life it's not like that.

If you look around you will see that everyone is different. Thinking that you have to look like someone else can make you feel bad about yourself.

What things do people worry about?

People worry about lots of things. These include:

- feeling too thin or too fat
- feeling too tall or too short
- feeling embarrassed about pimples
- feeling unhappy about wearing glasses
- feeling like your clothes don't suit you
- being unhappy about your skin colour
- being unhappy about your hair
- thinking your breasts are the wrong size
- thinking your private parts look wrong.

If you feel down it can help to talk about it. You could talk to a counsellor or to other young people on our message boards. You can also ask an adult for help or talk to a doctor if you wanted to.

Things you could do to feel better about yourself

1. Don't compare yourself to other people - everyone is different.
2. Ignore any negative or mean comments from other people - if you can't ignore them, try talking to someone about it to help it stop.
3. Find something you do like about yourself. Once you have found one thing you are more likely to find more things.
4. Share your thoughts with other young people on our message boards - it could be that they feel similar to you and can support you.
5. Focus on other things about yourself, like the hobbies you enjoy or things you are good at - this can help build your confidence and self-esteem.

  • I'm being bullied because of how I look. What can I do?

    It can be really hard if you're bullied because of the way you look. Being called names or being treated badly because of your appearance, race, culture or sexuality is wrong. You have the right to get support so that the bullying can stop.

    You could:
    - talk to someone you trust about what is happening
    - talk to a ChildLine counsellor for support
    - ask an adult for help, like a parent or teacher.

    Find out more about bullying, racism and emotional abuse.

  • I feel pressured to change how I look. What can I do?

    Sometimes it can feel like other people want you to look a certain way or you feel like you have to look different. For example:
    - friends or family wanting you to change your clothing style so you look more like them
    - people at school saying you don't fit in with them
    - being told to lose or gain weight
    - comparing yourself to people on TV, music videos and stuff you see online
    - your boyfriend or girlfriend telling you to wear makeup, change your hairstyle or remove some body hair.

    It is useful to think about what is important to you and what feels right for you. If you always try to copy other people or change for them, it can be hard to be yourself and feel comfortable. It takes time but often if you accept things about yourself, you feel happier. Find out about being assertive so you can say exactly how you feel if someone is pressuring you.

    You can talk to a counsellor, get support from young people on our message boards or write a letter to Sam for advice.

Other sites that can help

TheSite has lots of useful advice, from dry lips and dandruff to spots and scars.

Brook has information about private parts and what these look like.

Things you like about yourself

Why not post a message on the message board or take a look at what others have written?

Go to the message boards

Worried about how you look?

'Even if you haven't asked Sam a question someone else has, there is bound to be one similar to yours.'

Ask Sam

How did this help?

How did this information about how you look help you?

How you look 


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