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Almost all of us struggle with how we feel about ourselves. It doesn’t matter if our experiences are about feeling chubby, skinny, awkward, dorky, short, socially unskilled, or weird. We may have grown up feeling insecure, but many of these perceptions follow us into our adulthood.

Hopefully, we have taken opportunities to explore how those feelings can have a negative effect on our self-esteem and worked to heal from these experiences. If we can work through these, we can develop inner strength and be grateful that we lived through these difficult times to become stable, successful, and happy people.

Unfortunately, some of us have not taken the effort to work on our inner challenges and instead spend the energy and time to create an outward appearance of confidence. Often these people still struggle internally with all the issues that caused them to feel terrible about themselves in the first place and continue to experience trauma as life goes on.

There are many who choose to cover their unhappiness, depression, or suicidal intent by building a better looking outside. Regrettably, very few around them would ever suspect that they are miserable or considering ending their own life. This private hell is due to their own choices to create an image of stability and strength so that people around them have little idea about how sad and desperate they are inside.

Their feelings of isolation are an unfortunate product of their own creation. Because they don’t feel comfortable reaching out for help or admitting that they want support, no assistance is offered to them, and they are often left alone to be tortured in their own minds and hearts. Sadly, many of them never get what they want or need from people who care about them.

Mirrors don’t lie. When we look at our reflection, the truth usually stares back at us. Regardless if we attempt to cover up our inadequacies by building an impressive outward appearance or telling others that we are living an awesome life, we are painfully aware that our happiness is somewhat of a façade.

The truth is that inside, we may still be living the life of that tortured, sad little kid. This inner child who continues to exist in most of us often dictates how we engage with our surrounding world. If this kid is unhappy, we are prone to experience frustration, anger, and a slew of other emotions that disrupt our enjoyment of life. Even if our inner child has been hurt in the past, helping them to heal can produce comforting inner strength, confidence, and healthy ways of interacting with people and situations.

Our society often supports the idea that if you look stable and successful then that image most often matches how you feel internally. The flip-side is that often people who look or act like they are hurting or ask for help can get attention from others to aid them in getting through rough spots. At the very least, they may get a supportive hug or gain some assistance to address what is currently challenging them.

As people create a type of strong-looking avatar, they may get praise for seeming confident, attractive, or successful. Some may consider them worthy of praise or envy. The unfortunate reality is that they are secretly living their life in anguish. Putting out this false, constructed image usually causes devastation in someone’s life. It may turn into the only way they can function or survive their daily interactions with others.

We all have a desire to be liked by others, and most of us fear rejection and judgement from those around us. We search for acceptance from attractive, powerful, or dynamic people while working to fit into whatever social circle we find desirable. Some of these cliques seem to require a rocking body or fancy lifestyle to be accepted. Most often, confidence and being socially engaging can make you significantly more attractive to people. It’s better to actually feel confident, but many times acting as if you are feeling strong can get you through uncomfortable situations.

Over time and with consistent practice, you will hopefully feel more comfortable with those elements that caused your insecurity in the past. It takes work to overcome things that trouble you. We all search for groups that accept and appreciate us. In the best situations, people would enjoy our company, sense of humor, and quirks.

We may also strongly fear being rejected from these people. There are times when it is hard to admit that we are emotionally fragile and can be deeply hurt when feelings of insecurity are brought up. They can come out of the blue, and bad feelings don’t have to be brought on by a huge conflict. A passing comment can cause an emotional meltdown that can end with a dramatic exit from an event or retreating to feel miserable alone.

Some people feel incredibly insecure about who they are, lack of achievements, love handles, a bad haircut, or how they deal with life challenges. There are so many aspects about ourselves that we may not like. For many of us, it is significantly easier to identify faults in ourselves before we feel comfortable discussing our strengths. We can all aspire to be the strong, independent, and charismatic person that people are drawn to, but may struggle with the best ways to achieve this. The main trick is to develop confidence without burying the past. You can’t forget the hardships we went through that caused us to adapt and accept our limitations at that time. It may still hurt us when we think about these, but they are part of our history and cannot be erased.

We might have been raised feeling awkward, weak, scared, ignored, beat down, mocked, or generally unhappy. People may go to the gym to change their body types, while others may work to overcome feelings of inadequacy from growing up in challenging situations. As we mature, some focus on activities to ensure that these terrible experiences are not replicated in our adult lives.

We may also struggle with determining our strengths and what could make us attractive to others. Most of us have difficulty finding beauty and confidence in ourselves. Hopefully we have achieved a balance between physical attractiveness combined with a kind heart, warm smile, and a stunning personality. There is also nothing wrong with wanting to attract those same types of people into our lives. Concerns develop when the important qualities of perceiving ourselves or others as sexy focuses more on muscles and a chiseled jawline than on being a good person. We risk putting more importance on appearance than what lies underneath the surface.

Cultural phenomenons such as Facebook and Instagram can encourage some people to create an online image. Pictures of great bodies and laughter with friends show the sides of people’s lives that they want to share. Don’t be fooled, because this is not anyone’s real life. It is only snapshots that do not show everything. There are many other aspects of living that are not shown in these arenas. Other people’s perception of these people living a charmed life rarely match what is going on in reality. Some compare their own lives to these people and end up feeling more depressed and unhappy with their own situations.

We can develop tools to deal with past issues that have caused pain and insecurity instead of working to convince ourselves and others around us that everything is just peachy and nothing negative affects us. It’s time to get out the hammer, chisel, and trash bag to start breaking apart this fake image of strength and start building yourself back up from the inside out.

Don’t forget about the struggles we have endured. They prove to us that we can live through rough times and still have the ability to thrive in our lives. Claiming that painful feelings don’t exist doesn’t make them hurt any less. It is ultimately more important to strengthen our souls and heal from past hurt than to deny that we ever struggled. This admission can help us become more honest and authentic with ourselves and others around us while giving us better opportunities for stability, happiness, and success in our lives.

In a world of style over substance, it is easy to fall into these patterns. Putting on pretty wrapping paper to cover up a box of crap does not make a worthwhile present. We can work on accepting ourselves for where we are today. It may not be the perfect vision of what we want, but it can be good enough for now, and we can continue to work on ourselves to make our lives better. Don’t waste energy creating a new persona or beating yourself up unnecessarily over those things that cause you to feel badly about yourself. Work on creating the best true you, not just a costume to cover yourself up.