I’ve al­ways been in­se­cure about my body, and feel un­com­fort­able when any­one com­pli­ments my ap­pear­ance. It’s al­ways so awk­ward and I never know what to say. How should I be re­spond­ing?

Cosmopolitan (India) - - YOU, YOU, YOU -


We tend to feel un­com­fort­able with praise that goes against how we see our­selves. To feel more at ease, first try to un­der­stand what lies be­hind your dis­com­fort. Re­mind yourself that ac­cept­ing a com­pli­ment is a com­pli­ment it­self. Re­hearse a re­sponse; a smile and a thank you can suf­fice. You could also use the com­pli­ment to fur­ther the con­ver­sa­tion: ‘Thanks! Have you ever been to that hair­dresser?’. A com­pli­ment is some­one see­ing value in you, and that’s some­thing that you should al­ways strive to see in yourself.

Q: I’ve al­ways had big breasts and, frankly, it’s a strug­gle. They’re the first thing people no­tice about me and men feel they can make rude com­ments. Plus I get treated like a bimbo (who could have these boobs

be in­tel­li­gent)!


It’s amaz­ing how people feel it’s okay to pass com­ments on a woman’s ap­pear­ance, as­sum­ing she’s be­ing sex­u­alised and made the ob­ject of de­sire. But you should bear in mind that how you act, what you say and what you value about yourself will out­weigh any first im­pres­sions. Speak con­fi­dently, hold eye con­tact and if some­one says any­thing dis­re­spect­ful, con­front them and tell them how it makes you feel. En­sure you’re clear about what you ex­pect from the per­son you’re in­ter­act­ing with by be­ing who you re­ally are, rather than what some­one else ex­pects you to be.

Q: My boyfriend means ev­ery­thing to me and we have a great time to­gether. But over time, he’s gained a lot of weight. While I still love him, now I’m not at­tracted to him. He’s gone on a cou­ple of di­ets and ex­er­cise regimes, but they never last. I think he should be mak­ing more of an ef­fort, be­cause I make an ef­fort for him. A:

The fact that he’s tried di­ets and ex­er­cise regimes sug­gests he too is prob­a­bly un­happy with his weight gain— but it isn’t al­ways easy to lose weight. Talk to him about any strug­gles with man­ag­ing your own health/weight is­sues, and frame the con­ver­sa­tion in terms of what you can do to­gether to sup­port each other. Don’t make it into an ‘I don’t find you at­trac­tive’ is­sue. In­stead, be part of the so­lu­tion: cook health­ier meals and find ac­tive habits you can en­joy as a cou­ple.

Q: I’ve just had my first baby and my body has changed so much—my stomach is cov­ered in stretch marks, and I’m so con­scious of how I look. A:

Your stretch marks are a com­mon re­sponse to preg­nancy (which are, in­ci­den­tally, shared by about 80% of all women who have given birth). There’s a lot you can do from the out­side: laser treat­ments, gly­colic acid, der­mabra­sion, and cer­tain pre­scrip­tion retinoids. But work on the in­side too: you’ve earned those stretch marks—they’re a sign of your mother­hood. Wear them with a sense of en­ti­tle­ment, not shame, and re­mem­ber: stretch marks aren’t life-chang­ing; hav­ing your baby, how­ever, is.

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