“I feel self-con­scious all the time”

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Glamour (South Africa) - - Self - Your re­la­tion­ships Your so­cial life Your sex life

We don’t think there’s a woman alive who can’t iden­tify with this feel­ing – and 63% of those with ap­pear­ance anx­i­ety put it down to feel­ing over­weight, fol­lowed by 62% not feel­ing pretty enough. “Ev­ery­one I work with is gor­geous, fash­ion­able and slim, and I feel like a moose next to them. I’m ob­sessed with my diet, clothes and makeup. It’s hor­ri­ble,” ad­mits Amy, 27.

Could our so­cial me­dia habits be to blame? The un­con­toured cheek­bones of the real world never quite mea­sure up to the art-di­rected, fil­tered feeds of Planet In­sta­gram. Sci­en­tists have found a di­rect cor­re­la­tion between so­cial me­dia use and low self-es­teem. Next time you find your­self be­ing self-crit­i­cal, stop and ask your­self: would you treat a friend like this? Tell your­self what you’d say to them on a down day. “By do­ing this, you’re re­plac­ing the run­ning com­men­tary of self-judge­ment with pos­i­tive think­ing,” re­veals Sa­man­tha. “I con­stantly worry about the health of my age­ing par­ents and whether I see them enough.” – Ag­nieszka, 29 “This is per­fectly nor­mal (57% of fam­ily anx­i­ety re­lates to your par­ents’ health), and your feel­ings will be less trou­bling if you learn not to fight them,” says Sa­man­tha. “Recog­nise your own lim­its.” How can you re­al­is­ti­cally help? And the most im­por­tant thing, whether you live down the road or on an­other con­ti­nent, is to com­mu­ni­cate. “I worry no one will love me and that I’m not wor­thy of a re­la­tion­ship.” – Han­nah, 36 “In this swipe left/right world, there are some flighty peo­ple out there who never try to see beyond first con­tact,” says be­havioural psy­chol­o­gist Jo Hem­mings. The trick is to de­per­son­alise re­jec­tion to pre­serve your self-es­teem. “That’s eas­i­est to do when you sur­round your­self with peo­ple who love you for who you are.” “On my so­cial feeds, all I see are peo­ple out with friends, par­ty­ing. I need a big­ger so­cial cir­cle to make me feel like a real per­son.” – Kirsty, 22 It’s hard to ad­mit to lone­li­ness, but 78% of this group feel lonely or worry they don’t have enough friends. “So­cial me­dia has a way of mak­ing most of us feel in­ad­e­quate,” says Jo. “I take it with a pinch of salt – of­ten, peo­ple’s need to brag about their fab­u­lous life is to con­vince them­selves that they are happy.” “I have a low sex drive, and I spend a lot of time googling ‘Am I nor­mal?’” – Rachel, 34 “Li­bido can fluc­tu­ate for may rea­sons – hor­mones, ill­ness, fa­tigue, med­i­ca­tions and more,” says Jo, which is in­ter­est­ing as 55% of read­ers in this cat­e­gory worry their sex drive is out of sync with their part­ner’s. “But if you re­ally have a per­ma­nently low sex drive, then open up about it. It’s bet­ter to be hon­est when a part­ner may feel re­jected.” “I’m 32, and I don’t feel any­where near ready to have a fam­ily.” – Eva, 32 We’re bom­barded by mes­sages that you must pop out kids while you’re young. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics, the num­ber of women giv­ing birth over 40 has more than tre­bled since 1981. Fer­til­ity ex­pert Dr Geetha Venkat advises go­ing for a fer­til­ity check-up. “This en­ables you to make back-up plans, such as freez­ing your eggs.”

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