Puberty

Attitude to one’s own physical appearance

Although we are basically social creatures, experience of being rejected or excluded by the social environment may lead to withdrawal or avoidance of future social interactions aiming at protecting from or preventing possible negative experience.

In today’s culture of life, physical appearance is one of the most important attraction determinants among people. It plays an important role in creating the image and impacts on the quality of social interactions and development of relationships. Therefore people are very concerned about their appearance in the initial social encounter. They also have expectations about whether they are going to be accepted or rejected, based on their appearance.

 

Fear of social rejection

Although we are basically social creatures, experience of being rejected or excluded by the social environment may lead to withdrawal or avoidance of future social interactions aiming at protecting from or preventing possible negative experience.

Some individuals are especially sensitive to the possibility of social rejection. They become anxious, tense and worried in contacts, and expect to be rejected, which is the reason why they tend to avoid others. Such attitude will highly probably lead to others experiencing them as inapproachable, uninterested, indisposed, just the behaviours which they feel horrified by.

Alienation from others, withdrawal and ‘protection’ deprives them from possible positive experience, like acceptance, receiving support and understanding. In other words, although avoidant reactions can momentarily reduce anxiety, in the long term they aggravate the feeling of being rejected and negatively impact on the image we create about ourselves.


Feeling of self-esteem

The image we create about ourselves influences the feeling about both our appearance and our expectations. Thus, someone with higher self-esteem will know that it is normal not to be liked by everybody and will be able to perceive possible rejection as not being personal, while less self-confident individuals experience rejection as the sign that something is wrong with them due to their poor self-image.

Dissatisfaction with one’s own appearance is closely connected with the feeling of self-esteem and it is frequently the cause of crises in the youth. Self-esteem and self-satisfaction largely depend on how much one is appreciated by important others. Dissatisfaction is sometimes so pronounced that some will use the exit strategy of undergoing plastic surgery, believing that the change of physical appearance will solve other issues. Sometimes the youth try to attract attention with their physical appearance (conspicuous hair colour, extravagant clothes).

What should be done is changing negative and acquiring positive thinking about one’s own strengths and positive relationships with close persons in one’s social environment which may help in a better acceptance of oneself. Such attitudes may help leave a better, more good-looking impression.