Hey teenage-me, this is for you!

What would you say to your puberty-you? Looking back, Luisa thinks that her struggles with feeling beautiful were ridiculous.

Story by Luisa Funk

Dear Luisa,

I know that you are struggling with your appearance and your self-image is pretty bad. You feel anything but beautiful. And I remember why you feel that way. I know that since puberty you started to compare yourself to others and became insecure. Then there are those comments from classmates in high school. Not many, but they hit you even harder. Hearing something like, “you look like a witch” or “you have a witch’s nose” hurts. It still hurts today.

These random comments shape the way you think about yourself. Your self- esteem and self-confidence becomes low. You think you are not beautiful and therefore not as popular as other girls in your class. Then you start thinking about what you want to change about yourself because you think you are not enough. You have always been of normal weight, but now you are convinced that you have to lose weight to get recognition and reputation. Your physique is the only thing you can change. The rest, like your hated nose, you cannot, because obviously at 14, cosmetic surgery is no option.

Today, I would not even consider all that, because I learned to love you the way you are. Luckily, I had three good friends to talk to about my self-doubt. They made me realise that my personality and my inner beauty is much more important than my appearance. Then it clicked in my head. You should never let others decide how much you are worth. Looking back at my thoughts now, I think they were nonsense. Your face and your body will still change a lot throughout your whole life. There is no need to already be unhappy with yourappearance at such a young age.

I would like to share a few things with you that I would have liked you to know earlier. First of all: Beauty comes from the inside. I know, it’s a phrase you don’t like to hear, but it’s true. As soon as you start to find yourself gorgeous you are going to radiate that outward. If you start to love yourself, you are no longer concerned about what others might think about you or comment on you. You gain self-confidence and the others around you are going to recognize this. Your personality is so mesmerising, so start loving it and do not hide it. And as long as you don’t feel confident yet: Fake it till you make it. It works, believe me. I began to fake my confidence at 18 and since I am 20 I have been confident.

My final advice: Your look is what makes you unique. If we all had the same figure or the same nose, that would be really boring. Everything that is apart from ‘the norm’ makes you stand out of the crowd and people are going to remember you. Never let others tell you what you should look like or how you should feel about your appearance. You get to define your sense of beauty, you define your self-worth. You decide that YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL, no matter what others tell you.

With Love,