Q&A for Teens: Stop Staring at Me
People always stare at me because I’m beautiful and I hate it.
People always stare at me. Mostly guys. I hate it. I know I’m beautiful, but I feel so uncomfortable when people do it. I know I can’t control it and wearing a bag over my head won’t help, but isn’t there something I can do?
Lauren Roth's Answer
“So this is how the other half lives.” That phrase is usually used to describe the experience of a poor person encountering the lifestyle of the rich and famous for the first time, or, conversely, used to describe the feelings of a very wealthy person encountering the lifestyle of the poor for the first time. Because I am privileged to hear people’s inner thoughts and emotions all day, I can tell you: that phrase describes everyone’s reaction when they hear from me that the people they envy and want desperately to emulate also have problems and issues because of their situation. You think having people not look at you would be better; people who are of average beauty think they’d be happier “if only” people would look at them with admiration.
Everyone thinks their life would be so much better “if only” it were different. I have a better idea. If everyone reading this (including you, dear questioner) would embrace their own life and their own experiences as they are now, we would all be happier. It’s accepting and welcoming and loving what is, instead of fighting reality.
Maybe you wish you weren’t as beautiful as you are. Well, God gave you beauty. Maybe another reader wishes he had different parents than he does. Well, God gave him the parents He gave him. Maybe another reader wishes people would love her just for her, and not for her money. Well, God gave her money. And maybe (just maybe) some other readers are desperate to have money. Well, you don’t have it right now. But either we can rail against reality, and in the process stress ourselves out and make ourselves extremely unhappy, or we can accept reality as it is, learn to love the reality that is our life, and use it for the betterment of ourselves and the people around us. Fighting what is is always a losing battle. Accepting what is will bring you peace.
So God gave you beauty. When people stare at you in awe and admiration, you can make their day/week/month/year/life by gifting them with a smile from your beautiful face. When people are recognized and smiled upon by beautiful people, it lifts them up.
Another point: beautiful people often use their beauty as a crutch. They neglect to cultivate the other aspects of their being, and instead rely on their beauty to carry them through their lives. Your question indicates to me that you recognize both your beauty and its potential pitfalls. Instead of decrying your beauty, accept it, enjoy it, use it to make others feel beloved by your smiling at them and being kind towards them, and develop other parts of yourself, too. Make sure not to abandon your intellect, the force of your personality, your wit and humor, your sense of responsibility. Accept and welcome your beauty, but realize that it is only one piece of the totality of you.
Remind yourself: “I am so much more than my beautiful face. I am so much more than just my body.”
Your recognition of that will help your feelings of discomfort when people stare at you. If you feel objectified by people’s stares, remind yourself: “I am so much more than my beautiful face. I am so much more than just my body.” Then back up that thought with a concrete action: go read a book, or do a kindness for someone else, or study hard for a test or do some other such responsible action.
You are not only your looks. When people stare, you can say in your mind as a mantra: “I am so much more than my beautiful face. I am so much more than just my body.” You will be building within yourself the strength to overcome your discomfort, and helping yourself have the strength to gift the gawkers with a smile and a kind word.
People are looking at you because humans are attracted to beauty. We want to look at a lovely building, a gorgeous sunset, a stunning view, attractive colors, and beautiful people. Your beauty can be very positive. If you become, say, a teacher or a speaker or even a businesswoman who runs meetings, people will be able to learn from you or to sit in a meeting with you and have a pleasant aesthetic experience while doing so.
Your beauty is not bad. I would dare say that your recoiling from people staring at your beauty is based on some trauma you’ve had. Please understand: trauma does not have to be earth-shattering to have a major impact on our psyche. “Trauma” can be very subtle in our lives. I would actually propose that most people have suffered trauma of one kind or another — some more obvious, and some so subtle that we don’t, perhaps, even realize we’ve suffered it. In your case, perhaps someone didn’t love you for you, but made you feel as though they only valued you based on your looks? Or perhaps someone sexualized you and objectified you and made you feel like a “thing” and not a person? Or perhaps you were sexually abused? All of those traumas — even if they were subtle in your life — could make you feel as though your beauty is a liability. But it is not.
Your beauty is a gift which can help you do much good in the world. I would recommend examining the traumatic experiences you’ve had because of your beauty, so you can then recognize your beauty for the benefit that it is in your life.
Accept your gift, and build on it.