Everyone dislikes things about ourselves. Often these are surface level: our hair, noses, ears etc. We may try to hide these parts of ourselves with makeup or clothes that cover particular parts of our bodies. My biggest insecurity at ‘surface level’: I look younger than I am.
This insecurity has fed into a lot of my low confidence since Sixth Form, and even before. No-one has ever said anything purposefully mean; but I get comments on my age every. single. week. I laugh it off, but honestly even the most well meaning jokes stopped being funny years ago.
Within the past few months I have been asked for ID at a library to check I was 16. Last week the petrol station cashier questioned whether I was the driver. I was asked at work if I was on placement from secondary school.
The worst thing is walking around knowing strangers see you as 15. If you see an attractive guy, you know he’s seeing a school girl. It’s depressing, and it really does affect my confidence in talking to strangers.
Here’s some advice: it’s totally fine to be suprised at someone’s age. However, do you really have to act so shocked? And seriously, please don’t ask me if i’m really 22. Yes, I know my own age thank you very much.
One final grumble about my biggest insecurity (I swear, last one), consoling me with ‘you’ll appreciate it when your 80’ is not helpful!
MY 5 tips for staying confident when you look younger than you are
- Get your actual age into the conversation as soon as possible
Obviously not necessary, but if it helps you relax, then get it out of the way early on. I often do this by mentioning my degree, the fact I drive, what I did for my 21st birthday etc.
- Never make a joke out of your age
Once you do this, you’re signalling to others that you don’t mind jokes being made about your age. I fall into this trap constantly. Do yourself a favour, and avoid self-deprecating comments.
- Move on the conversation
If someone does act all shocked about my age I normally laugh and say something like, ‘yup heard that one before’. This shows it is not an original joke and moves on the topic whilst staying polite.
- Consider what you wear
Don’t stress about this. However i’ve found a black, slightly more form fitting outfit paired with low heels is a good bet for that occasion you’d really like to look your age.
- Own your young face
I may look young, but I can still act and talk like a 22 year old. Speak with confidence, and make insightful comments that expose the young adult you are (especially at work and with strangers).
Overcoming your biggest insecurities
At the end of the day, I can’t change my face. Plus low confidence completely exacerbates the issue of looking young. Mumbling sentences and avoiding eye contact? These are not really the characteristics of a 22 year old.
Whatever insecurities you have, particularly at surface level, don’t let them run your life. The people closest to you know how old you are, and that’s all that really matters. Who cares what the cashier thinks?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments with any of your own experiences looking young or tips to stay confident. If you liked this post, definitely check out my other articles on staying confident.
Have a fantastic day x