I really wish I’d been born with a pretty face

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a 16-year-old girl, and I always wonder why I wasn’t born pretty.

I’ve been called ugly since I was a kid. I took an entrance exam for junior high school, and after going to an all-girls school, no one called me ugly anymore.

But then I started wondering what people must think about me, and it takes me back to the horrible things people used to tell me when I was little.

I know it’s not a good idea to compare myself to others, but when I see a girl who’s smart and pretty, I’m miserable, and I keep wondering why I was born like this. If I get a seat on a train, the person next to me might feel uncomfortable sitting next to me, so I try not to sit down.

I know this kind of thinking isn’t healthy. Some might say I should just take up something to improve myself and find something I like to do, but it’s not that simple. What should I do?


Dear Ms. C:

I can’t deny that pretty women have advantages in society. I can understand you are not convinced about the idea of self-improvement, either.

I learned about French women’s makeup skills and found them helpful, so let me introduce them to you. It is said French women do not cover their facial flaws. On the contrary, they apply makeup in a way to emphasize their flaws as well as the good parts of their faces, giving them distinctive and chic features. This helps them feel unique, and distinct from other women.

This is quite different from the general makeup approach by Japanese women. It seems to me that pursuing one’s own originality — instead of average beauty like everyone else does — has much in common with a way of life.

One more thing I would like to add is that human beauty is an expression. There is nothing like the beauty of a human being when they are focused on something and devoted to it to the point that their mind is totally cleared of distractions.

If you were not born with a pleasant face, you must have the individuality and the will to concentrate to make yourself shine.

I was called short and fat in elementary and junior high school, so I always think about individuality and the will to concentrate. People who don’t have a pretty face or a nice figure must strive to find the few good things that they do have and make the most of them.

If you do that, your individuality will begin to shine, and you and others will stop caring about your face.

— Junko Umihara, psychiatrist