Growing up can be a radically different experience for young people, ranging from complete and utter awkwardness to extreme popularity. And all of this depends on a mix of your genes and your lifestyle.
Luckily, even if you’ve had a hard time liking yourself in your teens and early twenties, you can still end up full of confidence and love for how you look later on in life. And the proof is in the r/uglyduckling subreddit where people post photos of themselves where they’re proud to show the world how much they’ve changed. Upvote the photos that caught your eye as you’re scrolling down. Keep in mind that, despite the name of the community, they’re incredibly friendly and nobody thinks that anyone featured in the photos is ‘ugly.’
In the mood for some more wholesome glow-up photos? Bored Panda’s got you covered! Check out our most recent posts about the ‘Ugly Duckling’ online group right here, here, as well as here. Just remember, dear Pandas, we’re all beautiful in our own unique ways, but sometimes it takes some hard-fought changes in our lives and how we look so that we can love ourselves fully. And at the end of the day, that’s what really matters—that we love ourselves, not what others think of how we look.
"When I Loved Pizza & Was Insecure (17)" Versus "Still Love Pizza & Learned To Love Myself (25)"
Sometimes, these changes that bring about more confidence happen all by themselves. However, other times, these are results of hard-fought battles where people drastically change how they live because they want to be proud of themselves and to be held in high regard in society. Remember, just because everyone’s beautiful and unique doesn’t change the reality that human beings prefer people who are more attractive.
14 vs. 36
Used To Be Obese, Depressed, And Bullied. Thankful Of Where I Am Now
That’s why the halo effect is a thing: those who are attractive are also perceived to be more capable and, generally, have it easier in life when it comes to new opportunities. It’s an inherent bias that we all have. So it’s only natural that some people can only be confident about how they look once they’ve also impressed their social circle and their community with their changes.
14-20, Freed My Eyes And Brows, Lost The Belly, Got A Tan
17-27 I Decided That I Didn’t Want To Die Young From Drug Overdose So I Cut My Hair And Here We Are 10 Years Later
And these changes do require a lot of effort. Not just when it comes to style but also when we think about fitness. We spoke about discipline, movement, and growing to love working out with motivational speaker, comedian, writer, and former US Paralympian, Josh Sundquist.
Thicc To Less Thicc. Weird How A Year And A Few Months Can Change Your Life
14 To 22 Grew Into My Face And Stopped Hating Every Aspect Of My Existence!
Sundquist told Bored Panda that the best fitness or workout routine is one that you enjoy enough to do every single day. Consistency is vital, so aim for something realistic (even if we all want results right here and now).
14, 16 And 18. Down 100lbs And A Cardio Fiend
17 Left And 27 Right. People Said I Looked Like Hurley From Lost
“The best fitness or workout routine is the one you enjoy enough to do every day. Personally, my favorite thing is going on long walks. So that's what works for me. But for someone else, it might be swimming or competitive sports or tai chi. Whatever gets you moving,” Josh, who lost his leg when he was a child, said. However, going all-out isn’t advisable either. We need to find the right balance between effort and rest.
15 -> 16 -> 20. Looking Back At Old Pictures Like, No Wonder I Used To Be So Depressed
Then (12): Hasn't Kissed A Boy, But Pretty Good At Violin. Now (24): Still Hasn't Kissed A Boy, Bad At Violin, But Finally Has Some Direction In Life!
“I'm a recovering overachiever. I mean, I went to the Paralympics. That doesn't happen without an (un)healthy amount of discipline and delayed gratification. But I don't think that discipline versus moderation is a binary choice. I think those are different gears. It's useful to be able to shift into a high-intensity gear when that serves your workout goals (or, like any kind of goal). But it might even more important to be capable of shifting down to a relaxed posture in everyday life when that sort of intensity isn't necessary. For me personally, the latter gear is more difficult. For someone else, it could be the opposite.”
Left (16 Years Old, Never Kissed A Boy, Genuinely Believed I Would Be A 40 Year Old Virgin), Right (26 Years Old, Much Happier)
Dyed My Hair, Opened My Eyes, Got Eyebrows... (13y/O-21y/O)
As the 118k-member strong ‘Ugly Duckling’ community puts it, the online group is meant for “all you guys and gals out there who turned into butterflies.” In other words, it’s a subreddit that’s meant to celebrate positive, wholesome changes in people’s lives.
Sweeping The Leg Since 1995. Age (8?) To 25 - Glad It All Worked Out, But I Never Did Get That Black Belt
So don’t be fooled by the word ‘ugly’ in the subreddit’s name: nobody’s suggesting that any of these people are ‘ugly.’ It’s just that, like we mentioned up above, some folks have a hard time loving themselves as they are, so they make changes to their lifestyle, appearance, diet, and fitness to find their true selves.
15 vs. 28
 [f] Really Feeling The Glow Up
16 Yo/25 Yo
13 vs. 23 - Let’s Just Say The Last Decade Has Been... A Wild Ride Lol
F 8 To 22. One Bad Haircut Had Turned Me Into Young Anakin Skywalker
10 Years Can Change A Lot! (13-23) To Be Fair, I Had A Really Bad Haircut Phase
Note: this post originally had 43 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.
What did you think of this list, dear Readers? Are you planning on joining the r/uglyduckling community to keep an eye out for their latest posts? Which do you think is more important for making us look fit, our genes or our environments and lifestyles or a combination of both? Have you had to deal with any awkwardness while growing up? Drop us a line or two with your thoughts and feelings in the comment section.