How ugly are you?

I was having coffee the other day with a new friend of mine and nonchalantly commented on how well they looked which surprisingly brought a frown to their face. I asked them if they disagreed with my assessment and they explained to me that they had been in a long verbally abusive relationship earlier and that they had been told on many occasions how ugly, stupid and worthless they were. This seemed unfortunately to have a profound impact on the way they felt about themselves which had resulted in them finding it extremely hard to accept any compliments concerning their intelligence or appearance. 

Today I would like to touch on the word ugly if I may due to the fact that I find it disgraceful, disgusting and repulsive that one human being can destroy another human beings confidence with such harsh and callous words. 

Ugly, according the “Webster’s New World Dictionary” is described as many things including, “unpleasing to look at, aesthetically offensive, unsightly, vile, disagreeable, dreadful, offensive, objectionable and even repulsive. 

I took my friend to stand in front of a mirror and slowly read out the descriptive words of ugly one by one from the dictionary and when I had finished I asked them if they could see any of these descriptions in their reflection.   

It is my experience that if someone is told every single day for years that they are worthless, even if they are a very confident and proud person, if they do not get away from this abuse they will eventually loose confidence and start to actually believe what they are being told. 

On the flip side of this logic, if they are lacking confidence and they are reassured everyday that they are intelligent, wonderful and an overall beautiful person, after time they will start to believe this too. 

I would like to propose that nobody should have the right or opportunity to deliver such damaging, heart rendering and torturous words to another and get away with it. Everyone needs and deserves that special someone in their lives to continuously reinforce in them their value, their obvious self worth and their importance, as without this they will be open to belittlement and the possibility of abuse resulting in a total lack of self esteem. 

Any educated person with confidence whom is surrounded by loved ones will laugh at name calling and any insinuations delivered of them being ugly or stupid.    

I urge all of us who know someone with confidence issues, or know someone who has suffered such dreadful treatment as this to make a commitment and help them repair, in any small way possible, the damage they have suffered to their self esteem and confidence. Take them for a facial, a spa treatment or to the salon. When their confidence has improved and when you see that they are smiling again, take them to sit in front of a mirror and ask them what they see. 

There is no such thing as an ugly human being; every human being can be beautiful if they feel confident in themselves, every human being can be happy if they are surrounded by people they love and people who love them. Every human being can feel important if they are contributing to a relationship or to society and if they are made to understand that their contributions are valuable. 

If I may I would like to request anyone who has confidence issues or anyone who has ever been through a terrible abusive relationship to sit in front of a mirror, close your eyes and think about someone or something that makes you happy. When you feel totally relaxed, open your heart to the possibilities for your future and the realization that your dreams really can come true. 

When you have done this, open your eyes, give yourself a warm smile from deep inside your heart, look directly into the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I ugly”. 

You and I both know the answer.

39 thoughts on “How ugly are you?”

    1. Hi Philip,

      You are a good man with a warm heart and no matter what anyone ever says to you, they can never change that.

      People cannot change what or who you are and you are the person whom I am proud to be associated with.

      Look in the mirror Philip and ask yourself what do you see.

      Very warm regards to you.


  1. Dear Mike, I was unable to log in for a few days cos there was a problem with my server. I don’t know why but this was the first musing I chose to read when I was able to log in (plus the lemon meringue pie!) because of the subject title. I read it and it brought tears to my eyes because some of my past can relate to what you were sharing. Especially the abuse. You are such a warm and compassionate soul, and I would say really special. Sometimes life throws us some pretty tough blows, but if we dig deep inside the shell we carry around, there is always something special in there just waiting to be pulled out and appreciated. It is just that we sometimes need others to bring that out and make us believe in the qualities we have. I will be honest, if I look in the mirror I don’t particularly like what I see of my physical appearance, but if I look at everything around me and the special people I have in my life..then THAT is the mirror that makes me feel proud about who I am and how far I have come….thank you for being one of those special people in my mirror.. Lynda

    1. Dear Lynda,

      I am very glad that you read my musing and even more glad that it meant something to you.

      When I look in the mirror, I do not really look at my reflection, but look at whom I am, what I do, How I behave and I ask myself what I could do better.

      I note you say that whilst you don’t particularly like what you see of your physical appearance, you feel proud of who you are, how far you have become and the special people you have in your life and that’s really great!

      I would like to say that physical appearance is only a vehicle of whom you really are and what is in your mind and your heart is the most important value of any person.

      When you are with people that love you, the last thing that causes them any concern is the way you look.

      In my worldly travels I have met some very beautiful people with whom I have had trouble spending more that 5 minutes with and being happy at the same time.

      When we as humans are looking for someone special, fortunately we all have different ideas on what our special someone should look like. I say fortunately as if we all had the same tastes, we would be challenging each other for the same peoples attention. Whilst you may not be happy with your physical appearance, I am 100% positive that there are many people who are.

      When I read your note, although I have never met you, all I saw was a beautiful person, a person that is very kind hearted and a person that has plenty to offer to their loved ones and to the people around them.

      Lynda, when blessings come your way please accept them with an open heart, as there there are two things that I am sure of, one is that you are very special and the other is that you deserve to be happy.

      Very warm regards,


  2. Lynda, hi…I’ve been friends with Mike for years, and he’s a top man (as if I needed to remind you) I still remember first meeting him when he was an executive chef at the Parkroyal…I was thinking to myself “Oh oh, just what we need, an English bloke” How wrong I was, because this man turned out to be one of my most wonderful friends right here in Penang.

    Those were the times he had a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship going on with his then computer, and usually I’d be the one to go and resolve it…good memories.

    Anyway, the “ugly” post was the best I’ve ever read from Mike; he seems to be able to do everything except play the piano, LOL. Looking forward to more of your musings, buddy!

    P/S This blog always makes me hungry.

    1. Hi Philip,

      You are a good friend and a great blog master to boot!

      Without you I would be toast….

      Lets keep this blog going buddy, if we can make one person feel better about themselves we should be very happy and everything we are doing is worthwhile.

      Warm regards,


  3. Wow, this blog is turningout to be powerful stuff! I now find myself logging in not only for the lemon meringue pie, but for the wonderful advice and friendship. You are both so inspirational. Mike you mentioned that you have never met me but you will be surprised to know that you do actually know me. However I am glad you wrote what you did in the mind that you had not met me, because it makes me feel that what you said is very genuine. You read my blog and deducted from that directly. My opinion of you is that you are a living Angel. I have always been impressed by your very down to earth ‘real’ attitude as a General Manager, the love and warmth you surround your lovely wife and family with, and your friendship to all those you treasure. It is not often that we come across people like you in the busy world. Don’t ever change…

    Philip, I remember you playing the piano in Tiffins at Park Royal when Jan Schmit was manager. You created the wonderful ambiance that was synonimous with Tiffins. It used to be my most favorite restaurant. I haven’t been there for years now. Anyway guys, time to get back to some work. One can get really hooked on these blogs. I am a Facebook fan. I have found so many long lost friends on there, it makes the world so much smaller! Have a great day…Hugz, Lynda (PS. When I blog I never re-read it as I know I will delete or change, so I send it as it comes from my heart and mind )

    1. Hi Lynda,

      I must thank you for your kind words.

      Please drop by whenever you are free so that we can share thoughts on any subject you would like to discuss.

      I always wanted Chef’s Tales to be a community blog for everyone to contribute to and hopefully get something out of.

      Hace a wonderful day!

      Warm regards,


    1. Dear seekerofwisdom,

      The name you have chosen to use just about says everything.

      I am happy and glad that the post meant something to you. May I request you to share it with anyone whom you think may appreciate the message.

      Please drop by whenever you can, its really lovely to have you here.

      Warm regards,


    1. Dear Megan,

      Thanks for dropping by and for sharing.

      You say that people were rude to you in school and maybe called you names.

      The thing is, you and I both know that they were wrong weren’t they.

      Very warm regards,


  4. Well, being called ugly has advantages, you know. My mother used to call me ugly all the time… and I have never bothered to try gaining anything by physical appearance. I don’t think of myself as ugly, but my appearance simply is nothing I bother with too much. If people compliment me (they do, occasionally), I am grateful, but when it comes to it, I would rather be considered smart and creative (and a lot of other things) instead of beautiful.

    (Yes, I see this as an advantage, since I have met my share of people who were so obsessed with their appearance that they forgot their other skills, like hard work or thinking, god forbid! It causes wrinkles!)

    1. Dear Diandra,

      I am very glad that you have written some notes on our blog that obviously come straight from your heart.

      You are a lovely woman whom has experiences which you are willing to share that may help others cope with their feelings too.

      I applaud your strength that comes from within and whilst being called ugly previously by your mother all the time is extremely unfortunate, you seem to have dealt with it very well and come out on top.

      I only wish I knew how you could be so strong and go through the constant demoralizing comments only to appear through the clouds of negatively & then turn out to be the lovely person that you are.

      Congratulations for being a great example to what we all can achieve, even when our backs are pushed against the wall.

      Thanks for dropping by and inspiring us to be better people.

      Warm regards,


  5. This really struck a chord with me. I spent 15 years being put down by my ex husband and it has taken me a long time to rebuild my confidence and sense of self and that it’s ok to be me.

    Thank you for this.

    1. Hi Paula,

      Its not OK to be you, its fantastic to be you.

      Everyone is different, everyone is special and I mean everyone.

      Anyone that talks badly to you does not deserve your attention or your company.

      Look in the mirror again and ask yourself if I am wrong.

      I know I am not.

      Feel hugged.

      Its wonderful to have you drop in and I sincerely hope you do so again.

      Be happy, be very happy as you sure as heck deserve it.

      Very warm regards,


  6. Hi Mike
    I can’t agree more. I myself have had negative remarks/statements directed towards me and it took years for me to overcome it; now i hope there is a way I can help others who experienced the same thing.


    1. Hi Mei,

      I am very sorry that you had to go through this kind of uneducated and terrible treatment, but as you can see all is not lost.

      You sound like you are really together, strong and confident.

      It proves that words can not hurt you if you do not allow them to do so.

      I am glad that you shared your story with us and to know that you are now OK even though it took you years to overcome the comments.

      I would like to have a wager that the person who said all these silly things to you now feels more silly themselves to learn that you have grown into a wonderful, successful and confident woman.

      The pictures on your blog look great by the way and so does your personal picture.

      Sincere thanks to you for sharing and for dropping by.

      Stay confident and happy as like every other human being on the planet, you deserve that & more.

      Hope to hear from you again soon.

      Warm regards,


    1. Hi Hellen,

      If the article helped you in any small way, even if it just made you smile, it is thanks enough 🙂

      There is nothing worse in my view than one human being belittling another just because they are in a perceived position of power to do so.

      I really hope that we can all get together to help those effected by this despicable behaviour.

      Hellen, may I offer you my sincere thanks for dropping by and we hope to hear from you again soon.

      Warm regards,


  7. First of all what a true friend you are to this person.
    I too went through a terrible marriage for 16 years – to nothing more than a bully. I can fully understand what this person went through. I actually have written about living with “The Bully” in my blogs and I am amazed by the response that I have had from people that have gone through a similar life. I have also heard from people that suffered like my two girls as children and having a bully as a dad.. Glad to say that they are far and few between, but we never know what goes on “behind closed doors”
    We pulled through together and I honestly feel that I am a better person for this.
    I always believe that you should treat people as you will want to be treated.
    I love your blogs by the way.

    1. Hi Sheila,

      I would like to offer you my heartfelt condolences for having to suffer such terrible treatment for such a long period of time.

      In my view there is nothing worse than a bully no matter who the bully is.

      I sincerely hope that your girls have not been too effected too much by the challenging childhood that they appear to have gone through.

      It has been written often that the person receiving such treatment should clearly understand that none of it is in any way their doing or their fault and I hope that you understand this too.

      If I close my eyes and imagine my two young girls with a bully as father then my eyes well up thinking how incredibly diabolical that would be. Loving my daughters so much, I could not even in my worst nightmare comprehend the sadness that would tear me apart if it were my girls who were suffering.

      It is always easy for others to tell you what you should do, what they would do and so on, but in reality nobody knows how they would react until they are placed right in the exact same position as you were in.

      I congratulate you on having the courage to get through this terrible ordeal and I am extremely happy to see that you sound great and that you are able to talk about it openly so others can learn from your experience.

      Thank you for dropping by and for posting such an important message to all our readers that they do not have to tolerate and suffer through such terrible treatment.

      Readers, we must have the courage to just say “enough is enough” back our bags and just walk away.

      Sheila, well done and great stuff with an incredible contribution to a much more than important subject matter!

      On the last note, I am sure that there are many people out there who love you dearly and after reading your post you will have many more….feel hugged here as you genuinely deserve it.

      Warm regards,


  8. Mike
    Thank you for those kind words. I did think very carefully about writing about my past – and did so with the girl’s blessings. I am just amazed with the response that I have received on this subject – and how many people have suffered at the hands of a bully – what has been must upsetting are those that have shared their fears as children who suffered.
    I was worried about doing the blog on “The Bully” perhaps it wasnt a thing that I should be writing about – but this is me and this was part of my life. If people want to know me this si where it all started.
    On hindslight I should have got out of that awful marriage earlier – but I truly feared for my life. He did threaten to kill me if I ever left him. I truly believed he wouldhave done something awful if I had. At the time the only place I could have gone would have been to a woman’s refuge – and at that time I didnt think I could have put the girls through that. Maybe I should have. But hindsight is a great thing.
    As I say, and still stand by – I didn what I thought was the right thing to do at the time. And I often tell people this – as the guilt you have years later will never leave you.
    Again thank you so very much for your kind words and this may give me the encouragement to continue to write about the awful period in my life.
    I would also like to say – that although going through such a awful time, I do feel that I have come through this a much nicer person.
    Would you mind perhaps when I am do another blog in the future that I could perhaps add your lovely words – this might be of a great comfort to others as it was to me.
    thank you again for taking the time to reply.

    Have a lovely day


    1. Dear Sheila,

      Talking about unpleasant events or even tragedies in our past in my view is never easy and sometimes painful. Talking about losing our son at birth for example is painful for me personally and some may same I am crazy to put my thoughts in writing, but if it helps others in similar circumstances to deal with their pain, then I am willing to do it.

      I think that you are incredibly brave and unselfish to be willing to share your story, doing it with the possibility in your mind that you could at least help but one person is fantastic to me.

      You are simply great and should be deeply respected, as many others are unwilling to do so as they are not able to cope with their loss.

      It is always my belief that hindsight is a terrible thing and adds to the amount of guilt we already heap on our own shoulders.

      The truth is that we are all human, we make mistakes and we hopefully learn by them and even share with others so they will not make the same mistakes.

      Sheila, you should not blame yourself, its not your fault and nobody has ever the right to abuse another due to any reason whatsoever, there is never an excuse.

      I also feel that children are tougher that what we think and I am sure that your children are great. They will also become very loving parents, not willing to allow their children to witness what they went through.

      I am sure everything for you now is going to be great moving forward as you have had your share of despair for an entire lifetime….the suffering is over for you.

      Every human being deserves to be happy and you and your family are no different.

      Hug your children every day and tell them you love them even if you are sure they know it already.

      By the way, on your request, anything and everything I write on my blog is for sharing, I sincerely hope that you share any of what I write so others may benefit.

      I hope that you and your loved ones have the best weekend you ever had.

      Bless you all,

      Warm regards,


  9. Good Morning Mike:
    Wonderful post!. Here in my country there is a proverb…
    “Nobody is ugly only bad fixed”. Isn´t it?
    Have a wonderful Saturday

  10. When I was a little girl, I remember my dad saying that for every one bad thing you say to a person, you need to say 70 good things to counteract it. Thats how much nasty comments impact us.
    I dont think anybody is ever ugly on the outside, but sometimes they are on the inside. Most people, i believe, are inherently good though.
    Have a great weekend.

    1. Dear HH,

      Reading your comments offer hope that there are more kind people around than monsters and for that I sincerely believe to be true.

      In my view, society makes people ugly on the inside and with a little persuasion is most normal cases, society can change them back into beautiful ones.

      Words delivered in a harsh manner can destroy people, but kind words can help to build loving, positive and confident people.

      By the way, your dad is a very intelligent and obviously a loving father who has helped to develop his daughter into what she is today…a Heavenly Woman.

      Thanks for dropping by,

      Warm regards,


  11. Mike,

    You’ve written a most excellent article; one that has potential to boost the confidence of a lot of people. Thank you for adding to the sum total of human kindness.



  12. Hiya, i saw someone i follow on twitter RT this so clicked and a very glad i did. Wonderful post. I love it and it will stay with me 🙂

  13. Mike, I am so glad I found you. This is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read. You’ve said exactly what I feel.

    I lived through a relationship like this when I was young – from 16-23-years old, and it nearly crushed my normal confident, out-going personality. My husband, (at that time), criticized every single thing I did, and of course I believed him – that I was stupid and couldn’t do anything right. I’m certain my age had a lot to do with it, but I truly believe, had I not looked inside myself and somehow found the courage to get away, I’d still be that same miserable person, nearly twenty years later.

    I’m happy to say I’m married now to a man who is the direct opposite – he encourages me to follow my dreams, he tells me how beautiful I am, (even when I physically look like crap), he tells me he loves me. And it works. Our family motto is “You get what you give, so give love” – I only hope my children keep that in their hearts for the remainder of their lives, and pass it on to their own children.
    Love begets love, that’s all there is to it.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post!

  14. Hi Mike
    I trained as a youth leader for some time, have you heard of a game/exercise called squares, circles, triangles? It was a massive experience for me going through it but it changed my life! I am far from indestructible from it and your post has both strengthened and reminded me of it!! I may well retweet your post too!

  15. Hi Mike

    I have experienced this at first hand (1st marriage, 11yrs of marriage) and the word ‘Ugly’ it is so destructive to a person’s self esteem.

    I am now in a 2nd marriage (married for 4yrs) and my husband tells me everyday how beautiful i am (im still finding it hard to believe him)……even after 18 years ‘ugly’ still haunts me all thanx to my 1st husband….but i am a survivour and he cannot beat me anymore with his cruel words.

  16. I have a stunning and very clever friend who was treated like this it is astonishing how words can undermine a person’s confidence. It didn’t take her long to bounce back after the relationship had ended but it was shocking to see it at the time. Thank you for writing such a meaningful blog

  17. Chef Michael,
    You are wise beyond measure! I have met tall handsome men who seemed ugly because of selfish or rude comments they made, and shriveled old women who smiled and held out their hand and seemed totally beautiful. No-one should accept being called ugly, not even that selfish guy. Thank you for the inspiring post.

  18. Hello there Sir mike :]

    I actually bookmarked this site of yours.If that is okay.
    I am also watching E&O search for next celebrity chef from the very beginning. I really enjoy the show.

    Reading through your site, This ” How ugly are you?” caught my attention.
    I agree with everything you have written in this article, Since me,myself I have also experienced that.
    Being teased that I am ugly and what hurts the most is being compared to my sister.
    So until now if someone gave me compliments that I look wonderful, beautiful and anything that has to do with my physical appearance, I actually doubt it and keep in mind that it wasn’t true.
    Though sometimes I stand in front of the mirror trying to find out which part of me that is cause them to call me ugly.

    It’s hard to deal with that..

    But, Reading your article is so inspiring.
    And thank you so much for this i love reading it.
    Goodluck :]


    1. Dear Shu,

      I am very glad that the article makes you feel good about yourself as trust me you deserve it.

      Every human being on the planet is beautiful in their own way and there is always a partner out there whom will love you in the way you have always dreamed of.

      Never let anyone make you feel even remotely uninspiring as when you look in the mirror and show that beautiful smile, trust me…that is what everyone else will see.

      If you are in Malaysia, please email me at if you would like to chat.

      I hope you have the best upcoming week you have even had.

      Please take care!


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