I’m just a first-year high-school student with really low self-esteem since I was a kid.
I’m shy, not confident, awkward, not pretty (average looking but quite overweight).
I worry a lot about what other people might think of me.
I’m ashamed of my house (my family’s middle-class but my house is really ugly and small).
I can’t invite my friends over because my room is also for my mother and sister; the other room is for my 80-year-old Grandma.
My father died when I was two-years-old. My mom’s single, a vice-president at work, and so busy she doesn’t have time to decorate our house.
The only thing that I’m good at is school grades (I rank at #3 with quite a high average score).
I worry about my friends seeing my house or discovering that I’m poor. In my school, everyone’s filthy rich.
I think they think I’m rich because I own some good items.
I read every post about how to build confidence and not be ashamed of my family condition. But I always get anxious when going out from my house.
I often cry in my room. Also, I’m from Asia and my English is bad.
Please Help Me
You’re very smart, far beyond just getting good marks.
Few people your age have the wisdom to reach out for help.
Or to know that doing well in school and gaining more education, is the key to growing more confident and being seen for you, not for what your house or belongings look like.
You’re not alone with shyness and self-doubts. Most teenagers lack confidence in some area or another.
You’re lucky to have a mother who’s working hard for the family, and a grandmother in your life. It may be a crowded house, but it’s apparently also loving.
Only real friends are important. Those who obsess about material things aren’t going to be loyal to anyone. They’re always trying to keep up with someone who has more than them.
Focus only on friends who seem sincere.
When you feel low, talk to a school counselor or a teacher you like and trust. Doing extra work on your fluency in English will also raise your self-assurance.
Your mother will make time to listen if you’re feeling deeply troubled. And your grandmother may be far more understanding and helpful than you’ve realized.
I keep having two same reoccurring dreams. In one, I'm back working my former job (grocery store cashier) from eight years ago.
It’s always the same story: I discover I've been scheduled for a shift after months away. I try to get out of the shift.
But I’m dumbfounded as to why they haven't figured out that I stopped working there. In the other dream, I'm back living with my family. We’re moving and I'm always packing up my room.
The deadline to the moving date approaches and my parents/sisters haven't done anything, so I'm packing their things too. I always run out of time or don't know what to pack. I have no idea what these mean, but feel they must be important because they occur frequently.
Generally, recurring dreams signal some unresolved or persistent conflict in a person’s life.
They often occur during a period of stress, through common themes, such as having college exams for which you forgot to study.
The best way to probe how those specifically detailed dreams relate to your life would be to discuss present circumstances and stresses, as well as past ones, with a trained therapist.
FEEDBACK Regarding a husband dining with female colleagues without his wife (January 6):
Reader – “He’s repeatedly meeting a younger, single woman for dinner dates. That’s WRONG!
“If he and his co-worker have business to discuss, do it at work, around other workers.
“If he wanted other friendships beyond her friends, he could’ve included them in their established social group. He’s not “stuck,” he's cheating!
“You dumped the responsibility of his disrespectful behaviour on the wife's lap by giving him permission to cheat and inviting his wife to witness it.”
Ellie – His wife feels excluded and uncomfortable about his occasional dinner “dates,” which he says are platonic.
She wrote no other signals (sexual distance or lying) that he’s cheating.
I advised her to meet them for dinner to assess what’s going on and assert her wifely presence.
But I disagree that married people can’t have opposite sex friends, so long as the partner is included.
Tip of the day:
Teenagers who reach out for help when they’re troubled are the smart ones.