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Home / Articles / Columnists / Dr. Happy Formula /  Ask Dr. Happy
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Friday, December 2,2011

Ask Dr. Happy

By Dr. Bob Nozik, MD  

 

What can a barely average person do to be happy? I’m a fifteen year old girl and I’m loaded with personal flaws. I have below average looks, average grades, I’m shy, I have few friends, and never even had a boyfriend. My folks are blue collar, and I don’t have money for stylish clothes, or shoes, or anything. I can’t even afford an I-phone. My folks and my older brother are okay, I guess; they love me and treat me okay. But when I look around, I see that everyone else has it better than me, I feel bad about myself and don’t think I’ll ever be happy. Hopeless Dear Hopeless, You seem to have painted yourself into a putdown corner. I’m going to suggest several ways out for you to consider. 1) Stop comparing yourself negatively with others. This is a classic error and one used primarily by those with self-esteem problems. 2) Question the truth of your negative selfevaluations. E.g.: “…everyone has it better than me.” Everyone? Perhaps rephrase this to: “Some people I know have more advantages than I but many others have less.” 3) Discover your personal strengths and arrange your life to use them more whenever possible. Don’t know your strengths? Go online to www.authentichappiness. org and take the free Values In Action (VIA) test. It ranks in order 24 character qualities (like curiosity, creativity, forgiveness, kindness, and twenty others). Using more of the ones where you are strong will help you increase your self-esteem, effectiveness, and happiness. But, Hopeless, I suspect that you would benefit by seeing a good therapist. Discuss this with your parents and then ask your school nurse who she would recommend.

 

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