Want a better life


Want a better life


your avatar   E, 20-year-old man

I am a lonely high school dropout. I feel like I have nothing of worth and nothing to look forward to. I have never been in a relationship before and haven't had sex either. I feel like there isn't anything in my life to strive for; I find it impossible to get motivated for anything because it feels like it would be a waste.

I have been trying to feel better about myself but I seem to be incapable of doing so. Is there anything I can do to help?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear "E,"

The category you chose for your question at Queendom was "self-esteem," and this shows wisdom. From your brief note, I cannot tell why you are "a high school dropout." Such things are not always a result of low ability. Kids who are bullied at school over an extended time often stop being able to learn. Lots of conflict and trouble at home can do the same. You may have developed negative attitudes to school and learning, or got into the habit of using alcohol or other drugs.

If anything like this happened, then it's not too late. Now that you are older and more mature, you can return to study and catch up. Many others have done it. You can too. Also, there is a wonderful saying: "There are many mountains to God, and many paths up each mountain."You haven't so far climbed the school-learning mountain, although as I said you can give it another go, but there are other mountains. You can look for something you enjoy, or can learn to enjoy, and become good at that. I know nothing about you, but examples are fixing machines, growing plants, playing a musical instrument, traveling around to see new places. All of these can be combined with earning some money, or eventually lead to a livelihood.

I don't know if you feel upset about the way humanity is treating other animals. If I were a young man now, with no responsibilities for other people, I would offer to be a volunteer for Sea Shepherd or Greenpeace. If your interests are in other directions, fine. But find something where you can make a difference.

Part of your feeling of helplessness may be because you have been so hurt by your isolation that you don't have any energy for anyone else. But a rule of the universe is: THE MORE YOU GIVE, THE MORE YOU GET. Strangely, by doing things that benefit others (including but not limited to humans), you will feel better about yourself.

Now for your other issue: no girlfriend, no love. It's really the same thing: while you don't like yourself, you will behave in ways that put others off. So, you need to ACT as if you liked yourself. Practice how to smile, look confident and strong. If you can, learn one of the eastern martial arts like judo, karate or tai kwan do, and this will give you confidence, inner strength and physical gracefulness.

When I was your age, I found girls terrifying. I decided this was a matter of lacking the skills of how to talk with them. So, once a week, I had a chat with some stranger. I tried to make it last 5 minutes, and afterward thought about it: What did I do right? What did I do wrong? How can I do it better next time?

You can also engage in such skill-learning. The aim is not to get a girlfriend at first, but to become comfortable in being with them, learning to be amusing and pleasant so they will find you good to have around.

I have set you a lot of "homework," haven't I? Give these things a go, then you are welcome to email me.

You can do it.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com

Practice mindfulness. Your point of power will always be the present.
"At any given moment, you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end."
Christine Mason Miller
Life always offers you a second chance. It's called "tomorrow".