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by Abigail Van Buren

Low Self-Esteem Puts Woman on the Outside Looking in on Her Life

DEAR ABBY: I'm a young woman in my 20s. I have been blessed with a loving family, lots of opportunities and people who care about me. My problem is, I don't feel worthy of any of it.

A lot of the time when I'm around people, I feel like I'm on the outside looking in -- like an intruder. When I join groups and listen, I feel like I'm eavesdropping. When I try to pitch in, I feel like I'm annoying everyone. I try to be like people who other people like, but I feel I fall far short of the mark.

I wish I could change and be less irritating and more interesting, but I don't know how to change my personality, or even if I could. I'm just tired of not feeling worthy enough. I know this feeling isn't rational, but it's here to stay, apparently. What should I do? -- UNWORTHY

DEAR UNWORTHY: There is nothing so defeating to social success than low self-esteem -- feeling undeserving and not good enough. The first thing you should do is stop trying to change yourself to please others because it doesn't work. Then try to pinpoint where these feelings of unworthiness originated. If you can't manage it on your own -- many people can't -- make an appointment to discuss it with a licensed mental health professional. You deserve to feel good about yourself and what you contribute.

Read more in: Mental Health