DR. WALLACE: I’m an average-looking guy with average grades in school and average athletic abilities. I’m worried that I’m stuck this way and will always be overlooked by people as a result. I’m jealous of famous athletes and celebrities who appear to be naturally gifted at what they do and who receive so much praise and attention for their accomplishments. It seems as though most people, however, are destined to be average. Should I just accept that I am one of those people? — Feel Like Nothing Special, via email
FEEL LIKE NOTHING SPECIAL: I would disagree with you that most people are destined to be “average.” Each person is equipped with strengths and weaknesses, as well as backgrounds and life stories that make them truly unique and wonderful. It is what people choose to do with their strengths, interests and experiences that matters most.
There are an infinite number of people in the world who are exceptional at certain things but are not rich and famous. Some might be exceptional parents, exceptional cooks, exceptional painters, etc. They might receive very little attention and recognition for their accomplishments on a national level, but those around them know and truly appreciate these talents and strengths.
Money and fame are not the only indicators of success and fulfillment, and if you pay close attention to the people in your daily life you most admire, I’m sure that you will recognize this to be the case.
I encourage you, therefore, to adopt a different perspective. If you are chasing the lifestyle and stardom of a celebrity, then you will continue to view yourself and your life as “average” in comparison. If you truly want to excel at something for the sake of making the most of your gifts and strengths, however, “average” will not be hard to exceed. With discipline and determination, you can make improvements to any area of your life that you so choose, and if you take notice of your strengths and work to cultivate them to the best of your ability, the fear of being “average” will literally not apply and therefore will have no valid hold on you.
THIS IS NOT OK WITH ME
DR. WALLACE: I am 14 years old and an only child. My mom got divorced a little over a year ago. She started having a relationship with the guy next door, and now it seems they hang out together a lot.
Sometimes she doesn’t come home at night. And then sometimes this guy sleeps over at our house. I’m not really OK with this but I’m afraid to tell my mom anything because she might get mad at me. Is there anything I can do or say about this situation? — Uncomfortable Daughter, via email
UNCOMFORTABLE DAUGHTER: Your mother deserves to be happy, but at the same time you absolutely deserve to feel safe and comfortable.
Find a quiet time to talk with your mother when this neighbor is not around and simply tell her that you are uncomfortable being alone in your house at night when she is not there.
Also tell her that you are not comfortable with this person sleeping overnight at your house. You deserve to feel safe and cared for, and your mother should be willing to listen to your concerns and to act upon them.
If she does not make adjustments that you are comfortable with, consider speaking to another trusted adult about your situation. If your mother insists on leaving you alone at night, you have every right to find another safe place to live or sleep such that you are both comfortable and feel safe as well.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.