How can a teenager feel comfortable about themselves?

tweety asks: l’m a 14-year-old teen and currently confused about life. How can l feel comfortable about myself and every one around me?

Hi Tweety –


Thanks for writing me about this really important issue.


Humans often feel uncomfortable about themselves.  It’s a very difficult situation, and one that drives me nuts.  You see, we dogs only feel uncomfortable about ourselves if something really odd is going on.  Like, if Handsome tries to dress me up in some outfit on Halloween, then I definitely do not want any other dogs to see me.  I know they’d never take me seriously again!  But I see people who feel all the time the way I feel when I’m wearing that stupid costume – and that’s just awful!


Now let me explain one thing about that here, though, that’s very important.  If an adult feels uncomfortable about themselves and everyone around them, the name for that is Neurotic.  It’s a difficult situation to live in, full of anxiety, and really needs help from outside – maybe a therapist or some other sort of helper.  But when a 14-year-old feels that way, I call that NORMAL!  You are exactly at the age where EVERYONE feels that.  Yes, even those cool kids at school who seem to be confident and have no worries at all.  So your job is to Live Through This!


Now one way to help you live through this IS to talk to a therapist or counselor.  And I’m all for it.  But a few other suggestions I can give you are to:

1)    Write your feelings down whenever you can.  Maybe make a poem or a song out of them.  You can create something really beautiful out of this discomfort.

2)    Find friends you can talk with about these feelings.  They’ll be the best friends imaginable!

3)    Read books and watch movies and listen to music about these feelings.  There is tons out there.  Heck, isn’t Bella in the “Twilight” series just a teenager who feels uncomfortable about herself and those around her (which becomes extremely validated when she finds out some of those are vampires and werewolves!)?  Aren’t Harry Potter and his friends too?  But how about Jane Eyre, or Holden Caulfield, or Jim Stark and his friends, or Romeo or Juliet or Hamlet, or the people in the songs by Taylor Swift and Coldplay and Bright Eyes and Alicia Keyes and the young Joni Mitchell or Kurt Cobain or…

4)    Write down a list of the twenty best things about you.  Put it on your wall and read it every morning before you go to school.  Just to remind you about what’s great about being yourself.  Then, every day, write down a different thing that’s great about someone in your world, whether that’s a family member, a friend, a teacher, whoever.  Something to remind you of a reason to feel good about those around you.

5)    And of course I’ll say…  get a dog!  Or find one you can play with.  We are GREAT at making people feel comfortable about themselves, because we are so comfortable in ourselves, and are so good at seeing what’s great about you!
Okay, that’s a lot.  Good luck with it.  And please know that this difficult time will pass eventually, and the world will be a lot easier to take!


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