Dear Dr. Laura,
After almost 30 years of following the popular phrase "be yourself and people will like you", I have finally realized that's a complete lie. What precipitated my complete change of view is that I went to a get together at a park.
I really like rollerblading so I brought along my rollerblades. I knew there was going to be volleyball and basketball there also. When I was at the party I talked to people but felt uncomfortable the whole time as I usually do. At a certain point I decided to go off alone for a while and go rollerblade. I did this a couple of times and once someone even commented about me being my own person. While I was talking to people all I could think about was how easy and natural for all of these people and how uncomfortable I was. I even saw a girl I found quite attractive and again my thoughts turned to how uncomfortable I was and how jealous I was of the guy who was talking too her. Once during the party I saw someone alone shooting a basketball by themselves while I was with a group of people playing volleyball. When I saw him I thought, this guy looks lonely and uncomfortable, someone I didn't want to be around. At that time I didn't see the connection with me.
While driving home, I just started wallowing in my thoughts. What did I do wrong? How come all of these other people are having such a good time and I can't? Why can't I ever get the girl? As you would say, I was having a big pity party. After I got home, your wisdom finally hit me. I have listened to your show for several years and I have begun reading "Bad Childhood, Good Life". I started looking at all of my actions honestly. When I went off rollerblading it was really because I am most comfortable being alone. As much as I like to tell myself I don't want to be alone, it's what I do because it's where I am most comfortable. I won't go into a long story about my childhood, but it's what I learned to do as a child. I also thought about all of the thoughts that were coming into my head at the party, they were all selfish. I spent the whole time thinking about me instead of the other people at the party. Lastly the biggest thing which hit me was the person playing basketball alone. I realized that's exactly what I was doing with my rollerblades, running away. If this was a person that I didn't want to be around then why would anyone want to be around me? This is when I finally realized I can't continue to be myself if I want to be happy and have real relationships with other people.
As my first act of not being myself and not being selfish. I want to say thank you for all that you do. To me you will always be "Mother Laura". You give me the advice and direction that my parents never game me. To you I can truthfully say "always be yourself." You are what all people should strive to be like.