Dear Abby: I have a problem. Basically, I don’t like me. I am self-conscious about my weight, my face, my personality. I’m not pretty. I have heard so many times I should “just be myself” that I am sick of it! I don’t want to be myself because I don’t like myself.

All of my friends are either beautiful, witty, kind or whatever. And I am not, I guess. Please tell me what to do about it.

– Coming Up Short in Oregon

Dear Coming Up Short: I do have a few suggestions, and the first is to stop being your own worst enemy. The more you dwell on what you think you lack, the more you will amplify those things. Find one thing you like about yourself and build from there.

Because you’re self-conscious about your weight, do something about it by adopting a healthy eating and exercise plan. More important than being “witty” is to be a good listener. Remember that, and people will think you are a great conversationalist.

The more you brood about yourself, the lonelier you will become. The more you think about helping others, the less time you will have to think about yourself.

Spread the word

Dear Abby: My stepfather died recently. I found out when I saw his obituary in the newspaper. It described him as a “loving husband and father,” and while I know that’s a fairly generic epitaph, nothing about it is true. He was an alcoholic who had several affairs while married to my mother. He also abused me and my stepsiblings physically and sexually.

It’s bad enough that he died without having to face the consequences of his actions, but it kills me to know that “loving husband and father” is how our community and history will remember him now that he’s gone. Is there anything I can do to get some form of the truth out there?

– Angry in Tennessee

Dear Angry: Yes, there is. Just keep talking and the word will get around.