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Ever-present doubt prevents man from fully enjoying life

Dear Abby: No matter what I do, I am never satisfied. I have a great wife and two great kids, and yet I always feel like I could have done better with my life. I go to work and no matter how hard I work, I feel like I never get recognition for it. When I go out with friends, we have a great time, but I never feel like I am really part of the group. I feel like the outcast who gets invited just so they won’t feel bad.

I do suffer from depression and have spoken to a specialist. People often tell me that I spread myself too thin and never relax enough to enjoy my success. But how can I relax when I always feel unsatisfied with my efforts?

– Just Not Satisfied

Dear Not Satisfied: A way to do that would be to start by examining why you are so hard on yourself. Whether it was caused by parents who didn’t give you the validation you needed while growing up or a lack of self-esteem, until you understand why you are hurting yourself this way, your problem won’t be resolved. You say you have spoken to “a specialist” about your depression. Perhaps it’s time for another visit and a chat about what’s really bothering you.

Ring sends wrong message

Dear Abby: Years ago when I was married, I bought a beautiful two-carat solitaire ring as a sign of my accomplishment at work. Now that I’m divorced, I continue to wear the ring on my wedding ring finger.

I love the ring, but my mother and friends say I am chasing away suitors who mistake it for an engagement ring. Do you agree with them? I don’t want to wear this on any other finger and have no plans to give it up.

– Stubborn in Pennsylvania

Dear Stubborn: I agree with your mother and your friends that what you’re doing sends a wrong message. When a woman wears a diamond on the third finger of her left hand in this culture, it means that she’s not available. Nowhere have I ever heard that it signifies that she’s successful at work.

However, I am puzzled about one thing: Since you refuse to wear the ring on another finger or give it up, why you are asking me for advice?

Husband talks to himself

Dear Abby: My husband talks out loud and carries on conversations with himself.

Is this a brain disorder, and is there a name for it?

– Curious in the East

Dear Curious: I don’t think it’s a brain disorder, so quit worrying. When I do this and my husband mentions it, I tell him I’m talking to the person who understands me the best. (If it was something to worry about, I would probably have been certified long ago.)

P.S. If this bothers you, ask him to speak more softly.