Hi, I wanted to ask for advice about something personal. I am currently writing by Bachelor thesis in theoretical Physics. The way I developed academically over the past few years is good, but personally, I don't like my development. I have a rather sad disposition, I am unhappy with who I am. I find it difficult to enjoy a social life, and I find it enormously painful that when I have feelings for a girl, they are never reciprocal. I have had a very long hard time over the last few years understanding that my value system is different from my parent's. I need to explain some more: - I live with my parents. I wated to study abroad, but it is really difficult for us (financially), so I won't do that. I will move out for my doctorate (when I will have my own income). - I learned a lot of good things from my parent, but they ignored my emotional side. For them, it was all about the studying because they wanted me to be somebody etc., we had very rough fights about going out late and about dating. As a result, I rarely went out and only had a short relationship years ago (I kept it secret from my parents). - Basically, I have outgrown this kind of crap, i.e. dating and going out are not that big a problem any more (theoretically) - fact is, however, that I never do the former and rarely the latter. Driking an evening beer with my fellow students just gets me bored, I cannot get any pleasure from that and the like social evening activites. And relationships, that's a different issue, see below. - I am a good student. However, seriously, I can hardly derive pleasure or pride from that. My results are very good, but I always feel I should do better. I basically sit in front of my PC all day trying to work as much as I can, but there are limits. Sometimes, my motivation is low. I give my best but cannot get motivated to work better/more. I do extra courses right now, and I give my best on my bachelor thesis, however, I am not satisfied. I wish I could publish my bachelor thesis results (whether this happens depends on whether the professor will be willing to feature my results in one of his next publications. Also, I have almost two months yet until I must hand it in). Even if it was published, I am sure I wouldn't be satisfied. The sad thing is that I focus on my work in such a manner that I consider everything else inferior activities. I wish I had some recognition for that, but I am also aware that this doesn't come from just wanting it, and that this kind of bitterness rarely leads to something good. Also, I am aware that if I had more talent and put this kind of time/effort into my work, my results would go up exponentially. It's a viscious circle to me: I study for some time, then my motivation drops, I get tired, start watching a movie or so for too long, then I feel guilty about that and work hard (until I need the next "shot", that is, a break, movie, whatever). I use this as a tool sometimes: When I need to do something difficult or something I don't like/feel uneasy about, I start doing it, then take a break, then (in a slightly but controlledly guilt-ridden manner) go on, then take another break. This style of work makes me often feel inefficient, wasting time. It might be inefficient, but it is effective and gives good results in examns etc. However, I simply cannot establish a way to work like others do: I just can't start work at nine and then at seven or so be finished with it and relax. I do relax in between, but I rarely feel "finished" with a task (and if so, the next is always at hand). I have trouble finishing something, get lost in details. It makes me feel inefficient and that I could be further If I worked more efficiently and more focussend on what matters. As I never go out and live with my parents, I sometimes feel uneasy because I have so much time and perhaps don't make the best I can out of it. This is a really bad feeling and actually, I have excellent grades, I never hand in something too late, I never have to re-pass an examn or to set it back (for a later date), neither of this ever happened. But on some days, I really do feel down, not motivated, often take breaks in my work to watch tv episodes or just something that gets me distracted from work / gets me some distance. I particularly hate these days in which I feel very inefficient. - Seriously, feelings for girls had always a very strong impact on my. Also, the fact that my parents have always been against dating This, in fact, did not prohibit me from asking somebody out (with little success however). But unfortunately, I could never talk about this kind of feelings to my parents. This has - and I don't think I am exaggerating things here - caused me some pain and grief. My childish approach - falling in love with somebody and suffering from lack of reciprocal feelings - has never altered, it is the same now with 23 as it was with 18. I perfectly understand how stupid and ridiculously immature this is, but it makes me suffer (I'll say some more on this below). - Rougly two years ago, I was on a summer camp with some very interesting students (this is organized by the most prestigeous scholarship organization of my country). Back then, I was enthusiastic about going there, but the experience not overall good. Already back then, I often felt inferior for the same reason as now: I am not very good at enjoying myself, at being merry in a crowd or at all. I hate the fact that I am not outgoing, that I am not good at winning people's attention and sympathy by being social, nice, friendly, chatty, non-nerdy, simple. When I really like a girl, I am incapable of making her like me. All of that is experience which has become much more profound over my summer camp two years ago. There was another thing: I met a wonderful girl back there in the summer camp. To make it short, I really liked her, and I also approached her, but she showed no interest in me. This made me really sad and made it ever harder to just have some fun with the others. I tried, I engaged in many social things (sports, excursions, etc. - I tried to take part in as many as I could), but when I think back, the memory that prevails is that the girl-feelings did hurt, and that all in all, I found it hard to just be happy and enjoy the interesting and rich get-together of people. I had all reason to just be happy (scholarship, good grades, well-read and not stupid), but I found it hard and not rarely felt unhappy. - I do not WANT to be sad and melancholic and self-loathing and hopeless and the like. I am afraid of that, I don't want to turn into a misanthropic, self-pitying bastard. Right now, myself and my fellow students are very much the same: we HAVE to work hard to create a good bachelor thesis etc., but unlike the others, I can't seem to feel proud of what I achieve, to look forward to the summer, etc. I thought that this would go away as I would progress in my studies and feel thus would feel more and more comfortable in my skin. I made progress in my studies, but I still feel the same. - A recent situation has come up, and it really seems to be mocking me, right in the face. About two years ago or so, I fell in love with a fellow student. We have had no common classes ever since, but saw each other regularly on the campus (where we rarely talked beyond "Hi!") and on occasions (like talks, seminars). On these occasions (they usually took place several times semester), we have had the chance to actually make conversation. She never showed any sign of reciprocal interest. Of course, every time I saw her memories came up etc. and that bugged me, abut all in all, I usually calmed down after a while (not seeing her) and it was OK (although I can hardly remember a day when she did not, at least faintly, cross my mind - but as I did not see her very often, it was OK). This summer, I enrolled for another summer camp (in a better location than the former one, and altogether really promising). But I also learnt that she will be there too. Ironically, the situation might be the same as two years ago. I know that the most reasonable thing would be just to go to that camp, have some fun, not to care about the girl, etc. I perfectly understand that, but also, I actually know myself well enough, I know that I handle this kind of situation very badly. I do not want to that camp and hang around there sad and self-loathing. I know how perfectly ridiculous anc cliché that sounds, like from some 18 year old child, but remembering the summer camp two years ago, that was exactly how it went. I am worried about this camp. I only have one desire: that my self-esteem would become stronger. This would make me feel better/more comfortable with myself and with people, would make me forget my stupid feelings for somebody who doesn't seem to care about me, would make me capable of perhaps having a real relationship (i.e., make me more attractive/interesting to girls) and also to defend it in front of my parents, would make me abandon this weird way of handling work/tasks, and would make me a better person. It would all come by itself if I only had some self-esteem. But I don't know how to get there, and what makes me especially worried and sad is that I seem to handle feelings and socializing no different then I did two years ago. I am afraid that I am half the person I could be, but just don't know how to get there. That's why I wrote this thread. Maybe you can give me some hints? What are your thoughts? I hope it's OK I wrote this in the Physics Forum.