Thank you for writing. Your letter tells me that you are an especially sensitive and caring person. I don’ t think this is a self-esteem issue. I think it is a reflection of your sensitivity. You are not alone in your struggles with being privileged. Many teens and young adults who are so fortunate to be wealthy feel conflicted about it. They know they haven’t done anything themselves to earn it. Often they wonder if they could have gained the same comfort if they had had to do it on their own. Doubt about their own abilities and the awareness that others haven’t been as lucky results in what looks very much like a self-esteem problem.
Having as much as you do when so many other people in the world don’t have enough is a burden as well as a gift. It calls on you to figure out what you can do to feel that you are using your wealth to be helpful to others.
Yes, there are wealthy people who never seem to have enough to feel good. They try to fill a hole in their self-regard by having multiple homes, big cars and fancy clothes and fancier parties. But it’s not a strategy that works. They only continue to feel empty. So they continue to accumulate more money and more material things. It never seems to be enough.
People with wealth who feel good about themselves are those who put a substantial part of it into doing good in the world. Often it starts out modestly with volunteering at someplace that serves others less fortunate. As people find a cause that touches their heart, they put more of their time and money into it. Doing good is what makes people feel good. It’s that simple.
I don’t think you need a psychologist — though a therapist might give you some needed encouragement.
I do think you need to find a more supportive boyfriend. Your guy is too concerned with appearances. A quality guy would be much more interested in your values and your empathy. Take a step back from this relationship and make yourself available so you can find someone with better values. You deserve it.
I also think you need to take some steps to make yourself feel like you are doing something worthwhile with your good fortune. Choose something that really touches your heart. I’m betting you will soon feel better.
I wish you well.