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DEAR HARRIETTE: I was a relatively tall kid in elementary school, but when I reached a certain age, I stopped growing. I watched all of my peers tower over me while my height seemed to freeze in the seventh grade — at about 5 feet, 2 inches. I’m so envious of tall women and how noticeable and striking they are when they enter a room. I know that I’ll never have that. I feel as if I’m not taken seriously because of my height. How can I stop feeling bad about my shortness? — Short Adult
DEAR SHORT ADULT: I will start with a personal story. My maternal grandmother stood a proud 4 feet, 9 inches tall. I am a foot taller than she was, yet she always seemed just as tall — she had a quiet presence when she entered the room that everyone noticed. I will add that many tall people feel awkward for an opposite rea- son: They can sometimes feel overly conspicuous among shorter people.
What you must do is look in the mirror and claim your greatness as you are. Look at yourself and notice what is special about you. Really look hard so that you are able to see your strengths. When you walk into a room, walk with the confi- dence that you deserve to be wherever you are and that your presence is equal to anyone else in the room. Your attitude is everything. If you believe it, others will, too.
People of varying sizes, shapes and heights command space based on who they are from the inside out. Take a moment and notice people around you. Watch them. Pick up on their degree of confidence in relation to how they are perceived and received by others. My observations reveal that people are noticed based on their presence far more than their size.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My dad is always wanting me to get out of the house to exercise or see friends because he thinks it’s good for my mental and physical health. Although I agree, it’s sometimes too much. On some days, I just want to stay in bed and watch television without him urg- ing me to get dressed and go out with him. I think that’s a perfectly reason- able thing to ask for. How do I explain to him that it’s summer and I need a break from the constant rush of life? — Summertime Debates
DEAR SUMMERTIME DEBATES: Talk to your father and make a plan. Let him know that you need to sleep in on some days because you can — it’s summer! Promise to schedule time to be out and about, with him, with friends, on your own. And then do it. What your father rightfully is working to avoid is allowing you to sleep in all summer or be reclusive. We have spent more than a year in quar- antine. Now is the time to get back out there and safely engage with others. Don’t get mad at your father. Be grateful for his encouragement. Just man- age your time so that you can build in some quiet moments, too.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initia- tive to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org om or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.