I'm going to be a little more serious today.
I've recently been feeling very down because I've been so jealous of other people's lives and social lives. It hurts me deep inside and makes me feel like I've done nothing and wasted everything that I've done. I work so hard but people don't notice that. I just want to live a normal life. I only have 2 good friends and that makes me pretty depressed. One of my friends is foreigner and her parents don't even know about me and they won't let her EVER go with anybody. My other friend is a bad girl. I say this because she cusses and gets Fs. Teachers tell me to get new friends but I truly can't. No one is as trustful as they are. My mom works all day until 9 so I never get to see her. Middle school is coming up and I don't know how I'm ever going to survive. I feel like a failure. It kills me everyday.
Please help, Papabear!
Cici (age 11)
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There is a lot going on in this letter, not just one question. The issues include: 1) you are jealous of other people who, I guess, you feel are more accomplished than you and have better social lives; 2) you don’t feel you get the recognition you deserve for working hard; 3) you want a “normal life”; and 4) you worry you only have two friends, one with whom you can’t socialize openly and another that people say you should stay away from.
To really get a firm grip on what caused all this, Papabear would need to sit with you on the couch for many hours. So I must talk in generalities because I don’t know all the information for your specific problems.
Regarding jealousy: Jealousy is an ugly green monster that eats the soul. You must remember that there will always be someone who seems more accomplished, richer, smarter, better looking, more skilled, more admired than you. Therefore, it is fruitless to play the comparison game. It’s a true cliché that the only person you are really in competition with is yourself. Be the best Cici you can be. More importantly, be the best person you can be. Be kind and considerate and helpful to others in the world—from people to animals to plants to the planet itself—and you will have much to feel proud about. Also, examine why you feel jealous of these people. Are you being realistic? Perhaps they are more popular because they are shallow and focus on their appearance or just pretend to like others and are afraid to be themselves. Perhaps they are rich because mommy and daddy gave them unearned money. The list goes on. I can only speculate because I don’t know who these people are or why you envy them. Remember, though, jealousy only hurts you. Set your own goals and work towards them and don’t worry about what other people are doing.
I don’t know what you mean by “I've done nothing and wasted everything that I've done.” If you’ve wasted what you’ve done, then the first part of that sentence is not true because you actually have done something. Anything you do is something you can learn from and grow from, so it is never a waste. Mistakes are just as valuable as accomplishments if you learn from them. Set realistic goals for yourself, and then try to meet them or even exceed them. Take it one step at a time and don’t be discouraged if sometimes you have to take a step backward.
As for #3, I don’t think there is such a thing as a “normal life.” I don’t even know what that means. Everyone has a different life and a different story. Each life is unique. Normal is a myth. If you try to live your life by some artificial or mythical standard of “normal,” you will always be disappointed. Live the life you were meant to live that is unique to you, not some bizarre society standard.
Friendships. Friendships form because two people like each other for who they are. If you like these two people and they like you, then that is all that matters. If you wish to make more friends then the way to do that is to socialize with people, especially doing things that you have in common. Take an interest in their lives and who they are and they will reciprocate if they like what they see in you. Here’s a nice article with some helpful advice on making new friends: http://www.succeedsocially.com/sociallife.
Finally, your mom. I’m sorry she has to work so much and you don’t have much time together. How about on the weekends, though? Unless she works seven days a week, there must be some time there. And, if she is busy doing things around the house, spend time with her by helping her with household duties. Although this isn’t “fun time,” it is still “together time,” and she will appreciate the help, believe me. Then, those things will be done more quickly and she will have time to do something more relaxing with you.
And finally finally! Don’t be so hard on yourself. Start by not saying things like “I feel like a failure.” When you start to say something negative about yourself, stop. Pause. Then think of something you like about yourself, such as “I’m doing better with my classwork” or “I’m doing better making friends” or simply “I’m a good person who cares about other people.”
In summary: stop comparing yourselves to others, set your own goals and work towards them, and stop being so down on yourself.
Hope that helps.
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