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You Asked: Everyone Else Has What I Want

Dear Sugar,

I am 28 and was in a seven-year relationship that ended four years ago. Recently my 22-year-old brother got engaged to his live-in girlfriend. They plan on getting married next Summer and are currently trying to buy a house. All of my closest friends and co-workers are married and having kids. I'm single and definitely not where I imagined myself to be at this age. My little brother is experiencing all the things I envisioned for myself four years ago. How can I stop from feeling so envious of what my brother and friends have?

— Left Behind Bea

To see DearSugar's answer,

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Dear Left Behind Bea,

Creating specific expectations for your life is inevitably disappointing; it's just so unlikely that everything will turn out how you planned. Waiting to find something that works right for you is much more important and satisfying than trying to compete with friends and family. Unless you want to be bogged down by these feelings of jealousy and inadequacy, it's time to make some changes to your attitude.

First of all, stop comparing yourself to your brother and your friends. You're all different people and you all have very different lives to lead — that's a good thing! Just because you're not engaged or settling down with kids doesn't mean that you won't or can't be completely content. However, spending more time concerned with what you don't have instead of all the things you have to look forward to — like falling in love or becoming an aunt — could very well make you unhappy. So chin up, and put a stop to all these expectations. Everything will come around eventually, but for now, it's time to enjoy life and yourself just as it is today.

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Join The Conversation
emalove emalove 9 years
I'm SO with GlowingMoon...I can't stand resentfulness. Be happy for those you love and are close with, be happy with who you are and know that there are plenty of good things that will happen for you in the future.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
Live your life and stop comparing yourself to other people. I know it sounds corny but you only have one life to live so wouldn't you rather enjoy it? Worrying about "where you should be" or where everyone else is a huge waste of time.
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
You shouldnt be ashamed or upset its only natural to want these things. I go through this from time to time, and I know its hard. This year a few of my friends are getting married and I try not to compare myself to them but sometimes its really hard a tiny part of me is really jealous. I don't know if its marriage per say or just that fact that at that point I would be secure in the fact that he wanted to be with me for the rest of his life. Saying and doing are two completely different things. I try to focus on the positive things and just be happy for how truly blessed I am and you should do the same. Want things because you want them, not because its what others are doing. Eventually we all get what we want.. stay positive girl.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 9 years
Focus on the positive parts of your life and work on improving yourself.
Marni7 Marni7 9 years
"Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention" if you focus on what you have, instead of what you dont, u'll realize your life is probably better than most. There will always be people that are doing better (and worse) than you, so comparing yourself to them will only make you sad. Concentrate on yourself..re focus
bluestar bluestar 9 years
OMG, that youtube is the best thing I've seen in awhile! SOO funny and true!
LuvLeoDiCaprio LuvLeoDiCaprio 9 years
Very well said glowingmoon, I am constantly trying to deal with my jealousy. I have really gotten better at it but boy in the past it cost me many a friendship. I have learned to stop comparing myself to others that is just really bad. So to you Left behing Bea focus on what you have honey and trust some of those people that you think have everything can be some of the most unhappy people. So focus on what you do have and remember to live life to the fullest, because life is short and definitely not promised!
sunnyheart sunnyheart 9 years
Oh my gosh looseseal your youtube post made me feel better than any advice. Thank you so much.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
I wanted to add, that I think a lot of my married with kids friends are envious of my lifestyle as I am the friend they come to hang out with when the man babysits to have some "grown up" time :-)
geebers geebers 9 years
Don't be ashamed or upset because you feel jealous. It is a human emotion and everyone has it. Just acknowledge it and keep it to yourself. The trick is to recognize that you are jealous of what you THINK they have not what they actually have. They maybe very happy but they also deserve it and I am sure there are other things that make them unhappy. You are living your own life and you know what - maybe those same people are jealous of you! Or you can move to NYC -I am 28 and most of my friends and I are not married. ;)
Stella10 Stella10 9 years
I have read alot of the messages that people have left for you and I read the Dear Sugar post and it's like your me 2 years ago. I dated someone for 3 years and we lived together for 8 months, the break up was very sudden and it left me in a very awkward place in my life so I know exactly how you feel. I think it's important to start doing things just for yourself. Life is about making yourself happy and when your happy those around you are happy as well. I found myself working very hard to make plans with anyone and EVERYONE who wanted to go out. Because filling the hours outside of work are very VERY important. Sitting at home in your P.J.'s and going to bed early aren't going to cut it. Once I started filling the hours outside of work and it took me about 1 1/2 years to get with the program everything started to fall into place. I was happier and eventually totally by pure coincidence I met someone. I'm thinking he's the right one for sure! But you can't feel sorry for yourself and it takes effort. I could have seen myself slowly falling into a black hole because of what happened and it took time for recovery, but eventually I realized you just have to keep going.
Sporky Sporky 9 years
I agree with whoever said, be happy for what you have. Someone is probably looking at you with envy themselves. The grass is always greener, they say. :)
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
Well, I feel the same way sort of. It's funny, most of my friends are either married with kids or living with their SO's with kids. I am the only one that isn't married or living with my boyf and without kids. Every once in a while I start to feel badly about it (usually I am PMSing) but then I think about how happy I am, how actually, I am NOT ready for kids at this point in my life (my parents wish differently as I am almost 28, but I enjoy the way things are right now and babies freak me out a bit) and how yes, I want my boyf to propose, but not because everyone else is engaged or married, because I am ready to start a life with him. I do feel funny about going to my 10 year reunion with a bare left ring finger, but...i'll get over it :-).
lovelie lovelie 9 years
*for everyone
lovelie lovelie 9 years
I think jealousy is a very normal reaction, and I don't "look" down on it, because personally, I feel that is a very condescending thing to say. However, when it is stripping you of any positive emotions, it is time to reevaluate your own priorities. It is hard very EVERYONE to see people in their lives move forward, when it seems we are lagging behind. Like many others have said though, find things to satisfy yourself for right now, and things will fall into place. Bottom line: Everyone experiences jealousy, it is just a matter of whether that jealousy turns into resentment.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Surround yourself by people who are on the same level as you! When all my friends started getting boring (read: married with kids), I just sought out new friends. I still talk to the boring ones, but there is only so much marriage and kid conversation I can take (no offense, but that is all they talk about). So I found other friend's my age who are ringless and kidless and that way I do not have to worry about envy or resentment or any of those things that shouldn't happen in a friendship. Don't get so hung up on a timeline, you will get your day!
avettafawna avettafawna 9 years
It doesn't sound to me like you have a jealously problem, but rather an unhappiness problem. I recently went through a very similar phase that was a result of feeling left behind in my career. I wasn't unhappy for my friends, but it can be hard not to feel left out when everyone around you is moving on in their lives while you're stuck in the same place. I suggest you take a good, honest look at your life. You may have to ask some questions about yourself that you've never asked before. Embrace the failures of the past, figure out what you really need/want, and then move on.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
I find I'm not at all jealous of people having relationships, getting married, and having kids (while I'm doing none of these things). Maybe it's because they complain about it constantly. Also, I wasn't big on seeing those as "ultimate life goals" in the first place, but even if I was, I think my friends and family would be effectively putting me off it for life. This may not be appropriately Pollyanna-ish, but seriously, a little schedenfraude can be good for you. If the people in your life aren't the type to go on and on about how much their lives suck, you can get that same stuff by reading some "true mom confessions" and "true dad confessions". Dear is right on the money with "Stop comparing yourself to others". So what if you're also getting married and having kids now? Next you're gonna be comparing everything from the kids' grades to the size of their feces. Constantly using the kids to try to "one-up" the others and getting on your kids' nerves with "why can't you be more like so-and-so's kids?" Just. Don't. Aaaand I think I'm going to stick this link in any time somebody is sad about not living the lifescript, I think it'll cheer you up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTkp9UqVVHs
zawackirz zawackirz 9 years
You are not alone, I feel for you girl! I'm 23 and it seems all my friends and my twin sister are in serious relationships. Its hard to be shiny and happy for people when you are disappointed. Sooo I just try to make the best of it, try to make the best of the situation but also give yourself time away from it. Support your brother and friends, but try and find single friends to go out with and maybe a hobby or two. I disagree that jealousy is that you are not able to be happy for people. It is human to be jealous and okay as long as you don't take it too far and curse other people's happiness... Everyone has their own opinion! BEST OF LUCK GIRLIE One of my favorite quotes from a song by the band called The Academy is... "Hold your head high heavy heart" Take Care
sunnyheart sunnyheart 9 years
I agree millarci, you are not alone.
imLissy imLissy 9 years
jealousy doesn't mean you can't be happy for other people. It doesn't mean you don't want them to have what they have, you just want it too. that said, I think everyone's a little jelous of someone else for some reason. They're in a better relationship, they have more money, they can date whoever they want, they can eat whatever they want, they're skinny, they're curvy... the trick is to be happy with what you have now and hope for the best in the future
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 9 years
awww that is a sad story jmmachg, but good advice!
jmmachg jmmachg 9 years
Left Behind Bea, I feel the same way as you. I was married for 16yrs to somebody who never wanted children, and I always did, I made that sacrifice because I wanted to be with this one person for the rest of my life, turns out they didn't feel the same way. The only thing I can say is that feel jealous, it's natural, but be positive and work towards what you want. I have been divorced for 2yrs now and everyday I try to find some way to make it possible to meet someone who loves kids, me and I feel the same about them. I never give up, even against all odds. I am the King of Wishful Thinking because I know my wishes will come true.
fitgirlFL fitgirlFL 9 years
Great comments! :-) You can't change the circumstances, but you can control how you think and react to it.
millarci millarci 9 years
I'm glad this question was posted, because I feel exactly the same way. You're not alone.
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