I have this BFF that I love, BUT she’s ALWAYS getting new clothes, purses, etc., and for some reason I’m SO JEALOUS! My mom says she’s just wealthier, but it’s still hard for me to deal with, like the other day when my BFF and I went to the mall, and she got new shoes and new clothes. I just sat there and watched her get everything while I got absolutely NOTHING! Could you please help me figure out how to handle this?
The Green-Eyed Monster
Dear Green-Eyed Monster,
As the scholarship kid at a fancy private school, I get what you’re feeling. Believe me! And it’s SO HARD. Because, like, I UNDERSTAND that my parents work really hard. It’s not their fault we don’t have a ton of extra money for them to just pay for me to attend my school. And I feel like a jerk if I complain!
But, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to watch everyone else get the latest phone, the coolest kicks, or whatever else they want. In a few years, they’ll be getting cars! And I’ll probably still be stuck getting rides from my dad in his roach mobile!! 🙁
Partly, I think we have to work on being grateful for what we have. I know that sounds like such a parent-y, cliché thing to say. But like, there ARE kids around the world and even in our own country who go hungry without enough to eat.
So, okay. Let’s consider what you DO have:
- Probably a house or apartment and a bed to sleep in.
- Enough to eat.
- Parents who love you.
- Good friends.
- Talents—maybe sports, arts, or you’re great at math or good with animals.
- Books/TV/music you enjoy for entertainment.
- Maybe a pet? But if not, what about LOTS of free time since you don’t have to take care of one?
If you have most of things I listed, you have A LOT!!!
If it’s hard for you to recognize that there truly are a lot of kids who have it harder than you do, it might be time to do some volunteering. It can really open your eyes and help you understand more about the world around you. And when you understand how tough some people have it, that can make it easier to appreciate what you have, even if it isn’t a lot. Maybe your wealthy friend could join you in volunteering at a soup kitchen or something.
As I’m getting older, I’m also considering the fact that my parents shouldn’t have to buy EVERYTHING for me. I’m not old enough for a “JOB” job, but I AM old enough to babysit, mow lawns, wash cars or walk people’s dogs. I’m lucky my parents have enough to take care of everything I truly NEED. If there’s stuff that’s extra? Maybe as a teenager, it’s time to take responsibility for that stuff myself!
You might not be a teen, though. I know some of my readers are younger, and when you’re a pre-teen, you have a lot fewer options for making money. That’s a bummer. And it’s one of those things you just…kind of have to wait out. And if you can change your own attitude about it, it’s really the only way to feel any better.
Express your feelings—but not to your friends who have more than you do. That’s likely to cause problems between the two of you. It’s not THEIR fault their parents have more money. Hopefully they’re not insensitive about the differences in your families’ financial situations. If they are, it would be fair to gently remind them—if they’re trying to get your friend group to all agree on an expensive ski weekend away, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I can’t afford that.” But if they show you their cute new shoes…try your best to act happy for them, even if you’re not.
And then later, you can express those feelings. I kinda like writing in a diary. You might like going for a run, banging on some drums or telling your cat all about it. Whatever works to get those feelings out! 🙂
And look, the fact that you can identify your jealousy shows that you are a good person who’s struggling to do the right thing. And feeling the jealousy isn’t what’s wrong. (Though it doesn’t usually feel very good.) The problem really comes when you lash out at your parents or your friends because of your jealousy.
So feel the feelings. They ARE there, after all. And then try to move forward and do what YOU can to get what you want OR make peace with what you have.