I Wish My Life Was As Good As Theirs.

“My friends all have lots of money and find school easy, while I struggle with everything. How do I stop being jealous?” 

Our Elder team advises: “It is normal to be envious of what other people have. But be grateful for what you have and realize that everyone has problems, even if you can’t see them.”

Dear EWC,

Hi there. I am currently a second-year college student. I’m doing alright grades wise—nothing too bad but nothing good, and I have a pretty good family life. All in all, I’m happy and satisfied with everything. So why can’t I stop feeling frustrated whenever I look at other people’s lives? 

I have these classmates who have almost everything. They are smart, rich, have perfect families, have a shit ton of money and free time, and I can’t help but wish I had the same. These people complain about the smallest things all the time: their “bad” grades, when it’s a pretty good score, their packages and orders not arriving on time, their noisy parents, etc. Then here I am, dying while trying to catch up on school, my part-time job, and my home life, while they feast on first world problems. 

I know they might have issues of their own that they deal with, but it’s hard not to be jealous of the luxury they have. I just get so mad because they don’t even seem bothered by the really big things, and I really wish I had that luxury of life… just to never worry about money for enrollment, or having a good enough signal for school. I want this frustration to stop. I don’t want to be jealous of them anymore, but I am, and I can’t figure out why. Do you have any advice for me or maybe some tough love that could knock some sense into me? I will take anything

Beacons-of-Light Response

We are a group of seniors living in a retirement community, and we are glad that you wrote to Elder Wisdom. We were impressed with the thought process of your letter, and how you worked through your feelings and even made us smile at your second to the last sentence. (Because to be truthful, we could all use some tough love and to have someone knock some sense into us from time to time!) 

If we are all honest with ourselves, it is very normal to be envious of what other people have and how we imagine how lovely their life must be. However, there are a couple of cliche phrases that we will throw at you because they are TRUE! “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.” Just because their lives look perfect, it doesn’t mean that they are. Of course, we know that some people are born into lives that just seem easier, but trust us when we tell you that everyone has some cross to bear—at least at some point in their lives. 

Another cliche is, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” With social media, it seems like everyone posts things that make them appear “happier,” “more attractive,” or even “richer” than they really are. You used the words “perfect families.” We are here to tell you that there is no such thing as a perfect family! 

The one thing that most of us sitting around our table can all agree on is that being handed everything you want or need in life doesn’t guarantee happiness. Every single one of us had to work for what we achieved—our parents didn’t have money to just hand us what we wanted (many times, they didn’t even have the money to give us what we needed.) One lady shared that she had two pairs of shoes—one for everyday wear, and one for church on Sunday. If she lost them or didn’t take care of them, too bad. 

Working for things helps give you a better sense of appreciation for what you have and what you’ve achieved. We truly understand financial hardships and the frustrations that come with them, we but don’t allow someone else’s circumstance to steal all of your joy. Life is too short to waste your time worrying about everyone else when you should be focused on all the blessings you have in your own life. 

We applaud you because at the beginning of your letter you recognized that you have many things in your life you should feel happy about. Stop focusing on what you don’t have and focus on what you do have. Although it may not be feasible, if you volunteered to help people less fortunate than you, it would help you remember how lucky you are. Even as you sit here reading this letter from us, there are many people who wish that they had what you have right now—a good family, the opportunity to go to college, and so much more! Kaia, we want you to really look inward to find your inner happiness. Life is very short, and it goes by very quickly. Don’t waste a second of it on being jealous of other people. 

Meditation, yoga, or journaling may help you express yourself and learn how to release these feelings of jealousy, anger, and frustration. Material things truly aren’t important (obviously, our basic needs need to be met), but we have become obsessed with having “stuff as a culture and society.” It is cluttering up our minds, our spaces, and our relationships! After all of these words, if you are still struggling to find a way to get past these feelings, we recommend that you seek out the advice of a school counselor, therapist, or spiritual advisor to help talk you through all of these emotions. 

One of our group members referred to the sophomore year of college as the “suffering year” because it is one of the most difficult times. Does that really help you to know that you are not alone and that other people experience the same feelings/things that you are going through right now? Maybe or maybe not, but what it does tell you is that it is temporary if you allow it to be. Our life is like a roller coaster ride; we have a lot of ups and downs until the ride comes to a complete stop!

We want to leave you with a quote from Albert Schweitzer. He said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.“ We believe that is true.

What does that mean?  Success in personal relationships or work will not automatically bring you happiness, but happiness (with whatever you have) can bring you a successful life! We know that you will be just fine, Kaia, but just in case, here is a swift kick in the pants: Shake off all the negative feelings and focus on the good in your life! Work to change what you can, and to accept what you can’t! 

We wish you the best of luck now and in the future! 

Best Regards,


Article #: 473812
Category: Self-Improvement

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