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I’m in my late teens, jealous of a friend living happily

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my late teens, once again preparing for university entrance exams after I failed. I’m also jealous of a good friend from high school.

She is pretty, good at learning school subjects and doing sports. She is a star student among her friends and teachers.

On the other hand, I wasn’t very active in making friends at high school because I was bullied in junior high school. I couldn’t learn school subjects and do club activities satisfactorily, and I gained more than 10 kilograms in weight, causing my facial features to change. I was crushed with an inferiority complex.

I’m now preparing to take the entrance exam for a university I want to attend. I also have things I want to achieve. However, I’m not motivated to learn, or work out to lose weight.

Each time I see a new post by my friend on a social networking site that appears as if she is showing off her fulfilling life, I become overwhelmed by jealousy.

I think I’ve been able to get along well with my friends at least to some extent because I’m good-natured. If I keep living this way, I may become bad-natured. It’s painful for me to worry like this. How should I cope?

A, Gunma Prefecture

Dear Ms. A:

Jealousy is an emotion that can be felt by anybody. When you think about who you are jealous of, you will probably realize they are on a level only a little higher than you are — not far away. For example, you aren’t jealous of Albert Einstein or Ichiro Suzuki, but jealous of a classmate. This person symbolizes how you want to be, but achieving that goal is not totally unrealistic.

Based on this, it’s important for you to make efforts to be like her, regardless of whether you actually become like her. In other words, your struggle to achieve what you want by taking her as a rough image, rather than trying to become like her, is worth it.

In the course of making such efforts, your attempts might sometimes fail. You might also feel discouraged and hopeless. During those times, modify the rough image slightly, or be flexible and make things a little less challenging.

You should be prepared to take plenty of time. Reaching goals requires lots of time. In this respect, it’s not that bad to be jealous of someone, for a while. I don’t think it’ll harm your personality.

Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist

(from Oct. 21, 2016, issue)Speech

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