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TROUBLESHOOTER / I’m frustrated because my sister will marry before me

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female public employee in my 20s. My sister, who is two years younger than me, is soon to get married. I’m frustrated because I feel I’m a step behind her.

We’re not on bad terms. Indeed, I feel somewhat like congratulating her.

But I’m driven to tears whenever I see her looking happy as she and her fiance prepare for their wedding. I just feel bitter whenever I imagine attending her wedding ceremony while still unmarried or giving gifts of money to her children on New Year’s Day after they’re born.

Ever since we were children, I’ve always been superior to my sister in academic achievement and sports. That makes me feel even more strongly that I’ve been left behind this time. Of course, I’m very aware that marrying has nothing to do with competition, but I’m the type of person who can’t stand losing, and end up evaluating myself in terms of winning or losing.

I desperately want to get married and have children. However, the man I’ve been dating for two years doesn’t bring up marriage. This is probably why I feel so impatient and uneasy.

How can I get rid of my pent-up feelings? Do I have to endure this until I get married? Help me.

T, Yamagata Prefecture

Dear Ms. T:

How openly and candidly you expressed your feelings in your letter. You were also honest in talking about your jealousy of your sister.

We tend to compare ourselves with those around us, such as sisters and friends. What’s more, you’re only two years older than your sister. I think she may have felt miserable since she was a child when comparing herself to her older sibling, who is good at everything.

It would be nice if you could quietly put your negative feelings toward your sister away in a corner of your mind and try to shift your attention to seeing her in a favorable light. Even if she becomes happy, that shouldn’t mean you become less happy. I suggest you try to find and count her good points, telling yourself things like, “Ah, she’s loved because of this and this.” This process will surely help fill you with positive energy.

I think it’s to your advantage that you can’t stand losing by nature. It means you’re the type of person who sets a high goal and makes efforts to achieve it.

If you find someone in the future that you feel jealous of — whether the person is your sister or somebody else — you should first acknowledge that person’s good points and take it as a chance for you to grow further. I hope having this mind-set will make you even more attractive.

Akemi Masuda, sports commentator

(from July 27 issue)Speech

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