Dear Mrs. Riches:
I am not proud to admit that I have always been a very jealous person, especially when it comes to money. One friend in particular, "Suzy," is driving me crazy now. She just started a line of clothing that is being snapped up by a huge retailer, and she will make a killing on it. She leads a charmed life, has more friends than she knows what to do with, and always has great things happening to her. It just doesn't seem fair.
Lately, my jealousy of Suzy has gotten so bad that I have avoided any attempts of hers to get in contact. Otherwise, if I hear more details, I lose sleep, feel bitter, wonder what she has that I don't, and feel all-around miserable. I recognize that this isn't the mature way to proceed, but as long as I feel the way I do, I just can't imagine being her friend. Advice needed, please.
-- Green-Eyed Girl
Dear Green-Eyed Girl:
Oh, dear. Do you really need me to tell you that the issue is not Suzy or her money, but you? Your jealousy is not just an impediment to your friendship with this accomplished, well-liked woman; it's a serious problem that you can't afford to ignore. Well, you could ignore it, of course, and simply not return her phone calls. But I suspect that, without her in the picture, your green-eyed monster will soon go trolling for other well-adjusted, successful people to drive you crazy. The problem won't go away even as Suzy has moved on to other, more self-assured friends with whom she can celebrate her successes.
In the meantime, your jealousy is preventing you from seeing that Suzy is probably so successful precisely because she's a smart, people-savvy person who can get beyond her own issues. While we like to call such people "lucky," I have a hunch that it has more to do with having a high "E.Q." (emotional quotient), a kind of smarts that make us fluent in the language and management of our emotions. But that's more about Suzy.
So what is going on with you and your extreme jealousy? It's become a cliche to talk about lousy self-esteem, but that's probably because so many people's problems start with plummeting self-worth. In your case, you need to take a look at why you feel so lousy about yourself and then formulate a plan to deal with it. While none of us can go back and change our childhoods, you have a lot of options for changing your present and future.
After a lifetime of self-doubt, it can be hard to change all on your own. Consider finding a good therapist who can help you to take charge of your own life again. Transforming yourself from life's victim to life's champion is hard work, but the rewards will be very worth it.
Want more help with your money problems? Give The Motley Fool's personal-finance service, GreenLight, a try. It'll get you on the road to financial harmony in no time.
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Fool contributor Elizabeth Brokamp is a licensed professional counselor who regularly talks money with her honey, Robert Brokamp, editor of The Motley Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter. To get your money and relationship questions answered, send her an email .