Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Jealousy:
“It's no fun being the ugly duckling.”

Hey Terra,

So this is my story, at my school I am in a group of 6 gorgeous girls (including myself would make us 7). But I don't find myself pretty at all. Usually I end up finding myself in situations where I can't be happy for my friends when they get complimented on their good looks, or when they change a hair style and everyone loves it.

Even though these girls are my close friends there are 2 girls within the group whom I am not so close with, and have personalities that can frankly get rather dull, and uninteresting but because of their good looks, everything seems to come easy to them. Also, I know that this is bad, but I tend to feel extremely jealous of these girls and feel as if they don't deserve their good looks.

It's not fun to be the ugly duckling of the group and not understand what it feels like to be confident and for once, not jealous and eating my heart out. How do I even start to deal with these jealousy issues?

Thanks for your time,

Undiscovered

Dear Undiscovered,

Jealousy is such a powerful emotion. You feel it in your head and in your body. Your chest tightens up, your stomach feels weird, and you may be so unhappy and out of control you can't even think straight.

It sounds like you believe that MORE for the "gorgeous" girls in your group means LESS for you. (But that is totally in the way you look at it and has little to do with reality.)

When you feel jealous you believe that someone is getting something that ought to be yours. On some level, we believe that someone getting "goodies" means there's less of them for us. If the "goodie" they got is attention from others, then we might feel threatened, hurt, or angry. It's as if suddenly we feel less loved by everyone than we did before. It doesn't make a lot of sense when we really think about it, but that's the way we feel. And we can feel it very strongly.

Use your mind not your emotions.

One thing you can do to help you cope with those overwhelmingly yucky feelings of jealousy is to slow yourself down, breathe deeply and try to talk to yourself. Use your rational mind to guide you while your emotions take a break.

So, getting specific, the very next time you experience these feelings, STOP yourself and calm down. Say to yourself "What's really going on here? What can I control and what can't I control?" (HINT: You can't control anyone else's feelings, words, thoughts or choices. You CAN control your own choices -- including how you choose to respond to what's happening.)

Also, ask yourself "What's the goal? In other words, "What do you want?" More attention? More beauty? What can you do about getting what you want?

Bottom line, feeling like an "ugly duckling" is your choice. And if that choice is paralyzing you and eating into your self-esteem... Then why not CHOOSE to cut it out?

You can do that, you know.

In friendship,

Terra


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.


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