March 31, 2016
Stop kissing her right now or I’m gonna do something you won’t like!
I’m with this guy for like 6 months, he’s my first boyfriend and my big love ( even if he’s not my first I fell in love with)… I have a real problem, I’m jealous of his past. He lived so much with his ex and I want this relation to work out the best, but I don’t know if he thinks the same. How can I get over this jealousy? It’s driving me crazy! – Jealousy Sucks
Dear Jealousy Sucks –
It sure does! But you don’t have to let jealousy control you or your relationships.
You can’t change your boyfriend’s relationship history: who he has been with, how they felt about each other, and what they did. That’s over. Done. Same with your past crushes. (Yes, I’m talking about the first person you fell in love with.)
The only place we can live is right now. If we’re not here, we’re no where at all. (Think about that the next time you space out imagining your guy with his ex.)
Look, either this relationship is what you and this guy both want now or it isn’t. If it turns out the relationship doesn’t last, for whatever reason, then so be it. Take what you learned into your next relationship and do better. But if you can not “get over” your jealousy, then you will be equally jealous of the next guy’s ex or exes.
So what’s in the way of your just saying to yourself, “He is with me now because he loves me. That’s all that matters.”?
How do you kick jealousy to the curb? Sometimes it takes help. If you’ve got a school counselor, you might want to pop in and talk to him or her about how to deal with jealousy. You might also check out some library books about the subject (there are plenty!). Or have a look at this article I wrote. One thing is for sure, doing nothing, is probably not going to help. If you let your jealousy ruin this relationship and you don’t figure out a healthy way to deal with these feelings, the same mistrust and jealousy will likely mess up your next relationship. You don’t want that! So work on this. You can do it.
Good luck! I hope this helps.
Annie (aka Terra)
February 7, 2016
I’ve been experiencing some moral differences with my parents. I’ve always idolized my them, but recently, I’ve realized I simply can’t agree with some of their ideas.
On a recent trip we took public transportation and most of the people riding with us were African Americans. My mom kept whispering derogatory racist remarks to me and my sister. And just a few days ago, my mom argued that a person’s skin color and other aspects of appearance are a direct link to the quality of the person.
I love my parents, but it makes me confused when I disagree so vehemently with people I care about. Racism is a big issue and I hate to see my parents contribute to it.
How should I respond when they bring up or argue this topic again? Is debating with them a viable solution? – Confused
Talk to the hand.
I am very proud of you for recognizing racist remarks when you hear them and knowing it’s not ok to talk like that. Even if these remarks come from someone you love and idolize (like your parents) a racist comment is still a racist comment! You’re right. Racism is a big issue and you have chosen to be part of the solution, not the problem. I admire you for taking that role.
So how should you respond when parents try to argue their ignorant perspective? Great question! To discover the answer you first need to examine the answer to this question: “When it comes to other people’s attitudes, opinions, feelings, thoughts and behavior what power do I have?” You sound like an extremely intelligent individual so you probably don’t need me to tell you that you have no power over what others think or feel or do. Zero. But you do have 100% control over your own behavior.
Because you are uncomfortable with hate speech, you can simply hold up your hand and say to your parents, “Stop. I don’t want to hear this kind of talk.” You can do that with conviction, but without rudeness or anger. You have the right to respectfully set boundaries for their hate speech in your space. Will this change your parents’ attitudes about people who are different from themselves? Not likely, but at least they will know it is not OK with you to speak this way in front of you.
I’m so grateful to know there is a reasonable way to stop these conversations when they start without adding fuel to the fire. Thanks again! – Less Confused
Glad to help.
January 17, 2016
New teen novel, coming soon to a door near you
My daughter and son (both writers) strongly encouraged me to write a teen novel as part of NaNoWriMo. That can happen when you spend years telling your kids, “You can do it, sweetie!”
Never heard of National Novel Writing Month? It’s an official kick-in-the-pants to start that book you always said you wanted to write. The challenge: Write 50,000 (mostly cogent) words in thirty days. To reach 50K you’ve got to hit 1687 words per day. Was I up for it? Sure, why not?
Nov. 1, 2013 I began with an idea inspired by a true story of a teen suicide attributed to bullying. Thirty days and 30,000 words later I was so hooked on the story idea and the process of turning it into a novel, I had no choice but to continue working. Fiction writers say they keep at it to “find out what happens next in the story.” Absolutely true. Every time I sat down to work on the novel, my characters told me more about who they are, what they need, and why they do what they do. By listening closely and following the breadcrumbs the story unfolded and I was constantly amazed by what came through my fingers onto the keyboard. I have no idea where this stuff comes from, I’m just grateful to have a channel into it.
Now, twenty-six months later, my color coded system blankets my office door and my characters won’t quit yapping ’til I deliver their story to teens.
Which brings me to the present.
Nope, my water hasn’t broken and there are no contractions yet, but we’re in a new phase. The manuscript is “this close” to being ready to leave my laptop and get some professional input.
October 28, 2015
Forever may be shorter than you think
The emails from girls who have been “dumped” by a BFF and “replaced” by their ex-BFF’s new BFF continue to pile up. I get several every day. And while it’s normal to feel upset when the person you’ve been closest to no longer gives a fig for your friendship and it’s helpful to reach out to someone you can trust, you’ve got to ask yourself: what can I do besides feeling like crap?
If you’re a teen, this one’s is for you. I’m going to tell you how to use your power in ways that will make you feel good about yourself… not like the “thrown out pickle on a hamburger” (as one 13 year old so eloquently put it.)
If you’re the parent of a teen, this one’s for you too because even when your girl feels “helpless” there are ways you can help her through this rejection.
Hey Terra – My BFF and I have been really close for 3 years. Last year I became close with another friend. I treated them both like my best friends and I had no idea my first BFF was kinda jealous of the other, she never told me. I felt her drifting away. Then she started getting close to a newcomer and calling her her best friend! I felt replaced. I am getting jealous and I really wish I can have my best friend back. It hurts everytime I see their pictures together. They are always hugging each other and holding hands, which I dislike because she never did that with me. It really hurts at the moment because I can feel my friend ignoring me. I feel so lost Terra, please help me. – Lost and Hurting
Dear Lost and Hurting,
It’s not easy to feel “replaced” in the heart of someone you really care about. I’m sorry you’re hurting. Maybe I can help.
I think it’s interesting that the first half of your email describes the feelings of jealousy your friend experienced when you got close to the other girl. You are intelligent and you’ve probably already noticed the situation has flippednow you’re feeling the same way she did!
The question to be answered is: What can you do about this?
You cannot control your friend’s feelings or thoughts or behavior. If she wants to spend more time with the other girl and if she wants to call the other girl her best friend, you have no control over that. But you do have control over how you respond from this moment on.
If it hurts or makes you jealous to look at their pictures then don’t look. Stop hurting yourself this way. Choose to stay away from her FB page or Instagram or whatever. Likewise, if you feel jealous when you see them hugging each other then stop following them with your eyes. And if you see them, by chance, look away. These choices are within your power.
You don’t say how long this has been bringing you down. I hope not too long. You can choose to continue feeling sad, jealous and rejected if you want to. I wouldn’t recommend that! Instead, I’d recommend that you think about new friends. Start with a list where you fill in the blank to complete this sentence: “I want a best friend who is—————.” Think about all the qualities you are looking for in a close friend. Are you looking for friend who is as intelligent as you are? A friend who shares your values and interests and sense of humor? A friend who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with her? Make a list and then go shopping for a new friend. And be patient. Sometimes it takes a while to find a quality friend.
I hope this helps.
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