I’ve had a disappointing life and I envy those who have done well. How do I overcome these feelings?


Read your article on disappointment. It was very good. I feel I have had a very disappointing life. I was very confused in my twenties and ended up breaking up with my boyfriend of four years who ended up being a successful dermatologist. I have regretted this decision all my life and never married anyone else. I beat myself up, blamed my parents for not guiding me and just have a very negative attitude towards life and am just very unhappy. I have siblings who went on to marry, have children, and fulfilling lives. I am just a lonely bookkeeper who lives alone. I have feelings of hate toward all in my life who got married and had children. I am in my fifties now and sick of feeling this way. How can I overcome these feelings?


Isn't it sad that because others around you made successful choices that you hold that against them? It reminds me of the story Jesus told of the workers in the vineyard. The first workers were offered a denarius to harvest for a day, to which they had happily agreed. But at the end of the day, the owner chose to pay workers who had only worked an hour the same wage. "But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.' But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?'" (Matthew 20:10-15).

What I see is a person who made a series of poor choices, but who is now envious of other people because they didn't make the same mistakes she did. You blame your parents for not guiding you, but the choice of who you would or would not marry was your own and you were of age to make that choice. While they could have offered advice if you had asked them, ultimately the choice was your own to make, not theirs.

I don't know why you chose not to marry another, but again, the choice was yours, not anyone else. If you didn't like the choice then you need to look at yourself and ask why you are making choices that you don't like. And why do you waste time beating yourself up instead of making better choices?

A bitter, hateful woman is not going to be attractive to most men. So change your attitude. "Do not let your adornment be merely outward -- arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel -- rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (I Peter 3:3-4). It is the inward character that makes a person glow. Take sincere joy in the accomplishments of others. "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15). If you are lonely, start doing things with other people -- not people caught up in sin, but find things to do with good people, people you admire. For example, take trips to visit sights in the Bible lands. You are more likely to meet a religious person on such a trip than a worldly person. Go to social gatherings where there are good people and enjoy yourself. It is long past time to come out of your shell. "A man who has friends must himself be friendly" (Proverbs 18:24).

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