I am a nineteen-year-old girl. I have had a “happy” life with good parents, good siblings, and a family that loves me…. I don’t have anything to complain about…. However, I have always tended to be envious, very resentful, and jealous…. but now that I am nineteen, I would like to change. I don’t want to be so resentful. I have a wonderful boyfriend, whom I love, and I want to be ready for marriage; but the truth is that with this bitterness I just can’t, and I even use curse words when I fly into a rage. I really don’t know how to be free of this.

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for three very positive attitudes and actions. First, unlike many people who have the same issues, you recognize your faults and failures. You are not trying to deny your negative behavior and attitudes.

Secondly, you have made a decision to change. You are not justifying your bad behavior or saying that you cannot change.

And third, you know that it would be wrong to go into a marriage partnership before working on your own character flaws. You realize that it would be unfair to your future husband if you were to bring your negative behavior into the marriage.

So, your question is how you can change. As you already know, it will not be fast or easy. The quickest way would be to see a professional counselor. You need a safe place to explore the reasons behind your attitudes. If you do not have access to a counselor through your medical plan or your university, then the next best start would be to join an anger management group. Your medical doctor’s office should be able to recommend a group.

It is impossible to know the reasons behind your attitudes without knowing you personally. However, we can guess that your character flaws may all come from feelings of inferiority. To be envious or jealous of someone else, you must feel, deep inside, that you don’t measure up in some way. Your past school experiences could have contributed to this feeling, or it could have come from experiences with friends or family. You don’t need to find a person to blame, but you do need to find out what is behind your negative attitudes and behaviors.

We also recommend that you ask God, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to forgive you for all your sins. Just as you must ask forgiveness of the people that you offend, you also need God’s forgiveness. But God wants to do more than forgive you; He also wants to help you. He can give you insight and understanding that you currently don’t have. Begin a personal relationship with Him first, and then follow through with our other recommendations. Read the Cases of the Week that are listed under “Jealousy/Envy” and under “Anger” at message2conscience.com for more suggestions.

We wish you well,