Life Advice



Bitter Over Brother's Success

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I've read a lot of your columns, and it always seems your advice is helpful. I've been stuck in a major rut for the last two or three years. I was unhappy in my line of work for quite some time, so I made changes, including recently going into business for myself. It's still the same line of work, but now I have more flexibility and more say in how things are done. You'd think that would be a positive thing, but it presents its own issues.

The work I'm doing is not fulfilling to me. I don't feel very good about myself at day's end, and there's really no room for growth. I basically see myself in this same financial and professional situation in 10 years. I don't feel like I'm actually working toward anything. It is hard to muster the motivation each day. I don't really see college as an option at this point in my life, and I don't have the confidence to try again after I dropped out over 15 years ago.

The part that bothers me most is I'm constantly comparing myself to my younger brother. I couldn't be more proud of him, and I love him, but I'm envious. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees, and he has a job where he is going to excel financially. I don't hold that against him; he and I have a great relationship, but behind his back, I'm always comparing myself to him. I just don't stack up.

I want what he has earned and what he's got going for himself. I've been in my trade for about 10 years and have stalled in my earnings. When my brother graduated from school, he immediately earned more in a year than I could ever hope to earn annually.

I feel like I'm just here spinning my tires and getting nowhere while he's got the whole world in his hand. I know it's my way of thinking, and I try to tell myself that, but each and every day I spend getting nowhere I feel like more of a failure. Any advice on the situation would be of great help and much appreciated. -- Other Brother


Dear Brother: Thank you for your support and kind words. Comparison is the thief of joy, and right now you are robbing yourself of any joy that you could be feeling in your own accomplishments. When comparing yourself to your brother, it can doubly rob you of joy because you love him and are feeling conflicted.

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to sit down and write out your goals. What exactly would you like to accomplish in life? There are many people who have gone back to college. If you think it would bring you more joy, then do it. It is never too late.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to



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