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by Abigail Van Buren

Material Teen Begrudges Her Friends' New Clothes

DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old girl in high school. My family does not have a lot of money, but a lot of my friends' families do. (We have some money, but it's only enough to get by.) When my friends come to school with new clothes or concert tickets, I feel resentful because I can't afford them. I constantly compare myself to other girls and feel jealous of everyone around me. Is there anything I can do to combat this? -- JEALOUS OF EVERYONE IN UPSTATE NEW YORK

DEAR JEALOUS: I can think of few things so self-defeating as constantly comparing oneself to other people. No matter what income bracket a person is in, there will always be individuals who have more. Your worth as a person has nothing to do with what's in your closet, what's on your back or whether you can afford concert tickets.

One way to start feeling better about yourself would be to make a list of the qualities that make you special. You are obviously intelligent. Are you also a loyal friend? Are you sensitive to the feelings of other people? These important qualities will outlast any fashion fad -- and the popularity of most music groups, too. The more time you spend dwelling on the important qualities you have, the less time you'll waste being preoccupied with the material things you don't.