Why the grass is not always greener

Dear Daughter,

You may occasionally hear an adult say, “The grass is greener on the other side.” That adult likely is not talking about the actual color of their actual grass. This is an expression reflecting a perception that someone else’s life, or another path of life you might take, is better than your own life, than the current path you’re on. Usually that perception is false, but sometimes it’s not. Today I’m going to attempt to write about this complex mentality.

By nature, we humans tend to covet other humans. We want what they have, whether it’s material possessions, success or relationships. In fact, just yesterday I heard on the radio that 21 percent of women say they would rather have one of their friends’ husbands than their own. (Yet another negative view of marriage that irks me to no end.) For some reason, when looking at our own lives we are dissatisfied, so we think everyone else has it better. But we don’t realize that everyone else is just as dissatisfied with their life!

It’s not just about coveting other people, though. “The grass is greener” concept applies to the decisions you make, too. People will quit a job and get a new one, thinking that the new one will make them richer and happier. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. A couple might get divorced, thinking that single life, or life away from that person, is preferable to life with that person. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.

And when it isn’t—when the reality sets in that the grass is not as green as the person had hoped—disappointment, heartache and regret could be the end result.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be many times in life when you’ll have to decide to take a new path, and hopefully that path will lead to good things. But don’t be so quick to get out of your current situation that you glorify the alternative. Avoid believing that the new path is your savior, your ticket to lifelong happiness. Because nothing and no one is perfect. The grass on the other side might look lush and green but could be rotting at the roots. The new job might pay more money but could require more of your time. Your friend’s husband might be better looking than yours, but he has annoying habits too.

When you do have those moments when you wonder what life is like on the other side—and you will have many, I assure you—step back and think about how great you already have it now. Try to wade past the undesirable stuff and focus instead on the things you like best about your job or spouse or wardrobe. And give grace to the people and things in your life. Know that they’re not perfect and never will be… and be grateful for that! After all, it’s the imperfections in this world that make the little nuggets of goodness that much more precious.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Dorothy M.
    Dec 24, 2014 @ 09:24:48

    These are beautiful letters, and so heartfelt. Thanks for writing the words that speak to us in our life situations. You are a gifted writer!


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