The idiom, “the grass is always greener on the other side,” means that as you look over your neighbor’s fence, you see their grass as healthier and (obviously) greener than yours. The problem is that you’re not close enough to recognize the crabgrass, brown patches, or bare places. Just like us worn-down humans, with worn-down and dark areas, grass sometimes seems pretty good until you get really close.
In our humanness, we often look at other people’s realities believing that theirs are definitely better than ours. We see their world through rose-colored glasses, presuming their situations are more attractive than ours. You might think, “Wow, my friend has it all: an amazing career, beautiful clothes, a gorgeous house, and the opportunity to travel all the time. If she heard you, her response just might be, “Are you kidding? I’d give anything to get out of this rat race, have a simpler life, spend more time at home and with friends!”
You may hear someone say, “I wish my relationship was like John and Alice’s. They’re so in love and happy, their kids are always so well-behaved, their life is perfect,” never knowing what goes on behind their closed doors. John and Alice may live in an outwardly beautiful house, that’s anything but peaceful inside.
Helen Keller wrote, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” For some people, it doesn’t matter how popular, loved, financially secure, or blessed they are, there’s always something better. They’ll never be content because there’s still greener grass to pursue. The irony that Keller was physically blind, but could “see” much more clearly than many of us, is not lost on me!
What really makes you happy? Often, many of the things we say we want or need to experience contentment have a financial cost. Would the acquisition of a larger home, a more expensive car, or another designer handbag really make you satisfied, or would it merely fill the void for a brief time? The genuinely significant parts of life: health, friendship, love, creativity, and laughter—the ones without monetary costs, are what truly matter. Sure, we can spend money on the things and experiences that bring us joy, but, for the most part, we shouldn’t have to “buy” them. Too often, we forget the value of making the most of what we do have.
Of course, sometimes, the “grass is greener.” If you’re in a relationship, job, or situation where you’re disrespected, unfulfilled, or unvalued, it may be time to reinvent your life by stepping out of the safety of the grass you’re standing on and moving to the other side. But, remember, there aren’t just two sides: “their awesome green grass” and “my, not so great grass;” there’s a myriad of alternatives between the two.
Continually evolve and recreate yourself on this journey called life. In this odyssey, as you grow and learn who you really are, choose to nurture greener grass. Put on a pair of rose-colored glasses, walk a path that you’ve learned how to fertilize, throw away glasses that no longer serve you, and intentionally create the life you want to live.