The grass is greener on the other side
You’ve heard the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence)”. The idea is that whatever you cannot have, or that is hard to obtain, always appears better in some way than what you have now.
Constantly wishing you had something you don’t doesn’t help you; it only makes you discontent with what you DO have. If you fixate too long on what you don’t have, you might start trying to get it – possibly to your peril.
Getting your head stuck in the fence
You see this literally play out with fenced in farm animals. They graze up to the fence and rather than turning around and eating what is freely available to them, they constantly try to get at what is just beyond their reach. A lot of times this really gets them into trouble. They may get out of containment and into danger, or they might get their head stuck in the fence for a long while, and potentially thirst to death or fall prey to a predator.
Humans are no different. Fences such as common social constructs, marital or relational agreements, spoken, written, or generally understood contracts with employers keep us within a system of order. There are fences that we have been placed inside of, or that we willingly place ourselves inside of. Once there, you either commit to where you are, or start peering over the fence at what’s beyond.
The grass is greener where you water it
Someone at my office recently said he had heard the saying “the grass is greener where you water it”. What a great statement. And, it happens to be a lyric in a Justin Bieber song. I love it even more (kidding).
I have realized over time that when I become dis-satisfied with something it’s usually a problem with me more than with the situation. Many times I’ve become lazy or apathetic to the situation and then became disappointed when it degraded and didn’t automatically bring me copious amounts of joy. Hmmpff.
When joy has been rekindled it has usually been when I invested my own time, energy, or heart into it. As humans it’s easy for us to “idolize solutions” and focus on what COULD be, rather than improving or maintaining what we already have. I have done this many times myself but usually come to my senses. I have found that it is easier to apply a small amount of effort to improve a situation I am already in, than to get out of one situation and into another one.
A recent example
My wife has an SUV and a mouse recently got into it and DIED. Yea. It crawled up into the headliner, kicked off, and started to stink up the car very much badly. The car was dirty inside and out (we live down a rock road), and had some accumulated clutter in the doors and console, etc. We thought “We just need to trade this thing in on something else and tell the dealer they can handle the mouse themselves”. The grass started getting greener and greener on the other side. We went looking at newer SUV’s and of course, we were looking at features and gadgets more than “getting rid of the mouse”.
We realized we were idolizing a solution / looking at the grass as greener on the other side. When we came to our senses, we had the head liner pulled down, the mouse removed, and the car deodorized and detailed. When we got it back it was super clean and smelled great. I looked at my wife while driving down the road and said “Maybe you should buy this one”. haha.
Rather than looking over the fence, water the grass where you are. And when you are feeling restless, go get your car detailed. 😉
Related Post: Finding your purpose and passion.