The grass, something we look at each day, but normally we are looking at the grass on the other side. There is, as you know an express which says “the grass is always greener on the other side”
It would appear the phrase has its roots back in the Latin language, and was originally credited to one Erasmus of Rotterdam (although the phrase was not exactly the same as what it is now, it is similar!). But in the 1950s the current version came into existence.
What does it mean?
Quite simply it means we look at what other people have or other circumstances and think that their “deal” is better. They have a better life, they have a bigger car, your life would be better if you lived somewhere else or had a different job.
When we do this we look at all the positives that we see in the other persons life, and downplay any negatives that may be be present. We see only the good things about the other situation. Of course the reality may be different (but more on that later).
In on our life we do the opposite. We only see the negatives and downplay the positive aspects. We get down on ourselves because of all the bad things we see, all the things we don’t have, all the things we want etc.
Believe me this is something that even happens to me!
From my experience I believe the reality is that the perfect life that the other person has may be far from perfect! I have met so many people who appear to be one thing but in fact have all the insecurities and doubts about their lives that you and I have.
In fact sometimes the people that we “envy” actually envy our lives. They think “Wow I wish I lived where they lived. I wish I had a carefree attitude like they have.” So while we are envious of their grass they are envious of ours.
Let me give you an example. I have a friend, let’s call him “Simon.”
Simon is an entrepreneur, has invested a few million into a new technology company he runs. He lives in a beautiful part of Barcelona, has a lovely apartment, great looking wife and 3 beautiful kids. His apartment block is close to the centre of the city, has an outdoor pool, is really safe and basically he has it all.
I have at times envied his situation, and thought “Wow Simon is so lucky.” The funny thing is, sometimes Simon has to me, “Rich you are so lucky, you have a great partner, no real ties here in Barcelona, you can plan your holidays, go away, go out when you want. You really have a great life.”
You see what is happening here? Sometimes we don’t see what we have because we are looking to the other side which seems even better.
This kind of relates to my articles about living in the moment. We are so fixated with other things that we forget to live in the present moment and appreciate what we have!
The next step?
What’s the next step I hear you say? Now that you know that maybe the grass is not always greener what can you do?
For me the next step is to take an inventory of your life. Take stock of everything you have. Draw up a list with the positive things that you have, and also on the other side the negative things that might be going on too.
Then create a list called “the grass is greener on the other side” – draw up that list and see what you put on it.
Look at each list and start to mark out the important things to you in life, the things that matter right now.
Here is one tip. You can buy lots of things now and in the future, you can have more or less money, but the one thing you can never have more of is time.
Perhaps time is the most important thing you have in your life. Start taking the time to live and not chase and be envious of the grass on the other side.
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