I am sure most of us have heard the expression that the grass is always greener on the other side, but have you ever thought about what this really means?
The common interpretation is that life is better elsewhere. That things in your life (your job, your salary, your relationship, etc.) are perhaps not as good as they could be and that maybe a change is in order and you need to move to the “other side” to enjoy the greener grass. But in reality the “other side” is mostly unknown, so how do we know the grass is really greener?
I think if you look at the turn of phrase in a literal sense you get a new and unique perspective on what it might mean figuratively.
Imagine you are standing in the middle of your lawn. Looking down, you can see the blades of grass and where the grass shoots are coming from, the brown dry decaying grass of the previous year. You can see small patches where the grass is not as lush and healthy. You notice ever so slight brown patches where the soil may not be as rich.
Now look over at your neighbour’s lawn. All you can see are the sides of the green blades of grass from where you are. The perspective you have prevents you from seeing what the roots look like. You can’t tell if there is a slightly bare spot, or if there is an ant hill hidden somewhere.
When explained in these terms the grass is not always greener on the other side, it only has the appearance of being greener because we don’t have all of the facts. Our perspective looking across from a distance prevents us from seeing the all of the undergrowth that is there.
When we look our lives and the lives of others, the same holds true. We make assumptions similar to when we looked at our neighbour’s lawn. We look at our life from the middle, seeing all of the good and all of the challenges. Our angled perspective on others’ lives prevents us from seeing the challenges of those lives.
All of this is not to say that there is never a reason to seek change, but to say we should first seek to make changes within. Just as you can water and feed a lawn to make it healthier, you can do the same with your life. Each of us are unique and we face individually unique challenges. The healthy lawn does not just happen and neither does a healthy relationship or satisfaction with our lives, it takes commitment and effort and time.
The same challenges exist on both sides and if you do not make changes to the way you care for the lawn you will always believe that the grass is greener somewhere else, even when it is not.