This has been a topic of discussion that some of us at the Time to Play Foundation have been thinking and talking a lot about this over the past week.
This proverb has been around and passed down from generation to generation. I talk about the wisdom of those who came before us in our book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now. These idioms and proverbs interest me greatly.
The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side … Think about this for a moment. Do you or someone you know always think they would be so much happier in a different life situation?
I believe this philosophy is actually dangerous to a certain extent. Why? Because each time you run toward something while running away from something, it may surely lead to becoming disappointment.
I actually tried to do this in the year 2004 when I decided that moving our family to Florida would be a solution, would give me peace (after all, life is hard, you know?) and a new way to start over. I was looking for “easier”. Thankfully my husband is the voice of reason. Moving, he said, would not solve anything, and that once the “honeymoon period” was over I would find life the same as before we would have moved. We didn’t go, which did force me to reevaluate my life situation, evaluate potential options, and make changes that were more reasonable.
I believe we could apply this “running away from” theme to anything and everything in our life experience, relationship or job. But, guess what? The circumstance surrounding the concept of “it will be better when” does not necessarily provide a solution, and, sometimes potentially, can create more problems.
In many cases, the issue you are running from will follow you, because, perhaps, they start inside you.
The most important thing we can do is find peace and happiness in ourselves. This is something we’ve been researching and working on, too (see PREinvent YOUR Life® article and survey for more info). At this point in my life, I do not believe that there is anything tangible in this world that can fill a void inside of us: not another person, not a new car, not a new home. If there is unrest and despair in our hearts, we have to evaluate why and what we can do to start to heal.
I found an article that included this quote that I thought most appropriate here: Buddha once said that the way to happiness is actually quite simple; the secret is to learn to want what you have and not want what you don’t have. Again, I believe the secret to peace and happiness is in ourselves.
Robert Fulghum wrote, “The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you are.”
Nurturing ourselves is where we may have to start. Take a moment today to stop and look deep inside.
We know what we need.
We sometimes just have to take the time to listen, evaluate our best options, stop reliving the past that keeps us “a prisoner” (chapter two of my book, “We are all tortured souls”), and move forward towards what we need to do so we can enjoy life.
After all, I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy life.
It is time to play…
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life. The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com/ for more information.
Image credit: simpledailychange.com
It always looks better. The other side, the grass on the other side. Not just the grass, also the neighbor’s wife, your friend’s sports car, your boss’s apartment, your colleague’s job and how ever many examples you want to hear.
So many people are not entirely satisfied with what they have. They think that all the above examples would be a better way to live their lives. What they don’t realize, is that often they already have so many perfect things in their lives (their friends, partner or spouse, job). The sad part is that is usually takes losing or nearly losing what they have in order for them to realize how much it means to them (and how happy they were with what they had).
We All Take Things For Granted
Freedom, health, food in the fridge, love and friendships – these are all among the things that we take for granted simply because they have been in our lives every day. The more frequent they appear in our lives, the more we grow a certain expectation for them to stick around forever.
We all take so much for granted. It takes a lot of emotional stability to be content with what you have. To be able to resist the temptation of thinking that other people have it better. When that perfect woman comes along who gives you butterflies in your stomach and makes your world swirl, that you can say “No thanks, I’m married”.
It’s not just us people who have this issue. I see it with cows all the time. They have a perfectly big field full of green grass, yet the always venture to the end of their field and stick their head through the barb-wire fence just to be able to get a bite of that forbidden grass on the other side (that may just look so much tastier).
You Don’t Realize What You Have Until It’s [Nearly] Gone
A personal example is the fact that I hated going to the gym when I was younger. I wanted to do it because I liked being in shape, but I really, really disliked lifting weights. It was just so much effort. Then, a few months before I would turn 18 and get a car to drive around in, I crashed my motor bike head-on into some dumb tourist who u-turned in front of me. The bike was a total write-off. I hit him on the bonnet of his car and flew over my handlebars at 80km/h (55 mph). I landed with my entire weight perfectly on my shoulder and this cause the bone to shatter and the tendons to tear off. (It sounds gross and painful but I didn’t feel a thing, I just could not move my shoulder at all, zero control over it).
Initially doctors actually told me I may never be able to use my arm again and will never be able to lift it with my own strength. Luckily I had one of the best shoulder surgeons in the country who was in my town, and with an operation and 6 weeks of wearing a brace, I slowly got the use back of my arm and shoulder. A year later it was as good as new. Now I am so thankful that I can lift things, pick up weights, go to the gym.
“Sometimes the dream and the desire for something are much more appealing than actually getting the thing that you think you want.”
A sports car, bank balance or supermodel girlfriend may be what you think will make you happy, but when you get it, you may feel empty and unsatisfied. The deception with seeing things that you think will make you happy is the fact that you only see the good side of those things. Once you have them, you will see it without the rose-colored glasses and experience the lesser or bad side of it as well and this may leave you thinking that it was better when it was just a dream.
The Key to A Happy Life
I think the key to a happy life is being content with who you are and where you are right now. Life is an awesome journey. That is not to say that you should settle for average or a life you are not happy with. You can and should work hard to where you want to be, to achieve your goals and dreams, but don’t wish away the present moment for some future happiness that you think you will achieve by copying someone else’s lifestyle. That is the recipe for waking up one day when you are 40 years old and realizing that you spent your life chasing happiness, while you had the means to be happy all along.
Everyone always wishes for something they don’t have. Maybe you want to be like someone else in certain ways, maybe you want to live someone else’s life because you think yours sucks. Truth is, you may not have an easy life, but it is your life. You are not in control of the cards you were dealt when you were born (your parents, your city, your country, your skin color, your religion and so forth). What you are in control of is what you do with those cards that you were dealt. The rest of your life is what you make of it. If things are hard and you take a victim mentality (moaning and complaining about how hard you have it), then chances are pretty good that your life will not magically get better and you will live a very mediocre life at best.
“It’s not an easy life, but it’s MY LIFE”
It is your life, your adventure. It is a gift. If you are lucky enough to have your freedom and your health, then I believe that anything is possible. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Just remember that what you dream of may not give you what you want from it (happiness, pleasure or love). If you are lucky, then what you dream of will give you exactly what you want. Just think about the real reason of your dreams and desires. Do you want something because your neighbor has it and it seems as if that thing is responsible for his happiness? Or do you want it because you’re really crazy and passionate about it? Choose the latter.
You don’t want to be that person who slaves away for years to make millions of dollars (so you can have a mansion, fast sports cars and jets to travel the world) while all you really want is someone who loves you and friends that care about you. That same someone and those same friends that you gave up because you were chasing the dollar signs because you thought that it would make you happy.
So next time you think someone has it better than you, just stop and think about how others may think you have it better than them. The grass on your side may just be greener.
|Written on 1/06/2010 by Diggy. Diggy writes all about self improvement at his blog UpgradeReality. If you enjoyed this post you can subscribe to his RSS Feed and never miss a new UpgradeReality post.||Photo Credit: urbanlegend|
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