An email that I received recently informed me that it was ‘The grass is always browner on the other side of the fence day’.
I didn’t even know this special day existed, but it did get me thinking.
The whole point of the day is to go against the traditional view that the grass is always greener on the other side and to remind us to be grateful and happy for what we have, rather than wishing for what other people have. It’s so easy to think that our lives would be better if we had this or could do that, it’s important to stop and remind ourselves how good we actually already have it!
But what is it that makes us feel that there is something better or something ‘more’ out there than what we have?
One theory is that how much this ‘grass is greener’ thing effects us depends on whether we have an internal or external locus of control.
People with an internal locus of control will tend to look at other people’s successes in life and be aware that they have the power to make changes to get the same things if that’s what they want. People with an external locus of control, on the other hand, will think very differently about it.
Psychologist Sue Firth explains that “external thinkers believe that they can’t control their destiny and blame other forces – such as circumstances or people – that prevent them getting there. These are most likely the ones who feel life’s not fair.”
So it seems that we can help get ourselves out of this way of thinking by realising that we are in charge of our own lives. If this is something you really struggle with then you could talk with a therapist online to work through any issues you might have with not feeling in control of your life. There is a lot of power in realising that if we really want to make changes in our lives then we can.
Here are some ideas that might help:
Make a note of the good
Every day for a month, write down 2 or 3 good things about your life or that happened to you that day. As the saying goes, what you focus on expands, so by paying attention to the good in your life, you’ll start to see more and more good things.
Adding on to the idea of noting down good things in your life, you can also write down things that you’re grateful for. You could even go so far as to writing letters to people to tell them how grateful you are for what they have brought to your life (you don’t have to actually send the letters, it’s the act of writing them that matters).
Remember the saying “better the devil you know”
Keep in mind that, while you may have problems as least they are your problems, and they may pale into insignificance compared to what other people are facing.
You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors
People tend to present an ideal version of their lives, especially in the world of Facebook and Instagram. It’s really easy to see a friend’s photos and statuses and wish you had their life, with the big house and expensive holidays. What you might not see is that they can afford these things because she and her husband both work really long hours, are lucky if they see their children for half an hour before bedtime and that the holidays they take once year are the only times they really get to spend any time together.
Ask yourself – what is it that you really want?
Do you really want what’s on the other side of the fence? When we’re feeling a bit fed up with things it can be easy to think ‘I’d be much happier if I just had a different job/a bigger house/ a flatter tummy’. When you find yourself starting to go down that road, take some time to really think about it. Would you actually be happier in a completely different job? Would having a bigger house make you happier, with all the extra rooms to clean?!
It might be that what you really want isn’t a new job, it’s the flexible hours that the other job offers you that you want. Or that you don’t really need a bigger house, you just need to declutter all your ‘stuff’ and use your current home more efficiently.
What do you think? Are you guilty of always looking longingly at the other side of the fence, or do you generally feel that your grass is actually pretty nice and green?!
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post