“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” We hear it all the time, say it all the time, and think it all the time—if not consciously, certainly subconsciously. This little phrase has birthed many similar sentiments by those concerned with its implications. The grass is greener where you water it. The grass is greener on the other side because it’s been fertilized with [insert naughty word for ‘poop’ here with ‘bull’ in front of it]. These expressions attempt to combat the idea that you’re stuck with parched, brown grass while everyone else flaunts their luscious lawns.
The problem that we are confronted with, though, is that these witty little declarations don’t even begin to address the mental and emotional destruction that a life spent believing that we have received the short end of the stick oftentimes creates.
I have completely and utterly fallen prey to the concept that not only is the grass greener somewhere else , but, even more detrimental, that I have to present my own grass as green and freshly cut to be worthy. Worthy of what? I couldn’t even tell you. Yet I know that a presentation of perfection is something I strive for.
I have to believe that I’m not the only one who struggles with this, especially considering the world we live in: constant oversharing, immediate feedback, and Instagram filters. All of these things lead me to believe on a regular basis that I am failing in some way, whether that be as a mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, or even simply as a woman.
This realization has brought to my attention the absolute nastiest aspect of this desire for perfection (and not even true perfection, just a facade, an illusion): ungratefulness. Now let me break this down for you.
I would never want anyone to use that word to describe me, so I feel especially icky using it to describe myself. But it’s a reality that I’ve shoved way, way, way down deep. I can latch onto it to perpetuate the pity party that I love to throw myself.
A “Grass is Greener” Story
Let me just tell you a little story to help you understand the depths of this issue within my heart. I used to listen to a local country radio station during the summers when I was home from college and hear about a neighborhood that I dreamed of living in one day. The strong yet easy voice in the advertisement described picturesque scenery, one-of-a-kind parks, walking trails, and family events sure to create unmatched memories.
Several years later, at age 23 (twenty-stinking-three, people!), my husband and I began the process of building our very first home in that exact neighborhood. The neighborhood of my dreams had now become my reality. And you know what? I didn’t even consider that we were living in the very neighborhood I had dreamt about for years until maybe two months ago. I’ve been sitting here complaining about how this floor plan has no linen closets (that is kind of weird though, right?) and the baby’s room is right next to the front door.
Instead, I should have fallen to my knees in awe of the beautiful gift I have been given.
Now I know that life can get really tough and messy. It’s practically impossible to live a life full of gratitude and thanksgiving for everything at every moment.
But tough isn’t a house without linen closets, a laundry room that’s anything but Pinterest-worthy, or kids not giggling together in eerily spotless, matching white outfits. So now, next time you see that post on social media or hear that story your friend tells you and you get that glimmer of green in your eye, allow time to stand still and just be grateful. Grateful for your health, your family, your friends (even when they embellish stories and leave out the crummy parts on purpose), your life.
What an incredible gift we could give our children if we took an opportunity for envy and turned it into a moment of thankfulness.
And remember: it’s not about the grass, it’s all about the gratitude.