The Grass Is Not Greener—Love the Life You Have
Regardless of choices that people have made, we all have the tendency from time to time to doubt our direction.
One of the many advantages of being a life and career coach is the opportunity to see common threads. While individual clients may have the sense that they are alone in their feelings or that no one else is going through what they are, as a life coach, I see otherwise.
One recurring theme that I’ve noticed among professionals in all walks of life is a “grass must be greener” feeling. Regardless of choices that people have made, we all have the tendency from time to time to doubt our direction.
When we do so, we may look around at others who have taken different paths—perhaps paths we once considered. We may see only the positive points about these alternate routes, and only the negative ones about our current trajectory.
Social media makes this comparing and contrasting even more easy to do—and also more potentially misleading. Through sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, those of us on social media have daily reminders about the impressive things that others seem to be doing, both professionally and personally. When we see these constant updates, it’s hard not to feel like others have a leg up.
Yet there is a reason for the expression, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” It’s because when we’re on our own side, we can’t see the other lawn clearly—we’re looking from afar. The neighbor’s lawn isn’t really part of our everyday reality the way that our own lawn is. So we can’t see the gopher holes lurking in it—we only see green grass.
Here are some thoughts I’ve had recently about loving your own “lawn”:
Remember what they say about hindsight. It’s always 20-20. In other words, once you’ve forked onto your road of choice and forsaken possible alternatives (at least for the foreseeable future), it’s much easier to see the good things about the paths not taken. The key is to trust the decision-making that went into your earlier choice. There were reasons why you took the turns you did, and it’s easy to forget those once you’ve made your move.
That’s why they call them “Profiles.” Before the days of social networking, once you left a job, you often left your knowledge of what happened to former co-workers as well. No longer—now you can get minute-by-minute updates of people you went to preschool with. It’s easy to compare yourself to those with whom you once shared a playground or office. But if you base your comparisons on what you see through social media, remember you’re not getting the whole picture. A profile is a vehicle for people to put their best foot forward, and create a positive view of their work and social life. You’re not likely to read about career missteps or people “unfriended” by looking at profiles.
There will always be someone “ahead.” Throughout our lives, we will go through ups and downs. If we look at those who are in an “up” phase while we’re down, we’re certain to feel disappointed. Similarly, no matter how well we do in our careers or what level of success we have, there’s always someone who might appear to be doing “better” on some levels. Don’t engage in these unproductive comparisons.
*See what’s good. *Much of life satisfaction involves our perspective. If we look at everything that’s wrong with our lives and see only the brown patches on our lawns, we’re bound to feel unhappy. Make an effort to notice what’s right about your life right now. Water the grass you have, and watch it grow.