Is the Grass Always Greener on the Other Side?



We have all heard the expression before, but is the grass always greener on the other side?  For a long time, my reply was that once you got there though you would see the weeds.  However, as time has passed I have begun to look at this perception a bit more and now I have a broader view that I would like to share with you.  Sit back, relax and enjoy!

The Grass is Greener Definition

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

Okay, first let’s explore the meaning of this expression before we dive into the perspectives of it.  The basic phrase suggests that on the other side of the proverbial fence that the grass is greener than where you are.  Often you will hear this phrase when someone feels stuck in a situation such as a job or relationship.

The caution that goes hand in hand with this phrase is that things always have a nicer appearance from a far distance.  Just think of the Earth for example, from space it looks amazingly beautiful and serene.  As you zoom in though you can see that while the planet is still beautiful, it does have its flaws or ugly spots.  Take for example a garbage dump or abandoned neighborhoods.

The same could be said for regular objects such as a marble.  In your hand it feels like a perfect little sphere and is completely smooth.  However, if you were to zoom in to microscopic levels you would be surprised to see that the terrain is now much rougher than it was before.

John is not happy with his job…

In reflecting back to the times that I have heard this phrase used in my life, it seems like it is always said to someone more as a precaution.  Let’s take a look at an example of my friend to clarify that:

John is not happy with his job.  It pays well and he has been there quite a few years now.  However, he is just not happy and talks about looking for other opportunities.  As his friend I would say to him, “that’s all fine and dandy, but remember the grass is always greener on the other side.”

Here I am trying to express to John to be careful as he has a good job that he has worked for years, and he doesn’t want to throw that away for another job that could end up with the same problems or being worse.  This is also why I always responded to the phrase that once you got there you would see the weeds.

Taking Care of Your Yard

Just like a real yard, it takes time and effort.

This brings me to the next topic on this situation though, instead of wondering what life would be like in the next yard over why not take care of your own yard?  You see we have the ability to create the lives that we really want if we take the time to work on it and make it come to fruition.

Just like with a real yard, if you want to have a healthy lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood it takes a lot of time and effort.  The same holds true for your life in general as if you want to make changes it will take time and effort just as well.

In the example above we talked about John not liking his job and always thinking about changing it, but let’s explore why he is not satisfied with where he is at:

John doesn’t like his job because he works third shift and has a funky 7 day on and 7 day off schedule.  For the days that he is on he works 12 hours which is a lot, but he also gets a whole week off then.  However, there is always the issue of switching from night shift to day shift and back again on the alternating weeks and missing out on every other weekend.

Now John is much happier on Day shift!

In this case I advised John to keep putting his time in as surely he would eventually have the seniority to switch to first shift when something opened up.  I also pointed out a lot of the good benefits of his job to him.  I would also acknowledge his concerns and do my best to help alleviate them with my advice.

Fast forward a year or two and now John is working on the first shift side of things and is much happier now.  Without having to make the night to day and back to night shift anymore it has also freed up time for him during his working week.  His complaints about work have dropped significantly and he is definitely in a much greener pasture now.

Realigning Your Perspectives

Sally has been dating David for over a year now…

More often than not when we are thinking about the grass elsewhere it is because we are not currently happy or satisfied with our present situation.  This is where it gets a bit tricky as sometimes the right thing to do is to correct your current situation and other times it makes sense to move on as well.

First let’s take a look at correcting your current situation.  Here I am going to use a hypothetical situation of a woman, Sally, in a long term relationship with her boyfriend, David.

Sally has been dating David for just over a year now and she has been pondering the longer term scope of things.  She really likes David a lot, but he does have a few traits that she is not too fond of.  He plays video games a bit too much for her and tends to be a bit of a jerk when with his friend Bob.  Otherwise though they have a lot in common and have a ton of fun together.

Sally’s friend tells her to be careful as the grass is always greener on the other side.

This would easily be a situation where Sally could be talking things out with a friend and that friend’s advice would be to be careful as the grass is always greener on the other side.  What it means in this particular case is that no matter who her boyfriend is, there are going to be some things about him that she won’t like as much.

In this situation Sally’s concerns are ones that she will have with any other guy, not just David.  That is where seeing the bigger picture can come into play and help Sally from making a mistake and giving up on a good thing.  It is in this case that by realizing that a relationship is never 100% happy and compromises must be made.

Now let’s put a different twist on Sally’s situation to show how to see when it would be appropriate to take a stroll on over to the other side.

Sally is really attracted to her boyfriend David whom she has been dating for just over a year.  However, he is not always nice to her and often puts himself first ahead of her.  Sally tries her best to make it work as she really likes him, but more often than not she is unhappy and wondering what else there could be out in the world for her.

Sally is unhappy and wondering what else there could be out in the world for her.

So once again Sally finds herself talking things out with a friend that throws out the grass is greener phrase.  Here however it is a lot more obvious that Sally is not in a healthy relationship and the chances of her finding someone that would respect her as their partner are much better.  This would be the time to cut your losses, learn what you can from them and move on.

Seeing the Whole Picture

Make sure you are looking at the whole picture and not just a few pieces.

What this all boils down to is to make sure that you are seeing the whole picture.  Make sure that you are being patient in your most important decisions and weigh in every factor that you can.  This way you can make an educated decision that will be right for you.

During this process getting feedback from others can also play a vital role in your decision making process.  Just like in the examples above with Sally, she consulted with a good friend about her situations.  While your loved ones may not be able to answer the question for you, they will provide a valuable piece to the puzzle.

I would also recommend to mediate on the situation at hand as well and allow your higher self to help guide you in the process.  Go into the session with the question at hand, but allow your thoughts to flow freely and unconstrained.  The right answer will make itself apparent to you over time.

Share Your Stories and Perspectives

Before we go I would like to invite you to share your stories and or perspectives on the subject.  Each comment helps us the see the bigger picture and have a better understanding of the subject.  Just think, it could be your story here that helps someone else in their struggles.

Your perspective might be the missing piece of the puzzle for someone else!  Please share your story with us!

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12 Replies to “Is the Grass Always Greener on the Other Side?”

  1. Absolutely a great post! I’ve been trying to better my perspective on many things that come my way in life in order to be happier with what I have. I began meditating for just 10 minutes every morning about 3 months ago and it has made the world of difference. Meditation is a great tool

    • Meditation is definitely a great tool. I have been working on finding a good routine that works for me still, but I have had a lot of great experiences with what I have done so far. However, taking time to see the bigger picture will definitely give you some help in steering your life into a happier course.

  2. Hey there, it’s Alexey.
    Good article, lots of information, pictures and ideas. I heard that term before but in my language, in Russian. It is the same as in english and Has the same meaning – That it will always seem that other’s lives are better than our own. Kind of 🙂
    Thanks for a nice post, keep coming with great content!

    • The main point is to remember that most of the time with life you only get the surface view of people and circumstances. That broad view typically can easily carry a shine and look all pretty. It isn’t until you dig in an take a closer look that you can see the imperfections. So be patient and gather your facts!

  3. Good job James. I wish I could be so coherent in my writings. I would say that in my opinion though,grass is always greener on the other side. I think it’s human nature to think that “that thing” or “that person” or whatever, is better than what they currently have. That is a good but also a bad thing. A good thing because it may lead to progress but it can also turn to be bad judgement with harsh repercussions.
    Have a great day!

    • Constantin, I used to consider myself a horrible writer that struggled to get my thoughts to paper. However I decided to stop telling myself that and committed to working on improving myself. As I continued to work on it I would see improvement all the time. I always asked for others opinions and I took in all the advice that was given to me. Obviously you can see how it all turned out.

      I do agree that most people do consider the grass greener on the other side just for the reason that you stated. They tend to look at the broad overview and glaze over the issues that are underlying. That is why I stressed here to make sure that you are patient and take time to look at the whole picture.

  4. Oh, the old “grass isn’t always greener” phrase. I love it.
    I really like how you were able to spin each situation. Looking at the big picture is surely the way to go.
    I love the reference between if you don’t like your yard work on it and how that applies to your life as well.
    Some will not like the dirt patches and weeds and will go spend all the money at the store and spend all week salvaging it but they won’t do that for their own life happiness?
    Why is that? Why don’t some put as much effort to changing things in their life for the better as they do their yard?
    I’m not sure how I spun out to that but your writing put it in my head. lol.
    It’s all in perception. We’ll use the ole’ scenario of the “Jones'”
    Perfect family, perfect spouse, perfect house, yard, car, dog. What they Want you to See. But, if your a little closer to the Jones’ maybe you wouldn’t give a stick of gum to be in that family!
    It’s not only what “we see” but also what “others want you to see”.
    Great post, love the thoughts it spun off for me.

    • Sam, sounds like the wheels are definitely spinning here for you. I particularly like you example of the “Jone’s” and how they can look perfect until you take a closer examination of their lives and what really happens and how they are not as perfect as they look.

      I actually get that a lot with my kids. People are forever telling me of how nice and well behaved they are, but they don’t see all of the problems that we have at home with them. Overall they are good kids, but just like everyone else they are not perfect.

  5. Love your story examples! I was hoping you’d include something about knowing when to move on and not just clean up your yard (ha ha) making for a more well rounded out article. Thanks, again, James…always love your perspective!


    • You are welcome Barb, I do my best to make sure to round things out. Always happy to share perspective as it is a great way for us to learn.

  6. Wow this is a great article! I’m currently in rehearsals for a play which examines this question from the point of view emigration, so relevant. But you’re right, its all about perspective! Thanks for the great article!

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