Since I was a child, I have been fascinated with the proverb ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’. My young, innocent mind used to wonder why people couldn’t use the time they spent in judging how much more green their neighbours’ grass was as compared to theirs in perhaps watering their own grass! When I had once mentioned this to one of my teachers at the time when we were taught this proverb, she had just answered with that condescending smirk of omniscience that adults unconsciously (or consciously) sport amongst kids and said,’You’ll find out when you get older.’ But little did she know, I had cracked the proverb already.
When I got older, I realized that the grass wasn’t always greener on the other side. It seemed greener. And that there was a big (huge, really) difference between being and seeming. We humans are a pretty stupid race, in that that we always envy those whom we think have it better because we have this superiority complex where we innately believe nobody should be better than us. And then when we find someone better than us in something, in comes nature with a bucket of green paint. Envy, one of the seven deadly sins, is the downfall of most humans.
Now, even though you read this and realized this was true, there will still be that one person who cooks better or writes better or looks better. And we all wish we could be that person. When you ask people,’Who would you become if you were told you could become anyone in the world?’, you’ll come across a plethora of answers, the creativity of which will range from cartoon characters to Disney princes or princesses to celebrities. However, you will rarely come across someone who says that they would still choose to be themselves.
What people forget is that every garden has weeds. If someone is better off than you are in some domain, they may also have some problems that you do not. In the novel ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch says that you never really understand a person until you climb into their skin and walk around in it. This struck a chord with me since the very first time I read it because it showed me that you can’t know what a person’s life is like until you live it. You may think your neighbour has greener grass, but you can’t know until you go and live in their house that maybe their plumbing is messed up. Learning to be content with your grass is all you can do in this life.
And this is where we come back to my childhood epiphany, where I found out the most fool-proof way to get this done: Water your own grass and make it greener instead of trying to gauge how much greener your neighbour’s grass is. The more you focus on developing your skills, hobbies, interests, the less you will feel like someone else has it better than you. You will be so engrossed in improving yourself in every way possible that you will have no time to be envious. However, as I grew up, I found another way to overcome the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome: Learn to be thankful that you have grass. I’m sure everyone out there has something, if not a lot, to be thankful for. It could be your family, your friends, your job, your school, your pets, or if you’re self-absorbed like me, your own self. Admit it, you could have been much worse off. So, make a list of all the things you can be grateful for and I guarantee the neighbouring grass will lose some of it’s sheen, if not all of it.
So, here’s to hoping that you can make your own grass greener and that once you do, you don’t forget to take a stroll through it every now and then to enjoy the benefits of all your hard work! 😀