Monday, January 25, 2016

When the grass is greener... on the other side

"The grass is always greener on the other side"

How many times have we heard this and quoted it?

Did you know it comes from an American song called, “The Grass is always Greener in the other Fellow’s Yard” by Raymond B. Egan and Richard A. Whiting (circa 1924), and the idea originated or rather was expressed centuries earlier by some poet called Ovid. Oh yeah, people have been saying this forever!

I'm sure many of us have that one person who we envy from the bottom of our hearts. That person who has it all. Everything we want. That person who always seems to get what he/she desires. Everyone loves that person and everyone wants to be his friend. That one person who you wish you were.

It could be any one: fellow bloggers, rich neighbours, good looking and always "put together" moms. Everyone we feel we are not.

I think, envy is a very natural reaction. And its OK to want something or want to be like someone else. But unfortunately envy is also very destructive. Envy mostly stems from insecurity and poor self image. The moment that enviable person gets a great idea or performs a task well or is a new owner of something desirable, one suddenly feels threatened, useless, hopeless and defeated. And unfortunately envy thrives on itself, draining one of any positive energy and translating into shorter tempers, pity parties, grumpy moods and all things negative. And yes maybe even it makes one evil enough to suppress and stall the other person's success. No wonder it is considered one of the seven deadly sins!!

I don't think I have suppressed anyone's success due to envy. (at least I hope I not!) But I have experienced it in all its glory.  It came suddenly and very soon took over. I was miserable. I was angry. I could not focus. I felt nothing I do will be good enough. I looked at myself as a failure. Why? 

Because I could not be that person. The roses in his garden were more fragrant. The butterflies fluttering about those roses were more vibrant. The fruits in his patch were sweeter. I wanted that grass and that garden and that life. Mine was just not good enough. And it actually made me a lesser version of the person I knew myself to be. The envy grew until I completely made a fool of myself. 

I was so surprised when this happened a couple of times, that I knew I needed an intervention. I asked myself a very simple question: "Why should this other person who I actually admire, cause me to feel so miserable? Why should it make me hate myself and all that I have?" I could not believe that these emotions had so much control over me. 

Then began my research on 'envy' and how to deal with it. Yes, I honestly think the Internet is a solution to many problems :)

And it is true: if you already have a low self image and low self esteem you are more vulnerable to the vices of envy. And I actually tried to sit and rationalise as to why that person is where he/she is and what exactly about that was bothering me. When I looked at it with a clear mind I noticed a pattern in that person's life, I noticed there was hard work involved. Yes some people are blessed with extra doses or luck or that X factor or wealth. But there was also a sincere effort into what made that person successful. And that could not, should not, must not be overlooked.

And I then looked at the patterns in my life. Was I doing what I wanted to be where I want to be?

Envy, very simply programs your brain to think you are a failure and makes you look very negatively at your self. Since you are blinded by the beauty in the other person's yard, you forget to see the soft patch on which you stand. The little saplings between your feet that look up to you for some TLC. You don't notice that yellow flower in the corner of your patch holding its head high with promise. Sometimes the solution is simply to look down and water your patch. Pull out the weeds. Give it some compost. And slowly but surely you will see that the grass is actually '
greener where you water it'.  

Every single day, we will meet people better than us. More good looking, more wealthy and closer to the person we wish we were. But instead of letting envy crush you. Turn it into admiration and then grab a cup of coffee or a bowl of ice-cream and do a case study. It really is that simple.

And then try and figure you what will make you feel better.

If you really wish for that person to break a leg and be stuck in a cast. God help you. :D

But if your true purpose is to become better than yourself, then chin up and tend to your patch!


  1. A bit long but nice sump up of your thoughts.
    keep sharing.
    Visit me at -

  2. Thank you for the feedback. :) I think I wrote it in one go.