The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence).
How many times in your life have you heard that idiom?
What does it mean?
Is it true?
If you take that idiom literally it might be true. A former neighbor and I would complement each other on our lawns. One day as I stood on his back porch I realized that our lawn did actually look greener than his. But I knew that when I stood on our back porch his lawn always looked greener than ours!
I realized that the effect on one lawn looking greener than the other had everything to do with perspective. We were looking at each other’s lawn at an angle because our lawns sloped downward to the property lines. The light was hitting the grass at a different angle when I viewed his lawn from our porch than when I viewed our lawn from our porch…and vice versa!
But was the grass really greener or did it only appear to be so?
Let’s look at the idiom from another viewpoint. Instead of taking the saying literally, think of it as an expression of envy, which was the original intent of the statement.
Someone else’s job, house, car or life may seem better than your own because all you see of the other person’s life or possessions are the positives. You envy them for having such a nice house/car/job/life.
For example the other person’s house may look more expensive than yours and you may be envious that your house doesn’t look that nice. But what you may not know is that the inside of their house things are falling apart. If they saw the inside of your nicely maintained house they may be envious of you and think that your house was nicer than their own.
When we say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, what we are really saying is that other people seem to be in a better situation in life than we are.
Remember, however, that things are not always as they appear and the reality is that their life may not be as good as it seems.
Once again I’m reminded that “Life is a matter of perspective.” And sometimes our perspectives are not even based in reality.
Something to think about in the days ahead.
Please feel free to comment.
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