Direct from
Dr. Lowenstein

Is the Grass Really Greener on the Other Side?

Do you always seem to want what you don’t have? Does someone else’s life appear to be better than your own? Do you daydream about a fantasy future that is far superior to the present? If any or all of these sound familiar, you could be struggling with what we unofficially call “the grass is always greener syndrome.”

Although it’s not uncommon to experience discontent at times in life, a feeling that the grass is greener somewhere else can lead to anxiety and depression. You may be looking for greener pastures to soothe dissatisfaction with your partner, your career, or where you live. But the root of the problem usually comes from within, so changing your external environment is only a temporary fix. Before long, you’ll be looking for another patch of greener grass. 

If you feel trapped in this kind of thinking, the following tips may help.

Learn to live in the present. It requires a lot of time and energy to be constantly focused on making your current situation better. Unfortunately, preoccupation with the future robs you of the present. That fantasy life you dream about is just that–a fantasy. Instead, put your energy into nurturing the life you have.

Abandon perfectionism. When you want everything to be perfect in your life, you place unrealistic expectations on yourself and those around you. If you tend to find fault with your partner, your job, or where you live, for instance, there’s a good chance that you expect everything to be perfect–and that’s simply not possible. Instead, embrace the life you have with all of its imperfections. 

Stop comparing yourself to others. This is one area where social media can be harmful. Seeing what other people have–or what they appear to have–can lead you to thoughts about what you don’t have. Your friend takes fabulous vacations. Your neighbors drive expensive cars. That roommate from college is married to a successful guy who always gets promotions. The truth is, you don’t really know what another person is experiencing or what challenges they may be facing. Everyone’s life has some bumps in the road. 

Practice gratitude. If you think the grass is greener elsewhere, you may not be taking the time to appreciate and be grateful for what you have. I’m not just talking about material possessions. It’s easy to take your spouse and other relationships for granted as well. Combat this tendency by writing down all the things you have to be grateful for.

In the end, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. Instead, devote your thoughts and energy to the life you have. Give it the attention it deserves. Be grateful for all the good things that come with it. And nurture the people and relationships that make your life special. 

Image by fendi pradana from Pixabay

Dr. David Lowenstein is a Columbus, Ohio-based psychologist with more than 35 years of experience. He conducts individual, family, and group therapy sessions in his German Village office and also via telehealth. Dr. Lowenstein is also available for expert forensic testimony, and for educational workshops and presentations. He is frequently called upon as an expert source for print, radio, and broadcast media. Contact Dr. Lowenstein at Lowenstein & Associates, 691 South Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206, or call 614.443.6155 or 614.444.0432.