Jealousy is central to the human condition. It can’t be helped. You, your coworker, Bob – your neighbor who waters his grass a little too frequently – no one can help the envy. It’s a natural emotion. How could you not be a bit envious of what others possess?
“The grass is always greener on the other side.”
You know this line. You’ve heard it, lived it, likely stated a time or two. It’s a line muffled with nostalgia. A quote pulled from the book of one-liners we’ve all learned, memorized, and repeated.
Yet it means nothing.
Is the grass truly greener on the other side? Are the pastures of another worth the risk? Should you take on a potential consequence simply to achieve the happiness of your neighbor?
Does this line truly have any merit? Perhaps. It may lighten your perspective. During a rough patch, it might encourage you; force you to continue down that risky path with hope. Regardless of the struggle ahead, apart from the unbeaten road you must take, this line may inspire your ambition. Your inner-demon might feel relieved. Ultimately, it may help you believe everything will be fine. That regardless of the horrors lining your past, your life is worth living.
But consider the words within this famed quote. Another’s greener pastures may be void of life. Their grasses may be lush, bending at the whim of a sticky, summer breeze. A picturesque image, indeed. Yet the idealized manner we look upon those grasses is unrealistic.
Jealousy cannot simply be eradicated. Unfortunately, remaining distant towards those with more is normal. The folks with an excess of cars, land, money, all things tangible – they are perceived as better than the rest. People envision them more confident, successful, and genuinely happy. Behind their backs, assumptions are made of their quality of life. They are observed to have more, therefore they are considered to be living a worthy life.
Remember, folks – you will never see what is truly going on behind the curtain. You aren’t always provided the inner-workings of another’s life.
The few who deceptively have everything are likely lacking in something. Just like you, they are searching for something greater. They simply do a far better job at hiding that fact. The wife of a wealthy businessman, decked in pearls and luxurious fabrics, is unable to conceive. A retired CEO hides amongst his possessions, expertly ignoring his belief that he will die alone.
The pastures of another may appear green, but the skeletons in those closets may be far murkier than you could ever imagine.
You may not have money. Yet your family may be viewed by a grieving widow with contempt and jealousy. Your success as a freelancer may spark jealousy from a 9-5 corporate manager.
Everyone is blessed in his or her own way. What is tangible – the possessions that make up your home – are not always as nice as they appear. The inner-workings of a satisfied, well-lived life are not necessarily visible to the naked eye. These qualities are not always tangible to the touch. True bliss is not created from the possessions that line your hallways. Your happiness is crafted from the love you’ve been blessed, the career path you chose, and the choice you’ve made.
Don’t make assumptions. What another has may not be any better than what fulfills your life. Looks will always be deceiving. The life of another is not more blessed than yours because their hedges are trimmed to perfection. What matters more – the number of cars that line your garage, or the satisfaction of your son’s winning touchdown?
There are oddities in life that will never be understood. Pieces of this universe will never be comprehended. Bits of each puzzle may never be completed. But the significance of certain incidents cannot be ignored.
The joy of your child’s first birthday.
Your pride experienced at the end of your first marathon.
The passion in your spouse’s eyes on your wedding day.
These are the experiences you cannot omit; pieces of your life you will never forget. Occasions that are far more pertinent than the decorations that line your walls.
Your neighbor’s house may be larger in size. His boat may take up a mere quarter of the driveway. His children may attend a private institution intended for gifted kids. But don’t forget – you aren’t privy to the inner-workings of that household. You’ve no clue the true bits of life that flow throughout those well-stocked halls.
Life is Better with Jealousy Left Behind
On the outside, your life may appear less than wonderful. But consider how blessed you truly are. How much satisfaction do you experience on a daily basis?
Looks don’t always cut it. Behind that imagery must provide meaning – a story, if you will. A quest of personal satisfaction, love, ambition, tragedy, and loss. For without these things, what do you actually have? Money? What does it really buy you apart from more possessions?
Don’t let yourself falter because you perceive another to be better than yourself. Recognize the worth of your life. Don’t let things slide when things get tough. Relish in your blessings. And above all, treat your life with the value it deserves.