Do you often have the feeling that if you had another job, if you could buy another car, if you could change your appearance and things in your relationship, you’d be ultimately happy or happier than you are now?
Do you feel like there is always something better that you are missing?
If your answer is yes, I’m sorry to tell you, but you might be another victim of the grass is greener syndrome!
What exactly is the grass is greener syndrome?
One of the simplest ways to describe this syndrome (or phenomenon) is by comparing it with toys.
So, imagine that you have a toy that’s in perfect condition, intact. You’re playing with it routinely and always having fun while doing it.
And then, one day, you start thinking about all the other toys in the store that you don’t have as of yet, all the potential upgrades of that one toy you already possess.
And you start reassuring yourself that once you succeed in buying another toy or upgrading the one you already have, you’ll be happier.
You convince yourself that you’re not satisfied with the situation you’re in at the moment and the only time you’ll be truly happy is when something changes.
You’re certain that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence!
I know that the comparison is a little absurd, but the same thing happens with our relationships, jobs, appearance, and the environment we live in.
Always seeking for something better, mightier, stronger, and bigger has forever been rooted in human beings.
Sometimes we want to end our current relationship just because we think that entering a new relationship will make us happier.
We decide to break up with our current partner only to realize that a perfect relationship doesn’t exist.
Sometimes we think if we upgraded our appearance, we’d be more attractive and therefore get more attention on social media or have a better love life, which will make us happier.
Sometimes we seek self-worth in artificial things and we have a hard time seeing the real picture of the situation we’re in.
We start seeing flaws everywhere and we’re constantly looking for something better – the proverbial greener grass.
The grass is always greener syndrome becomes a part of our daily lives and often we’re not even aware of it.
But, as always, there’s one sure way to find out whether this is the case with you as well!
If the following signs speak the truth, I’m sorry to tell you, but chances are you’re one of the victims of this merciless syndrome! (In which case, make sure to also check down below the tips and steps that’ll help you overcome it.)
10 SIGNS YOU’RE SUFFERING FROM THE GRASS IS GREENER SYNDROME
1. You constantly notice flaws and imperfections
One of the biggest signs of the grass is greener syndrome is the tendency to always be on the lookout for mistakes, flaws, and imperfections in your daily life.
That includes your appearance, job, best friends, partner, etc. where you only see what is wrong and, therefore, ignore all the good.
Constantly noticing the negative side of everything is the biggest shortcut to becoming miserable and thinking that you need to be perfect in order to be truly happy.
Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll notice that not everything is as bad as you thought it is.
2. You seek perfection
This one is connected to the previous one.
Constantly noticing negative things results in seeking perfection – where you think that if you buy that one T-shirt, if you lose weight, if you find new friends, if you get your ex back, or if you get out of your long term relationship, you’ll become perfectly happy and your life will start making sense.
Being convinced that there is always something better that you need to possess or achieve in order to be happy is one of the biggest red flags that you’re suffering from the grass is greener syndrome!
Seeking perfection is a true roller coaster and once it starts ruling your life, it is really hard to stop it.
3. You’re too occupied about the future
Do you often find yourself thinking about possible future events or outcomes, new things and the like, that will make you happier than you are at the moment?
If yes, it means you’re unable to focus on things that are in front of you.
You’re unable to live in the moment – another sign of the grass is greener syndrome.
Being too occupied about the future means not enjoying what you already have and always looking for more or different things, thinking you need just a little bit more to become truly happy. But, is it really so?
It is said that when we lose something, only then do we realize its true worth, and when something bad happens, only then do we realize how happy we actually were in the first place. So, think about it…
4. You fear commitment
When you meet someone for the first time, and after a while you really fall for them, do you get this fear of growing closer to them and initiating something more serious like a relationship?
Is that fear connected with the fear of getting trapped with that one person, which will prevent you from meeting new people?
In most of the cases, fearing commitment is linked with the inability to accept the reality (what you have) because of the idea that there’s probably something better out there waiting for you to grab.
It all results in avoiding commitment and applying No contact rule in order to get rid of that one person you actually like so much.
After that comes regret in the form of an illusive sentence: “I didnt even like him/her that much…” The grass is greener syndrome prevents you from realizing that no person out there can be happy in a relationship when constantly thinking about what they lack or anticipating something better and greater.
5. You run away from things
Whenever you feel like your job is consuming you, your partner is suffocating you by constantly demanding attention, or something else becomes a burden in your life, do you usually run away from things without even thinking twice about it?
Do you wear the title of being a dumper in almost all of your previous relationships?
If your answer to all of this is yes, it probably means you’re being blinded by the grass is greener syndrome without even being aware of it.
You’re running away from things because you’re convinced that the only way to solve it and being happy again is to abandon it and start looking for something better.
6. You over-complain and compare with others
You’re constantly complaining about basically everything that, according to your standards, is not acceptable.
You’re complaining about the weather, your partner’s habits, your colleagues, and your life in general.
And you wish for all of them to simply disappear, right?
You wish all of this because you’re convinced that there’s something better waiting around the corner and the only thing you need to do is to pursue it. But, life doesn’t work that way.
We convince ourselves that what we’re going through is the worst kind of punishment while other people are enjoying in their perfect lives.
For example, let’s say that your ex boyfriend or girlfriend was a bit of a flirt when you just met them and they often spent time on dating apps, partying, and enjoying other people’s attention even though they were with you at the time, but they never actually cheated on you.
And then you look at your friend’s “perfect” relationship only to find out later that they broke up because their girlfriend/boyfriend was cheating the entire time.
Then you realize that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence and that nothing is as it seems, right?
7. You fantasize a lot
Are your thoughts constantly redirected to imagining waking up next to a perfect partner, going on your perfect job, playing with perfect children, having tons of money and, in a nutshell, having a life that is the total opposite of the one you have now?
If you’re spending tremendous amounts of time on fantasizing about becoming someone else and living a perfect life according to your standards, it means you’re convinced that the grass is greener and because of that, you can’t really see the real value of what you already have in front of you.
8. You use phrases like “what if” and “if only” on repeat
“What if” and “if only” are phrases that are closely connected with fantasizing.
Thoughts like “What if I want something more exciting?” leads to statements like “If only I had someone more exciting in my life.”
These phrases are directly linked with thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence – the grass is greener syndrome.
Constantly repeating that you wish something was different but not doing anything about it equates to living in an illusion and waiting for things to start improving by magic.
It also comes down to being ungrateful for all the positive things you have in your life because you’re only focused on the negative ones.
9. You’re prone to acting on your impulses
When you’re watching an advertisement where an expensive, thingamajig is being advertised in an appealing way – like something you really need to own in order to be truly happy – do you instantly act on your impulses and decide to buy it (despite the fact that you don’t really have that money to spend and the thing will be of no use to you)?
If this happens to you often in other aspects of your life as well, I’m sorry to tell you, you’re probably a sufferer of the grass is greener syndrome.
This syndrome can affect your ability to think rationally and, therefore, make you a victim of your own bad choices and pursuit of artificial happiness.
10. You have a hard time finding gratitude
Let’s face it. There’s not a single person on earth with a perfect life devoid of any struggle and hardship, and yet usually those who have less are more grateful for what they have (I call it the curse of the modern times).
If you’re having a hard time finding gratitude, it’s probably because you always think you need more and, as a result, you forget to praise what you already have.
But, life doesn’t work that way. You could have everything that you’ve ever wanted and I’m sure there would always be something that’s missing.
Having a hard time being grateful and worshipping small things in life means being blinded by the pursuit of greener grass.
HOW TO OVERCOME THE GRASS IS GREENER SYNDROME
If you’ve just realized that you might be suffering from the grass is greener syndrome, there’s really no need to worry (no matter how impossible this sounds to you at the moment).
Like every other syndrome, this one can also be overcome – all you need to do is be persistent and never lose hope!
So, here are some helpful tips and steps to deal with the grass is greener syndrome and defeat it in the shortest time possible!
1. Identify the root of the problem
The first step to healing from the grass is greener syndrome is identifying the root cause. Think about whether your childhood has triggered the development of this syndrome.
The following questions will help you realize whether your past events are directly connected with the syndrome:
- Did your parents constantly complain about things when you were a child?
- Did you feel like no matter what you did, it was never good enough according to your parent’s standards?
- Are you still trying hard to impress your parents?
- Did you experience a childhood trauma or any kind of neglect?
If your answer is yes to at least one of the above questions, it’s a sure sign that the grass is greener syndrome stems from your past events.
So, once you determine the real root of the problem, it will be easier to accept the fact that the real lack in your life is actually internal, and not external.
2. Start a gratitude journal
Being grateful for things you already have is a prerequisite to having a happy life and ending the grass is greener “torture.”
The best way to express your gratitude is starting a gratitude journal, where every night before you fall asleep you write a few things that you’re grateful for.
This doesn’t have to be big.
As a matter of fact, the core point of the gratitude journal is to help you target all those small things in life that actually mean so much yet are often neglected.
Focus on how grateful you are for your family, for all the little things that made your day, etc. and soon you will realize the real value of the things you already have in front of you.
3. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is all about focusing on living in the moment, which will help you stop fantasizing about the future. One of the most helpful ways to practice mindfulness is through meditation.
Another way (I call it the instant way) is the technique of relying on your senses by asking yourself these three questions: “What do I see? What do I hear? What do I smell?”
When you answer those questions, you’ll become more in sync with your environment and gradually shift from your fantasy world to reality.
So, every time you notice your mind is getting lost in your past or future, apply this technique and watch your presence being restored in the moment.
4. Get a taste of what you want
Getting a taste of what you want is all about spending a day or more in the environment or with a person who has something that you also desire so bad.
So, if your wish is to be skinny or in top form, spend a day with someone who is skinny and do everything they’re doing for a day or more (including their diet program and exercise regimen).
Once you get a taste of what you want, then it will be easier for you to think rationally about your dream and see the real amount of effort that is needed for a certain goal.
When you realize all of that, it’ll be easier for you to appreciate what you already have and create distance between fantasy and reality.
5. Talk about it with your close people or a professional
Many people are not that comfortable with the idea of talking about their problems with others (especially with their close ones).
But you’d be surprised how much you could gain from one meaningful conversation with your best friend or a relative, and especially from cognitive behavioural therapy session with a psychotherapist.
Keep in mind that people who are suffering from the grass is greener syndrome have difficulties seeing things as they are; that’s why another person’s opinion or advice is more than welcome and really helpful!
The grass is greener syndrome is illusive thinking that achieving certain things in life will make us feel complete.
Such thinking makes it impossible for a sufferer to live in reality (in the moment) and appreciate what he or she already has.
It’s true that there will always be better things in life than what you currently have, but if you start obsessing over it, you’ll miss the opportunity to be truly happy with all the things you already do have.
The secret to true happiness is not about achieving your every goal or possessing everything that exists in the world!
It’s about being content with and grateful for what you have.
Because if you’re not, you’ll waste your life living in an illusion by letting trivial things influence your well-being and concept of happiness.
Remember that being happy is not about driving the fastest car, wearing the coolest shirt or most expensive dress, looking perfect, or having every luxury you need and more.
Being happy is about loving yourself, accepting all of your flaws, and doing your best day in day out.
Being happy is about embracing this very moment as you’re reading this and accepting that you’re only an imperfect human, which is what makes you truly unique and beautiful!