I’m sure that you’ve heard the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side” at least once in your life, and you probably got bored of this cliché phrase. However, there is something partially related to that and I want to talk with you about it. Have you heard about the grass is greener syndrome?
Undoubtedly, it has to do something with better things being away from your reach, on the other side. But how is this syndrome actually related to the ancient saying?
The grass is greener syndrome directly refers to your inability to be grateful for the life you have. This is actually a psychological issue that may influence your life greatly if you don’t control it.
You’re not able to focus on all the blessings you have in your life. Rather, you strive to get something that’s out of your reach. You probably want to have your cake and eat it too, but that’s not how life functions.
There are a couple of things that can make you develop the grass is greener syndrome and those include low self-esteem, stress, traumatic past experiences, and fears of not being good enough and not performing the task perfectly.
Because of this, you have a higher chance of developing anxiety and depression issues, sudden and strong mood swings, insomnia, and a lot of relationship problems. But, don’t worry. Since this syndrome is something that you develop as you’re growing up, it’s not impossible to get rid of it.
The first step is actually identifying that you have the grass is greener syndrome and if you’re willing to work on yourself, everything will be okay. Nobody can tell you how long exactly it will last, both the problem itself and the healing process, so just be patient.
Presumably, you’re suspecting that you may be facing this issue, so without further ado, let’s go through all the important things that you have to know about it.
8 signs you’re suffering from the Grass Is Greener Syndrome
Now that we’ve explained what the grass is greener syndrome really is, it’s time to go through the signs that you’re suffering from it. The syndrome itself may be a bit difficult to identify, but I’m sure these listed clues will help you.
These don’t necessarily refer to romantic relationships, but rather can be applied to your everyday life. You may show some of these signs while you’re working on an important project, or when you go out to buy a dress for your friend’s wedding.
I hope you’re ready because this is the moment where you may find out that you actually have this syndrome, but you haven’t realized it yet.
1. You have commitment issues
Did the first one hit the spot? The grass is greener syndrome makes you restrain from serious relationships because you constantly think that there’s someone better out there for you. You’re trying to find perfection in someone else, even though you have a great partner by your side.
Perhaps you’re afraid that the relationship may change you and get boring. This is why you’ll continue chasing toxic partners and you won’t be able to get out of that vicious circle. You want the best there is and committing to one person may prevent you from exploring your possibilities.
Most cheaters actually have this syndrome. They’re trying to find excitement and their perfect match outside of what they already have because they feel trapped in commitment.
2. You’re struggling with perfectionism
Everything has to be perfect – from the project you’re working on, to the summer holiday you’re planning with your partner. Perfectionism is something you’d like to get rid of, but you simply can’t do that, because you like to have everything in its place and each situation under control.
It’s not an easy task to maintain a healthy relationship with others, because their behavior and little bad habits sometimes drive you crazy. You may easily lash out at the closest person to you at the moment when things aren’t going the way you’ve imagined.
Just stop for a second and repeat in your mind “No one and nothing is perfect, or we wouldn’t have uniqueness.” as Jasmin Morin said. Allow imperfections to be perfectly beautiful, will you?
3. You’re constantly seeking change
Are you the person that can’t stay in one place for too long? You’re constantly seeking change because you firmly believe that there’s something better waiting for you. Even if we’re talking about romantic relationships, your living environment, and job opportunities.
You’re not grateful for the life you have, so you’ll often seek adventures. This constant change comes from the repetition of dissatisfaction and you’ll have to solve it if you want to lead a healthier life and finally settle down.
4. You’re comparing yourself with others
“She has branded dress and I don’t”, “Her hair is more beautiful than mine”, “That’s a perfect car that I’ll never have”, and so on. You’re using every chance you get to compare yourself to others. This is actually the most obvious sign that you’re suffering from the grass is greener syndrome.
Doing this won’t help you focus on your goals and it won’t play in your favor when you’re pursuing your dreams. Rather, you’ll feel more disappointed and your self-esteem may decrease drastically.
5. You’re always looking for an escape
As soon as you feel like you may get trapped, you’re ready to flee. It’s just the grass is greener syndrome, you’re always looking for an escape. So, if you’re constantly changing your place of living, jumping from one relationship to another, and looking for a better job, it’s the syndrome’s fault.
Don’t blame your nature or zodiac sign, they have nothing to do with this. You’ll easily get irritated with everything you have and you’ll wish for something more.
6. You’re thinking about the future too much
This is the part where your anxiety develops the most and it can reach really high levels. You’re thinking about the future you could have, time and time again. Haven’t you got tired already?
Since you’re stuck in a place that doesn’t exist yet and you’re trying to make it better, you’re constantly disappointed with your current life. You don’t live in the moment and it seems like every drop of optimism somehow leaked out and is completely gone.
7. You’re making impulsive decisions
Have you seen an advertisement for a super cool gadget and you absolutely need it? If you’re suffering from the grass is greener syndrome, you’ll impulsively buy things and make choices that you may regret later.
When it comes to relationships with other people, you may say things you don’t mean, especially if you’re in the middle of a heated argument. This way you may offend your loved one and push him away from you. Don’t let the temptation win; try to stay calm and make rational decisions.
8. You’re never satisfied with your choices
Because you have unrealistic goals and expectations of yourself, your life, and everybody else around you, you’re never satisfied with your choices. Not to mention that you’re always complaining. All of this comes from the fact that you want what you can’t have and well, you’re not satisfied with what you actually own.
Perhaps you’ve chosen the “wrong” color of the dress after being in dilemma, and you saw another woman wearing it. You’ll instantly start regretting your choice and you’ll want the same dress that that woman has. But the most interesting thing is that you already do!
The grass is greener syndrome will definitely play tricks on your mind and you have to learn how to stop it, or at least reduce its influence. It will be easier and more amusing to go through life when you learn to be satisfied with what you have in hand.
4 stages of Grass Is Greener Syndrome in a relationship
When we’re talking about the grass is greener syndrome in relationships, you have to know a couple of things. If you have this syndrome, it will make you seek things that are different, more adventurous, and outside of your relationship.
That’s why breaking up with your boyfriend or getting a divorce from your husband will be imminent. You’ll go through four stages before and after making the unavoidable decision.
1. The absolute conviction stage
At the first stage of this syndrome in a relationship, you’ll be absolutely convinced that your boyfriend or husband is NOT who you want in your life. You’ll pick up on all of his flaws and keep pointing at them. Eventually, you’ll be able to see him only through a negative lens and there will be no coming back.
You’ll completely forget about all the positive characteristics he has and all those beautiful memories you’ve shared.
2. The exploration stage
This is the stage where you’ll go out and explore, literally. You’ll try to find someone new, someone, who ticks all the boxes on the list. You won’t miss a single party that’s happening, and you’ll start crossing things off your bucket list (ha, another one!).
If you’ve ever thought about skydiving, going on a road trip with a handsome stranger, or sleeping in a tent somewhere deep in the woods – this is the stage of the grass is greener syndrome where you’ll do all of it.
3. The reality stage
Here comes the part where you’ll have a reality check. You’ll finally realize what you’ve done. Every bad occurrence is going to hurt even more and you won’t be able to fight post-breakup emotions. Perhaps you thought you’ve avoided them, but it’s inevitable that you go through this phase.
You’ll go through a roller coaster of emotions and some of them you won’t be able to handle. This is the most vulnerable state (unless you’re a narcissist or a sociopath).
4. The regretting-the-decision stage
The last stage of the grass is greener syndrome in a relationship is the regretting-the-decision part. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but let’s break it down a bit. At this phase, you’ll feel sorry for making the wrong choice. You let external forces drive you and you forgot that happiness comes from within.
Going after new adventures, chasing endless fun, and even career goals will take you away from your partner and you’ll lose him. Those are all external factors that make you temporarily happy, but what happened with that pure, permanent feeling of joy? Why did you give it up so easily?
How to overcome the Grass Is Greener syndrome?
So, I’ve told you that it’s possible to overcome the grass is greener syndrome and get all your ducks in a row, but how? In this part of the article, you’ll be able to find some tips on how to face the problem and reduce its effect on your life.
It’s probably not going to be a piece of cake, especially if you have some deeper underlying problems from the past. But I believe in you, and I know that you can make it.
1. Practice gratitude
Be grateful for little things, for every breath you take. Feel the blessing of that first ray of sunshine that touches your face in the morning and be happy that you got a chance for another day. Make a list of everything that you truly appreciate in your life.
Take some time and create a journal of gratitude for yourself. That way, you’ll “force” yourself to fill in those blank pages every night before going to bed, or every morning while you’re drinking your first coffee.
If you want to strengthen your relationship, write down one reason why you love your partner every day and give him a jar of those little reminders as his birthday gift. I promise it’s going to be something he’ll adore!
2. Be mindful
Live in the present moment, absorb everything that’s happening around you, right now. Try not to let the grass is greener syndrome hold you in the future you may never experience. Shake off the feeling that you can influence what happens next without fixing the present moment.
This will also help you with your anxiety and it will definitely lower your stress levels. If you want to make a change and create a better future, you have to focus on the present. It’s a gift that you have to eagerly accept and let it shine its light on you.
3. Understand the root of the problem
In order to solve the problem, you’ll need to figure out what’s the cause. Understand its root and start your healing process. Maybe your parents were never satisfied with your success in sports competitions while you were a kid, or your needs were neglected, so you always strive for more.
Take some time to analyze everything that had happened in your life and that could be the reason for developing the grass is greener syndrome. Once you have potential causes, try to find out why those in particular, and work towards fixing them.
Are you pursuing a well-payed job because you grew up in a poorer family and you don’t want to struggle that much? Work on healing from the inside, because that’s where everything starts, both pain and happiness. You just have to decide which one of those you will nurture.
4. Talk with someone
Talk with someone, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be your friend or a family member. Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if you feel like you need it. There’s nothing bad about it. A therapist can help you find adequate and healthy coping techniques to heal faster.
In order to build internal peace and stability, you may need someone by your side while you’re discovering your inner self. It’s ideal if that someone is a partner with whom you want to build a strong and happy relationship.
Some things become less scary and less serious once we say them out loud, so do it. Ease yourself some pain and stress simply by talking with someone who cares.
5. Set realistic expectations
Sorry to disappoint you girl, but the grass is never greener on the other side. There, I just said it. Now you have to set some realistic expectations of yourself and your life in general. Where do you want to be in five years? Do you know it? Excellent. How are you going to get there? Do you know it? Amazing!
Stop fantasizing about a perfect life; create it. Work on it step by step and you’ll eventually have everything you wanted. Keep in mind that nothing comes overnight, so your success won’t either. If you’re not sure whether you’re a perfect fit for a certain job, volunteer there and figure it out.
Also, if you badly want a new car, identify all the things that you’d have to give up in order to buy it. Does cutting your budget seem scary? Could you give up going out with your friends every Saturday night, in order to save some money? Are you ready to stop your lazy Sunday tradition and start another job?
The grass is greener syndrome makes us believe that all we have right now is not enough, that we could have so much more. To some extent, it’s true. But what price do you have to pay (I’m not talking only about money value, just to be clear)?
6. Live your own life
Get rid of the thought that your life has some kind of script that you have to follow. Embrace all the imperfections and forget about well-defined schedules. Go on road trips, be flexible and do something that will take you out of your comfort zone – completely.
Please, stop comparing yourself to others. You never know what that woman with an astonishing career had to give up on her way there. Maybe she lives in a mansion you’d absolutely love to have, but is she spending enough time with her loved ones?
Everyone has their own struggles and if something seems impeccable on the surface, it’s not necessarily like that at its core. Take everything you see with a grain of salt and think about it first. Maybe the other person thinks your life is the perfect one, who knows?
Don’t let the grass is greener syndrome to stop you from living your own life to the fullest. And remember, the grass is greener on the side you’re taking care of.