“If the grass looks greener on the other side… stop staring. Stop comparing. Stop complaining. And start watering the grass you’re standing on.”
I recently saw this quote on Facebook and I thought… how timely. I was just about to upload a blog post about comparison. That’s so coincidental. Or maybe, not so coincidental at all. Perhaps, this is a message my stubborn spirit really needs to get.
Lately, I have been feeling left out. Like everyone around me is part of some huge green grass conspiracy, but I did not receive the memo. Everywhere I turn, I keep hearing these stories, these amazing stories, about someone’s magnificent overflow of blessings. These blessings are always perfectly timed and inevitably beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Everything always seems to work out exactly right, for them. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I have some of these stories to tell too. It’s just that mine always seem to turn out differently… like a blessing with a twist.
It’s not their fault. I enjoy hearing of their good fortune. Well, sometimes. Sometimes, all of that happiness is painful. On my side of the fence, it can be hard to enjoy someone else’s green grass when my grass is so disappointingly brown.
In my heart of hearts, I want to rejoice for them. Deep down, in the places in me that are good, I want to be happy for someone else’s good fortune. Even when it hurts. Even when I’m over here, on the other side, stuck in my pool of wallowing self-pity. I don’t want to jump into this pool, and yet I do, every time. Every. Single. Time. It can be addictive.
I texted a friend so I could confess my struggle. For me, the simple act of admitting my faults often turns something unwieldy into something manageable. I had hope her words of wisdom would help me move on from my funk.
She said, “You need to remember that you live in abundance.”
Hmmmm… not what I was expecting. Certainly not what I imagined. This? This is abundance?
1 a very large quantity of something.
A very large quantity of something? A very large quantity of what exactly? What am I missing?
Abundance is a strange word for someone like me. I’ve never been motivated by a need for abundance, material or otherwise. I like things simple. I like things uncomplicated. When my life exploded, it became anything but simple. Now, it’s… complicated. So complicated that I struggle with how to survive the day-to-day management of these large, complicated issues. And, unfortunately, these daily challenges distract me from embracing my own definition of abundance.
So what do I do?
I’m not sure. Especially since, at the moment, I keep noticing all the things I don’t have, and I keep overlooking all the things that I do. The truth is, I have a long list of things to be grateful for. Too many to count really. I should be better at recognizing them.
Some days, it’s not as simple as a “change of perspective,” although I’m sure that would help. Some days, it takes more effort than that. Some days, you just have to hang on with all of your strength and wait for the emotional ramifications of your current circumstances to pass. Sometimes, it passes quickly. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes, it takes turning truth into a mantra that you repeat over and over, and over and over again, until your brain and your heart can settle into a place of peace. That’s what I end up doing more often than I would like. I chant the truth until I brainwash my emotions into compliance. Sigh.
Of course, I’m allowed to feel angry. I’m also allowed to feel sad. I’m allowed a right to my pain. More importantly, I deserve to process my pain at my own pace and within my own abilities. God knows, after what I’ve been through, I’ve almost earned it. Almost.
But, like second-hand smoke, as soon as I pass those emotions on to those around me in a negative way, I have crossed the line. I’m allowed the right to my feelings, but I’m not allowed to let my feelings motivate me to pass judgement on those around me. Even when that judgement comes from a place of pain, and not necessarily from a need for greener grass.
That’s why, even when it hurts, I will rejoice for someone else’s happiness. I hope they would do the same for me. Because, comparison not only brings about self-pity, it really does steal joy. And, I don’t want to volunteer anything to be stolen from me. At least, not if I can help it.
So go ahead and brag about your good fortune. Show off your green grass. You should feel free to shout your happiness from the rooftops, regardless of my issues. I certainly don’t want to miss out on your greatest moments, just because I was stuck in a painful place.
Someday, I hope to be better equipped to deal with this issue. Someday, I hope to do a better job recognizing my own abundance and keep the negativity of little miss judgey-pants away from yours. It’s worth it. If I can let go of my storm clouds, even for a moment, your sunshine will eventually chase away my rain.
Although, if I really think about it, the rain is what made the grass green in the first place. So, maybe we could work on this together. Maybe, you could make a little space for my rain while I make more room for your sunshine. That way, when your sunshine shines, I’m ready to rejoice in it, with you.
©2016 Betts Keating. All rights reserved.
Read more of Betts Keating’s story in her memoir, My Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel, available for purchase at amazon.com.
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