"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, August 17, 2012

Who's Grass is Greener?

"If the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, maybe you need to water your own."

Are you struggling with the belief that everyone else has it better than you do? Do you struggle with jealousy because others seem to have it easier or are more talented or more blessed?

We all feel this way to some extent. So what do we do about it? Complain? Feel sorry for ourselves?

There is a better way but it seems like a harder road to travel. Is it more difficult to make the most of things, or is it harder to turn the ship and enjoy the fruits?

I'm going to vote for the second option! Jealousy gets you nowhere.

I recently saw the movie "Hope Springs" as did many of you I'm sure. It's worth seeing, very realistic. I have to say that my daughter and I were the youngest people in the packed full movie theatre.

In the movie Meryl Streep plays a dissatisfied wife who decides to work on her marriage to make her man a more romantic, attentive husband played by Tommy Lee Jones. Steve Carell plays the calm and cherubic looking therapist. The movie was both full of laughs and full of uncomfortable moments, as is life. I don't want to be a movie "spoiler" but let's just say the road to happiness was not an easy one for the couple.

Most of the way through the movie all I could think was "Just give up already... you poor thing. He's a grouchy little old poop and he's not going to change!" But she believed that she had to give it her best shot so she watered her lawn. Instead of complaining and giving up, she took some hard steps toward reaching her goal. I won't tell you whether or not it paid off. The truth is sometimes it pays off and other times it doesn't but you've got to try. Nothing ventured... nothing gained....

Here are a few tips I've put together when I'm bothered by envy.

1) Don't bother with the guilt trip. Many of us grew up with the "Thou shalt not covet" commandment so that when we look in another direction it sends our consciences into a tale spin. Realize that right now, your heart thinks it needs this. It's alright. Desires are a normal part of being human. It's not the act of feeling that is wrong, it's what you do with the feeling.

2) Realize that you are feeling a lack in some area of your life. Maybe you are jealous of vacations because you are feeling overworked, tired and house bound. Take some action and see what you can do to rectify the situation. All solutions don't have to cost money!

3) Continue to practice gratitude for all that you DO have. Sometimes we start to notice more open doors than we previously thought were there because our viewpoint shifts.

4) See those things that are lacking as goals. Work towards what you want. Do you want a better marriage? Water your grass. Are you jealous of someone's figure and cute wardrobe? Get to the gym more often and avoid that ice cream. Do you need more money? Try to get a new job that pays better. (I know, easier said than done but you have to try). The point is don't covet theirs, get your own!

So today, look around at your lawn or the garden of your life. Where does it need water? Start giving those areas some TLC and see if things start to turn around for you. It's good for the soul!

How are you doing on day 2 of your encouragement challenge? Did you find someone to encourage today? Good, keep it up!

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