Although the adage “the grass is always greener on the other side” has diminished in significance as of late, those who suffer the “grass is greener mentality” face substantial difficulties in sticking to commitments.

The defining feature of such a mentality is the belief that there’s always something nicer that we are missing. This idea is that there’s always something more and better somewhere and that anything less than perfect won’t do, in contrast to enjoying stability, security, and contentment in the existing setting. Hence, one foot will always be out the door concerning relationships, careers, or even where you live.

Is the grass truly greener on the other side?

People often fall into the trap of thinking about the old adage that the grass is greener on the other side, meaning they perceive others’ situations as more desirable than their own, even though this might not be the case in reality. But unfortunately, we quickly notice the negative parts of our situation, making other people’s lives appear more attractive.

But is there truly a greener pasture on the other side? Is everything as flawless as it seems? Does a perfect life exist?

Instead of saying “the grass is always greener,” many people often say it as a reminder: “the grass isn’t always greener in the other fellow’s yard.”

Regardless of how you hear the old saying, the same meaning still rings true. But unfortunately, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Different set of jobs and tasks have obstacles, every family has their own problems, and every community has limitations.

Why are we afraid to miss anything?

We now have access to so many resources that it’s difficult not to envision an ideal world. But no matter how wonderful your life may be, a single click on Instagram will reveal a person who seems to have it better than you.

We’re all shown visuals of what we can only assume to be the ideal life on tv, reality shows, social media, and in the movies. Although they have existed for as long as anybody can remember, appealing adverts have grown significantly and will only continue.

We feel anxious. We have so many options available that we can’t be content with what we have. And as a result, we’re always searching for satisfaction in the unknown.

Often, we’re confronted with infinite options, which may be quite distressing if we don’t decide. And because of this, it’s more difficult for us to stop comparing our lives to those of others, which fosters the false belief that the ideal life is out there waiting for us to discover.

The issue with this is that the notion of the “greener grass” is frequently driven by fear and imagination.

There are several potential causes for fear, such as fear of oppression, monotony, commitment, and losing one’s identity. And the difficulty of compromise accompanies these fears.

Why do we always think about the greener side?

Many of us believe that something else could help us possess all that we need, want, and cherish and that it will come to us on our terms.

Our imaginations ramp up at this point. And projection goes hand in hand with imagination!

We long for things we don’t already possess, and we dream that we’ll succeed in obtaining those things while continuing the aspects of our existing lives that bring us joy. Regrettably, during the honeymoon phase of the transition, we realize that we want to return to the opposite side of the fence since we notice there are other things we don’t have, and the fascination of the change fades away.

So even after repeatedly jumping the fence, it’s undeniable that we’ll constantly desire what we don’t have.

Here’s where projection comes into play. When we say that the grass is greener on the other side, we’re typically (but not always) projecting our misery onto something foreign to ourselves, such as a relationship, job, residence, etc.

We rely on refining our surroundings to ease a more profound underlying frustration. But even if the weather changes as you leap the fence, the blow remains the same after a brief mental euphoria, without persistent excitement and novelty.

What can we do about it?

You might want to change the phrase to “The grass is only as green as we nurture it.”

When you mow the grass, it starts lush and shining green but eventually fades. Maintenance is necessary for it to continue being a fine shade of green. If we take care of our lot on our side of the fence, it’ll soon grow to be the greener grass we’ve always wanted.

The rich green grass on the other side of the fence reflects our desire for our innermost selves to be content, happy, and free from suffering in our own lot. And because we are all inherently flawed in some areas as humans, the gleaming grass is only a mirage.

We must keep our grass as green as possible and seek support from others when needed.


Yes, similar idiomatic expressions exist in other languages. For example, in French, there’s the saying “l’herbe est toujours plus verte ailleurs,” which translates to “the grass is always greener elsewhere.” These idioms convey the universal notion of perceiving other situations as more favorable.
Yes, the phrase holds relevance in various aspects of life, including professional situations. In a competitive job market, for example, someone might feel that a particular industry or job is more promising.

This notion is akin to thinking that “the grass is greener on the other side” – that a different career path is more fruitful. However, it’s essential to recognize that challenges and opportunities exist in every “man’s field,” and careful consideration is necessary before making career decisions based solely on this perception.

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Dr. Mary

Dr. Mary Coussons-Read, a Ph.D. in Psychology and an accomplished Professor and Higher Education Leader, brings extensive experience to her role as a Certified Professional Personal and Career Coach. With over 30 years of leadership and organizational development consulting in academic and corporate settings, Dr. Mary is well-equipped to guide higher education professionals toward envisioning and achieving positive change.

In addition to her academic background, Dr. Mary has a personal understanding of weight management challenges. Her transformative journey has inspired her to support successful individuals struggling with obesity. Through her expertise and compassionate approach, she helps them explore long-term options, including bariatric surgery or alternative strategies for lifelong weight management.

With her unique combination of academic knowledge, coaching skills, and personal experience, Dr. Mary is committed to assisting individuals in realizing their goals and making significant transformations in their lives.