I marvel at my neighbors who compete with one another when it comes to who has the greenest lawn, the best landscaped beds, or the most beautiful curbside appeal.
While it’s a precisely manicured neighborhood, it is high maintenance for its owners who spend a lot of their free time working at keeping their yards in pristine condition.
Thank God I live on a dead end street. I have a nice lawn; it’s not fancy, but I maintain it with the help of a lawn service. I keep it simple because I like low maintenance.
On my walks through the neighborhood, I watch how many of these neighbors covet the lawns of others. Of course, the old adage, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” comes to mind.
For some, there will always be the other side of the fence, where things look better.
How many times have we said to ourselves that we would feel better if only…if only we had a different job, a different car, more money; if only we were smarter, thinner, faster; if only I had said this or done that…if we were anything other than what we are, we would feel better.
But if we can’t be happy as we are, where we are, chances are we won’t be happy anywhere else.
Our answers and satisfaction are not somewhere “over there.” Wholeness, perfection, happiness…call it what you will…is not something to be chased after. It’s something to be claimed.
If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, it’s because it only appears that way to us when we have lost our ability to recognize and appreciate the beauty and the blessing of what’s right in front of us (or directly beneath our own feet).
Just as untended weeds can overtake a lawn, “if only” statements can wreak havoc on your emotions and your life. These statements crowd your mental space, piling on all sorts of unwanted emotions. The more you let them take root in your mind, the more they will spread into other areas of your life. What an exhausting way to live, always comparing and competing and wishing for the better. No wonder there’s no room for happiness. . .there’s no place for it to grow!
Those two tiny words have dire consequences. STOP. SAYING. THEM.
Invoking the power of “if only” is a trick of the ego, causing you to look outside of yourself rather than within. Behind these two words are either procrastination or over-competitiveness, envy, and a fear of not measuring up.
What you think, what you speak, what story you tell about yourself to yourself — those words become your reality. The more you whine or complain about your state of unhappiness, the more you doom yourself to attract more things to whine and complain about. It’s how the universe works; there’s no way around that. Rather than have it work against you with your whining and complaining, make it work for you by choosing better words.
If you want to change your reality, then you must change your story, and if you’re going to tell a better story, then you must change your wording. Start cultivating a better self-talk vocabulary.
Stop looking over the fence and start appreciating the blessings that are already present in your life.