Last modified on June 24th, 2020
Most people are conscious of the fact that “happiness comes from within“. It’s not something we can buy or gain from adding something more to what we already have.
While we know this to be true, it is still amazing why we still desire what we can’t (or think we can’t) have?
Most of the time, we feel like our lives would be better if only we had this particular something, was with that individual, resided in a certain neighborhood, or just had a certain attribute.
This experience is commonly called the Grass is Greener Syndrome (GIGS). It’s a phenomenon that makes us believe that what we currently have is no longer adequate, satisfying, or enough.
However, the truth is that you won’t be any happier than you were before when you finally get it.
This is because the greener grass on the other side won’t remain as green as the moment we first set foot on it. As a result, we end up searching for the next greener grass.
Grass is Greener Syndrome in Relationships
In the first post in this series, we talked about what Grass is Greener Syndrome is all about. The subsequent post dealt with some of the signs of Grass is Greener Syndrome.
In this post, the intention is to look at how we can overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome. This will be with particular reference to how it might affect our relationships.
The Grass is Greener Syndrome can have a devastating effect in a relationship where one or both partners suffer from it.
When properly analyzed, the GIG Syndrome has more to do with a lack of commitment than a lack of fulfillment in the relationship.
The GIG Syndrome is particular felt when a partner with GIGS breaks up a relationship. The experience can be very excruciating. This is because there is never any closure to the relationship.
Generally, the dumper hardly ever gives any sensible reasons for the breakup. As a result, it ends up leaving the dumpee feeling more inadequate than ever before.
So, how can someone effectively overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome?
Before anything else, you need to first understand that it’s a syndrome and as such it can be overcome. However, you will need to apply a degree of persistence and never to lose hope in the process.
1. Uncover The Root Cause
It is important to understand that the Grass is Greener Syndrome is a combination of several issues. So, it is important to try as much as possible to get to the root of the problem when trying to overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome.
For instance, if you have grown up in a poor family, you might have imbibed the core belief that there is never enough.
It might also be possible that your inability to commit in a relationship stems from neglect experienced as a child.
Do you have constant feelings that you’ll never be good enough? It might be worthwhile checking if your parents always complained about things you did. Or as a child growing up, did other people often say you were never good enough despite doing your best?
More often than not, the root of the problem will be something from past events in your life. This is an important distinction to make. Usually, before the signs of Grass is Greener Syndrome starts, the underlying causes would have been well established already.
You’ll start to realize that the real lack you’re having is an internal one and not external once you’ve discovered the root causes of the GIG Syndrome.
With this knowledge, you can now start working on how to find inner satisfaction. This way, the desire to seek out external forms of satisfaction greatly diminishes.
2. Balanced and Realistic Thinking
The GIG Syndrome is often characterized by a high tendency to have a lot of “cognitive distortions”.
It’s a situation in which your thought patterns have skewered your experience of reality to one extreme or the other. This creates a black-and-white thinking mentality.
Sadly, despite the fact that your thoughts are not reality-based, you’ve come to accept them as the truth. In going forward, you’ll need to checkmate this black-and-white thinking ideology you’ve been living your life with thus far.
One of the most important steps toward overcoming the GIG Syndrome is to start thinking realistically. You can easily achieve this by being rational in your thinking through a “balanced thinking” approach.
Balanced thinking allows you to “think in the middle“. Experts have shown that this method of thinking helps to alleviate cycles of low moods. Balanced thinking also increases your chances of making better decisions.
Comparing and Contrasting Everything
One common advice to overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome is to stop making comparisons as it is what is causing the unhappiness. However, as humans, it seems almost impossible to stop making comparisons.
The balanced thinking approach is a better option when it comes to comparison. So when you’re making comparisons, endeavor to compare and contrast everything. Put everything on the table and notice everything.
So, when you’re thinking about all the other better options out there, you need to ensure that you’re actually comparing apples with apples.
You need to stop believing that that “prettier” lady or more “handsome” guy that your heart is wondering after will finally make your life happier. While they might fulfill all your sexual fantasies, they may lack those good qualities you’re taking for granted in your current spouse.
Most times, you’re considering only what is good in your current situation and believing that the new situation will only add more good to it.
However, the truth is that you will also lose some of the good things that are in your current situation. While you might have some desired improved elements, you can be sure that some bad ones will also rear their ugly heads.
After the “honeymoon phase” of your new experience wanes, your new situation will be largely the same as the current one.
So you need to consider the good and bad aspects of the new decision you’re currently thinking of. Thus, any time you’re thinking of an idea, ensure that you’re doing it from a “balanced thinking” perspective.
3. Practice Mindfulness
The Grass is Greener Syndrome generally has you pining after something or wishing you could get something that will make your life better. As a result, you become detached from the present realities before you.
On the other hand, mindfulness is about pulling all your attention into the present moment – living in the NOW.
Mindfulness is a gentle practice of greater self-knowledge and self-awareness. It helps you to fully accept yourself as you are – feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Mindfulness as a practice is actually evidence-based.1 Research has proven that it can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. Consequently, it can greatly help you to reduce fantasizing about the future.
Meditation and Self-Awareness
One of the most helpful ways to practice mindfulness is through meditation.
Mindfulness meditation involves sitting silently and paying attention to your thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing or parts of your body. This helps to bring your attention back whenever your mind starts to wander.
You can also practice it in your daily life by noticing the sensations from things around you. This include little things such as the food you eat and the air moving past your body as you walk.
While they may appear small, they have huge power to disrupt the “autopilot” mode of your everyday life and to give you new perspectives on life.
However, it is important to understand that mindfulness does not produce instant results. It is a practice and not a one-off miracle.
The Grass is Greener Syndrome is a reality of the human life. You are conditioned to want more, to need more, and to stay dissatisfied; because that is the only way you will keep striving to survive.
Mindfulness is a practice has to be learned and continually practiced. It is important to continue this practice till it becomes a part of your lifestyle.
This might require some commitment and patience before you start seeing noticeable results. However, the gains can have tremendous lifetime effects on your personality.
So, any time you mind is wallowing in the past or wandering into the future, practice mindfulness and gradually watch your presence being restored into the moment.
4. Express Appreciation and Gratitude
One of the prerequisites to living a happy life is to always be grateful. The power of appreciation and gratitude is that they shift your attention to focus on the positives and what’s working.
One of the tricks to develop a gratitude attitude is to write things down daily. You should concentrate on the things that truly give you sensations of feeling good.
For instance, cultivate the habit of writing down all the qualities you love and appreciate about your partner. It is important to do this even when you might not be connecting to those positive qualities at the moment.
Also, learn to be grateful for all the little good things happening in your lifestyle, career, your family as a whole, etc.
The essence of writing such things down is to help you target all those small things in your life that actually mean so much but that you’re neglecting.
With time, you’ll start realizing the real value of what you currently have. You will also start realizing why you don’t need more external things to make you happier.
What you need is to love yourself and desire to have a positive and engaging life. This is the pathway to personally overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome.
5. Differentiate Between “Need” and “Want”
While this sounds very simplistic, the reality isn’t always that easy. Are those things you’re longing for simply so you can “keep up with the Joneses”?
We all have needs with some being more vital than others. Some of these needs can be deal-breakers when it comes to relationships. These include things like getting married, having children, or even living in a particular area with certain amenities.
We currently live in a society of never-ending possibilities. For most people, the difference between their needs and wants is quite clear. However, if you have Grass is Greener Syndrome, it is generally hard differentiating between what you really need and mere desires.
You can’t always get what you want… But if you try sometimes You just might find You get what you need.
This is one big reason why a lot of people find it hard differentiating between their needs and wants. This has to do with the concept of “herd mentality“. This makes a lot of people to base their needs on some external factors rather than their actual real needs.
There are certain questions you can ask yourself when confronted with such decisions. For instance, ask yourself if there’s a direct internal need for this longing. If there is none, could it be merely based on an external motivating factor?
You also need to learn how to lower your expectations if you really want to overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome. Also, try mainly focusing on your direct, internal and more basic needs. And if it will help, design your life to have less distractions and possibilities. You might want to consider this last option because more is less – The Paradox of Choice.
6. Unplug From Social Media
Love it or hate it, Social Media has significantly affected the way we view ourselves and others. The current Social Media culture makes it very easy to believe that our relationships have something to be desired.
Observe and stay away from reading, watching, and listening to people who trigger your impulse to make unfavorable comparisons. You can also unfollow people who you have no direct association with. Remember, more is less!
There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.
Another way to avoid Social Media’s pressure and tendency for unnecessary comparison is to wholly (if possible) or intermittently unplug from it. You can consciously decide to disengage from it for some couple of days. Also, it won’t be out of place to try reducing the number and types of people you follow.
Birds of the same feather flock together! Try to ensure that you only follow the people, blog posts, and podcast that will energize your life.
7. Talk With People or Seek Professional Help
We all know how uncomfortable it can be to discuss our personal problems with other people. Also, some people might already be tired of hearing your whining of never being good enough.
Yet, it is worth trying to talk about some of your troubles with some listening ears. You could learn a lot from one meaningful conversation with a true friend or relative.
In spite of all the above suggestions to overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome, there is one consideration to note. In certain cases, the most appropriate option would be to seek professional help.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with a Psychotherapist is the best way to treat GIG Syndrome. Hold on and listen first, there are some very strong reasons for this suggestion.
Obviously, such sessions make it a lot easier for you to shift your perspective. As a result, you can more easily start to make necessary changes that will make you feel better in general.
More importantly, remember that when suffering from the GIG Syndrome, you generally have a lot of difficulties seeing things the way they really are.
By the time you start manifesting symptoms of the GIG Syndrome, the underlying causes have been well established.
Again, the GIG Syndrome is characterized by an intensive internal tug of war and a deep multilayered convolution of causes. As a result, this situation makes it pretty difficult for you to have a clear and sound thought process. It can thus be very difficult for you to personally determine what’s in your best interest.
The simple truth is that the Grass is Greener Syndrome is difficult to manage without outside help.
The above suggestions are not exhaustive in any way. There are several other behavioral, therapeutic, or psychological interventions that can help to overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome.
Once again, it’s pretty difficult to rationalize your way out of the GIG Syndrome alone. This is because of a very strong internal emotionally-based struggle.
Simply put, the strength of the emotions you go through with the GIG Syndrome will generally outweigh what your rational mind may know.
The most important thing in all this is to always remember that the Grass is Greener where you water it.
Being happy in life is more about enjoying the “little” as well as “big” moments that make our existence count.
The goal should be to gain good control over your options in life. At the same time, you need to accept the fact that you’re simply an imperfect human. This imperfection is what makes you truly unique and beautiful.
Remember once again, the grass is greener where you water it!
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