Existential Psychology

Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side

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I know some people in committed relationships who yearn for their freewheeling single days, and I know some single people who yearn for a committed relationship. And I have a hunch that if they were to trade places with one another, before long each would be yearning for exactly what it was they used to have. For many of us, the grass is always greener on the other side, and it’s a terrible way to live.

Teddy Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy” and he was spot on. We can’t have it all at the same time; we’re often forced to make difficult choices where alternatives exclude, where one set of life conditions automatically precludes all of the various other possible life conditions. The sad part is that many, even after making the  best choice for themselves, still regret their decisions.

The only satisfactory answer, the one that provides you with the best opportunity for emotional and psychological well-being, is to fully commit to the set of circumstances you are confronted with now, realizing you have all the conditions necessary for your happiness if you just stop comparing them to some other set of possible conditions.

Regardless of the choices we make for ourselves, we’re giving up all of the other possible choices, and this has the potential to create feelings of unresolved grief if you don’t consciously come to terms with the fact that no one can have it all, that every choice bears a price tag , which every other possible life path falling by the wayside. There is no way around this existential fact, but you can choose to accept it instead of constantly comparing your situation to those of people who have made different choices. Just remember that many of them are probably comparing their situations too, also finding them lacking.