By Edward B. Toupin | Posted 2/11/04 | Updated 4/9/23
In 1978, Erma Bombeck wrote a book entitled The Grass is Always Greener over the Septic Tank. It was a most humorous read, at the time.
Of course, this title falls in line with the idea that "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." But, her sentiments hit the idea head on in noting that there must be some specific reason that the grass is greener "over there." While the top layer is nice, plush, and green, what is it that boils underneath?
In our very early years, we all strive to be like someone else, as we're not really sure who we are at the time. Eventually, we reach an age, a level of maturity, where our role models change and we become, well, us. However, in so many situations, we still strive to be like someone else or we envy or hate others because we are not like them a most peculiar waste of time on our parts indeed.
Sometimes we strive to be like others because of the situations or challenges that we must deal with every day. Indeed, it would be spectacular to drop everything in life and simply walk in someone else's shoes into what we picture as our ideal situation.
However, did you ever stop and think about that other person's situation? You only see the positive aspects that attract you to this other person's life, yet there are always negative aspects hiding beneath the surface. You must realize that each and every life path comes with its share of challenges. Someone who appears better off than us actually has a different class of challenges. Yet, it's not how challenge-free a life can be, but how those challenges are managed that makes a life fulfilling.
Realize that we sometimes hold on to challenges as an excuse to not move forward in life. Whether we like it or not, we sometimes like to "hang in place" because our current situation provides us with a safe, comfort zone with which we are familiar. Familiarity not only promotes a comforting feeling, but it also breeds lethargy.
To turn you life into something more fulfilling and change your challenges, you must decide on the challenges you will undertake. You must determine what it is that you want in your life and then define a path to achieve — specify your goals to reach your ultimate Vision. Then, evaluate your challenges to determine if those challenges you are tackling will propel you toward your Vision or hinder your progress.
If we sit still in our lives, we create personal challenges as a mechanism to keep us busy and to fool our souls into believing that we must remain stationary due to numerous setbacks. Many of these challenges have to do with unsatisfied desires and lethargy including absorbing the problems of others and living in your head to satisfy the needs of the soul. However, when we're moving forward in life, we encounter challenges as a result of change and momentum where the Universe must create balance in our wake. In the long run, it is easier to only manage forward-moving challenges than to have to create and then manage our own challenges.
As you can see, challenges can be changed from "problems" by merely altering their purpose. It is a change in perspective that changes our attitude to those challenges that we face everyday. However, this change in perspective can only occur if you have a plan in place that allows you to look at things from a different angle. To do so, you must determine if the resolution of a challenge will be a benefit to your desired direction. If not, then the challenge might not be essential to resolve, except for purposes of ego. Yet, ego is only a false protector that comes into play when we lose our way. Once we have a direction in life, ego can be replaced with self-esteem to allow you a chance to build and move forward.
In the long run your desire for someone else's life will merely bring on someone else's challenges. If you do decide to take on someone else's life, although their current destination might be appealing, their path might not be something that will satisfy your desires. Become your own hero and stop envying the lives of others as, in most cases, they envy your life as well.
As you plan and define your direction, you will find that your life is truly unique. Learn to love yourself and your life and take the time to "turn it into" everything that you desire.
Copyright ©2004 Edward B. Toupin. All rights reserved.
Edward B. Toupin is an author, life-strategy coach, counselor, Reiki Master, technical writer, and PhD Candidate living in Las Vegas, NV.