The Grass Isn't Always Greener — How To Be Happy On Your Own Lawn

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Originally Published: 
Tom Merton/Getty

If you are anything like me, social media can be a vortex sucking you deep into an emotional hole. I often find myself looking at other people’s lives and wishing. I long for a perfect marriage with perfect kids and an equally perfect home. My life is definitely not perfect! I fight with my husband, my kids have their problems, and my house looks like a tornado blew through it. But even though we aren’t a Norman Rockwell family, I should be more grateful. I have so many blessings in my life. I need to be thankful for all of them.

I recently injured my knee pretty badly and will likely need a major surgery. I am wearing a giant brace that is hot and itchy and uncomfortable. It is my number one bitch at the moment. My mom had finally had enough of my moaning and said, “My God, Colleen! It’s not terminal. Be thankful that you have a knee and aren’t in a wheelchair.” Touché.

She is right. It isn’t terminal. Neither are my son’s behavioral issues, and my husband wasn’t killed when he was shot two years ago. These are all really amazing blessings. But being grateful isn’t about just the big things in life. What about your everyday blessings? You know, the things that we always take for granted. Do you appreciate the fact that you have food to eat? There are so many who struggle to make ends meet and often we look at our refrigerator and say, “I have nothing to eat.” Instead of saying, “I am so grateful that I am able to have so many choices of things to fill my hungry belly.” Do you say thanks for phone calls from friends? I often think, this could have been a text. Flip that and say, “I am so blessed to have friends and family who love me.” It is truly about perspective.

Sometimes you really just have to change a negative into a positive. It can be as simple as that. It’s kind of like the glass half empty, half full analogy. We’ve all heard it and it is pretty true; you’re either one or the other. I am an empty. My husband is a full. Maybe that is why we get along the way that we do?

Even while I am empty, I can still see the positive in my life. It just may take me a few more minutes to get there. Harry Truman once said, “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” That probably rings true for many of us.

A recent report in Psychology Today gives a nod to a positive attitude and gives several suggestions on how we can be more grateful in our day-to-day lives.

Get Yourself a Journal

This is an excellent way to not only express your feelings of gratitude, but to have a physical reminder of your blessings. You can always look back to see what you have encountered along the way.

Live Every Moment to the Fullest

Don’t worry about what happened yesterday or what you have on the calendar tomorrow. Be present. This is especially true with your kids. You hear it all the time, but they really do grow up so fast. Take in every moment you have with them. Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could make someone’s day. Enjoy it!

When It Comes to Others, Quit the Comparisons

This one is a toughie, especially with social media. We see the pics and the quotes and the rest of the perfection and we want their grass because it looks so much greener. Love your own lawn! It may need a little watering from time to time, but it’s pretty darn beautiful. Social media feeds are just the curated moments of someone’s life — of course it looks perfect from the outside.

Become a Volunteer

This is a cool one. If you have the time, give it to those who need it. Sometimes all it takes is looking at situations that may be more difficult than your own to get a little perspective.

Give Yourself a Break

Nope, it isn’t always going to go your way. That’s OK. You are human, give yourself a break! If you need to try again, or maybe it is just time to wave the white flag. Don’t beat yourself up; it’s just not worth it.

Accept Yourself for Who You Are

You are not lazy, you are not stupid, and you are not ugly. You are perfect just the way you are. Learn to love yourself and you will be so much happier. If you’ve got great hair, be thankful you can brush it. Beautiful eyes? Love the fact that they shine. Love you for you.

Remember, You Have Feelings Too

Don’t shy away from how you are feeling. Sometimes we worry so much about other people that we don’t say how we truly feel. It is liberating and cathartic to get your feelings out. Even if they are ugly and hard, don’t bottle them up.

Give Your Loved Ones Time

They are your family and friends; show them how much you care. It can be as simple as a text saying, “I hope you’re having a great day.” You never know when you are perking someone up just by being you.

Don’t Forget About Self Care

Take care of yourself, you deserve it! Self-care is just as important as being there for your significant other, your kids, and your friends. You do you once in a while.

Revel in your life daily. You only get one chance, and it is loaded with good things if you stop to focus on them. Be thankful for them. Life can change on a dime; be happy for what you have and don’t worry about anyone else. Only you know how great you have it. Live it every single day. It’ll put a smile on your face — and in your heart.

This article was originally published on