We’ve all done it. We’ve looked at what someone else has and think their life must be that much better than ours. We see another couple smiling at each other in that cute little restaurant while making up the story that he for sure picked and lovingly suggested they go have a quiet romantic dinner after coming home from work early with a bouquet of her favorite flowers and that our husband never does anything romantic like that. It’s what we call looking at someone else’s outsides and comparing them to our insides while making a story up that makes the comparison even more dramatic. Today we’re going to look at the truth in that it’s not better over there where you are looking and desiring what you are making up about what you see.
The actual truth is that no matter what side of the fence you are on there will always be circumstances in your life that feel good and circumstances that feel bad. You can always jump the fence, settle in and then once again realize that someone else’s scenario looks so much better than yours, just knowing that could make you feel worse or give you some comfort, how’s that for confusing? It really isn’t confusing at all when I explain that it is all about how you are looking at the part of life that feels negative. When you deny the “bad” part of life it is like layering pain upon pain preventing you from growing and seeking the available wisdom during this trying time but when you embrace and accept it, that is when you can discern, move through it and start to see the value of this “bad” circumstance. It allows you to use it to grow versus using it to stay stuck, it actually helps you to see the “negative” coming and immediately begin to anticipate the good that will come from it.
When we look at what other people are presenting to us out in public and we compare that to what we are struggling with, our inside story, or the parts others don’t see. We take a snapshot of someone else’s life and compare it to our whole life while usually leaving out all of the parts of our life that are amazing, making us feel even worse, pushing us even deeper into the victim scenario. This is why I say “comparing it to our insides,” because most of us are hiding the parts of our lives that we feel guilt and shame around while presenting to the world our good parts or a presentation of what we think looks good to others.
Today I am going to share a story about a conversation I have had with other couples who I imagined to have a “perfect” marriage and then I’m going to talk about why we compare our worst to what appears to be other people’s best while exaggerating both sides of the fence, and then we’ll talk about how to stop comparing and despairing.
An example of how our brains make up stories
Because I am a marriage and relationship coach I do pay attention to the couple dynamic when I am out and about but from a place of curiosity and imagination of what may be the truth of their relationship, their insides. Then there are also times when I imagine that a couple has a progressive relationship where both are working together to continually bring more desire and growth into their relationship dynamic. No longer do I do this from a place of jealousy and wishing I could be that woman or that I could have that marriage, instead it’s more about wondering what might be behind what I see and knowing that I am using my imagination to imagine what their relationship might be like from the insides and then use that image in my own marriage while doing the work of creating that thing I am dreaming up!
When we are out with other couples I love coming up with questions to keep the conversation different from surface-level topics like the weather, and all of the things wrong with this person or that system. Often I will ask them about their relationship and what they are doing to keep it growing, evolving, changing; if you haven’t caught on, seeking growth in your relationship increases that desire we are all seeking. In ninety percent of the conversations, couples will admit that things aren’t perfect, that they all have their own struggles that they may or may not be addressing. Oh, how I love honesty because the other ten percent that says things are all blissful are lying; remember what I said about the 50/50? Here’s the deal my friends; even those couples that feel like they have an amazing relationship will come out and say that a good relationship is still work, but work that is fulfilling and has them growing more intimately close every year. This is the dynamic I was talking about earlier and it is the place where we go in AwakenYou. We first work on you in your relationship with yourself, learning how to really know yourself, accept yourself and then strengthen your relationship with yourself. Then right along with that work, we do the work of starting to untangle your marital relationship and owning your part in it. The work we do is the work of believing that you have the power to feel amazing in your relationship and that as you create that feeling, you see your marital relationship rebuilding itself in the process.
Why we think the grass is greener over there
The main reason is that we aren’t being responsible, emotional adults in our marriage and we aren’t owning what we perceive to be happening in our marriage. We feel stuck and don’t know what to do so we blame our partner because it’s easier than looking inside and facing what the true problem is. Instead, we find ways to distract ourselves from what isn’t working, we numb ourselves, overanalyze, and take on other people’s feelings. We want things to change but we don’t want to do the work of creating that change, we act confused by what the exact process might be to having that happily ever after marriage. All the while we keep looking outside of ourselves for more reasons as to why our situation is doomed, by looking at other people’s outsides and comparing them to our insides. It’s completely understandable as to why we aren’t being emotional adults, most of us aren’t and most of us were brought up around adults who also were often living outside of the emotional adult realm.
How to let go of the compare and despair
The first thing you have to do is notice what is happening, hence this podcast and the topics I bring to you. You will know that you are living in the described “things are better over there” model by how it feels, if it makes you feel like you could never have that relationship that you desire and that others have it so much better, then you’re comparing and despairing. If you are noticing other couples out of curiosity while being fully present with your partner then it could be that you are exploring what you might like while sharing an adult conversation about what that could look like for you and your partner. It could also mean that you simply choose to create that scenario that you are making up in your head with your partner and see how it goes, see how it feels, see if it’s as enjoyable as you imagined it to be.
Secondly, you have to accept that life is always going to contain the good and the bad, this contrast is how we actually recognize the good from the bad. Once you accept this you get to decide if you want to stay feeling like garbage about it, in victim mode, or if you want to start working on feeling something different.
The third step is to work on knowing yourself, knowing who you are, learn to like who you are at your core, not just that someone you’ve been creating in hopes that others will like you. Once you start taking a hard look at yourself, what your values are, and who you want to be in the world, that is when you can start the work of embracing and loving that true self. As you do this work of defining yourself and the continual work of strengthening that relationship with yourself, you start taking responsibility for how you feel instead of blaming others, you learn how to self-soothe and self-regulate instead of expecting others to take care of that work. This is where you grab that magnifying glass, turn the lights on and start owning your actions and your life. Yes, it hurts a little but it’s the kind of hurt that leads to self-growth instead of the kind of hurt that just keeps pricking you in the background of your life.
Lastly, I highly recommend that every time your brain offers you the idea that life is better over there that you pause and recognize this habit. Then take a moment to correct it and offer it a positive aspect of your own relationship. At first, this might seem a bit difficult if you’ve stopped seeing the good, my free Relationship Abundance course will help you start seeing things differently in your marriage, it will help you re-direct your mind and start creating evidence that your relationship isn’t as bad as you are making it to be. Then you can get to work on those things you don’t like about your relationship. A great question I love asking myself is if this thought is helping or hurting my relationship with my husband, remember the enemy and ally episode where I shared this concept?
If you find yourself comparing your marriage to the snapshots you are seeing out in the world, then I want you to consider this work that I have shared with you because doing what you are doing is only sabotaging your relationship even more. Your current thinking has your brain searching for all of the reasons your relationship is passionless, disconnected, and boring, which only gets you creating more results that prove your thoughts, don’t do that to yourself. Now that you know differently you can start catching it, re-directing it, and then you can begin to look inward. Ask yourself how you are not bringing in those things that YOU want in your relationship. Ask how you are putting yourself in a weak position by expecting your partner to do this work when they may be oblivious to your desires. How are you not being passionate, joyful, loving? Stop waiting for him to do it and be the one that does it, you’ll be surprised at the result you get!
If you want help ending the “it’s better over there” syndrome then I’d love to talk to you about your relationship, what about it has you hurting, and how this work will have you believing that you have the ability to change how you feel in your marital relationship.
I am a life coach who works with individuals to break down relationship barriers by awakening their true selves. My process isn’t about changing your partner, it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage. If you’re ready to take your life and your love relationship to the next level then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s decide together if this is your next step to creating the life you’ve been dreaming of.