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Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side?

By Dr. Shadee Elmasry


Beware of this line of thinking...

“The grass is always greener on the other side.”


Discontent with what you have and desperately seeking something else. Sometimes it’s valid and necessary, such as cases of abuse, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about normal cases of unjustified discontent.


The problem with “grass is greener” is that this person’s internal mechanism of finding satisfaction is likely broken and needs fixing. Therefore, if they were to swap the hated thing for the desired thing, they would soon become discontented with that too.


They are not attracted to the greener grass. Rather, they *perceive* what they don’t have to be greener, and what they do have as bland. It’s like a vision problem.


Maybe this is one of Shaytan’s plays on human beings to “make bad actions look beautiful.” By making the grass greener on the other side, it puts the person in a perpetual state of misery because there will *always* be an other side. Their happiness has been reduced to the very short and rare chance that they actually acquire what’s on the “other side.” But give it a short time, and they will begin hating their life again and desiring something else.


Contentment is a miraculous thing in the sense that it’s purely from Allah. There’s not always logic to it. For example in marriage, Allah says, “From His signs is that He placed love and mercy.” He described it as a “sign” from Him, meaning that it’s not something you can wrap your head around, or find some trick or technique to obtain it.


That actually makes it easier for us: all we must do is ask Him for it. Once you start moving your lips in dua for contentment, you gain momentum over time, and before you know it, it has settled in your heart.


The Prophet’s dua for contentment is:

Allahumma qanni’nee bima razaqtani. Wa barik li feeh. Wakhluf ‘alayya kulla gha’ibatin li bi khayr.


O Allah make me content with what You have given me. And bless it. And in place of what I have lost, grant me something better.

اللَّهُمَ قَنِّعْنِي بِمَا رَزَقْتَنِي، وَبَارِكْ لي فِيهِ، وَاخْلُفْ عَلَيَّ كُلَّ غَائِبَةٍ لِي بِخَيْرٍ

Narrated by Haakim