I have and will never understand why we need to be either A or B. Why do we need to be it all or nothing? Where does this black and white thinking come from? Where does this aim for perfection and completion come from. When does human kind finally understand that the one and only key to happiness is BALANCE. And that this too is the only true way to holistic sustainability.
Do you know what the true definition of sustainability is? Sustainability means long term, it means lasting, longevity. Sustainable simply means that it is made to stay. So, I don’t understand why we get the idea we need to be perfect when it comes to being sustainable and good to our planet. I don’t understand why people feel guilty for not being perfect and for being human.
Human kind is a threat in itself to our environment. So while it is important and mandatory that we do our best to reduce our ecological footprint we also, for the sake of our well and for the sake of the longevity of our lifestyle we need to understand that we cannot and will not ever be 100% eco-friendly.
I have the impression people fall in two camps here, either those who become slaves to their values, who go completely eco-friendly, who share only that part of their lives and who feel bad about themselves, maybe even beat themselves up when they have to fly one time a year, when they love a product so much they simply can’t find and adequate substitute for and when they start to feel guilty for sharing the parts of their lives where they might not be 100% eco-friendly.
And then there are those people who think the exact opposite, who think there’s no point in changing one’s lifestyle because we can’t have an impact anyway. They know that they can never go 100% eco-friendly and that is why they don’t even try. They give up on this quest before they even started to try to find a balance.
Either of both lifestyles is neither sustainable nor healthy. Don’t get me wrong, we need those of the first camp to create that awareness and to spread the word and to show people that radical changes are necessary and to be made by all of us. But it is important for everyone from the second camp to understand that just because there are people out there who make radical life changes and who aim to be perfect within this area of their lives, it doesn’t mean that this is the only and true way of contributing to sustaining our planet.
We all as a collective need to understand that sustainability and environmental friendly living is a matter of finding the balance. We need to understand that while it is important to always ask ourselves whether or not it is truly necessary to make this purchase, take this trip, use this packaging and so on, it is okay too, to decide we do. We all have our own perfect way of being sustainable and there will be always someone saying but you should do this and that and our sustainable way of living will always be not enough for someone out there. But guys this is only a perspective too.
In order to make lasting change in this world each one of us needs to find their perfect environmental friendly lifestyle. For some giving up traveling is the thing to do, for others it is turning vegan and for another it is maybe living in a tiny house and little material things. We need to understand that each one of us needs to start from where they are and then work their way through to a more environmental friendly way of living. And it starts with finding out what your sacrifice could be. What do you know is not good for our planet that you are able and willing to give up?
And then make this change lasting. It might take a while and it is okay to fall of track in the beginning. Lasting change is an on going journey and a decision we need to make every single day.
Then work your way up, learn about what other things you could give up that make you feel good. Find your balance. Find out what it is that you can avoid and change and create awareness around the things you would like to keep. Try to find substitutes for those as well, substitutes that work for you, that make it able for you to sustain this change for long. And if you cannot find an adequate substitute and you have tried everything, try to reduce it to a minimum. Contemplate how many times you need to use this thing: once a week, once every month, once every year.
Challenge yourself here, aim for what feels slightly uncomfortable but manageable and work your way towards reducing it more and more.
And then finally once you have arrived at a point of balance where you constantly seek new ways of being better for our planet and constantly push beyond your comfort zone of what you feel you can and cannot give up, then it is time to introduce gratitude and kindness towards yourself. Allow yourself to have those guilty pleasures. Don’t feel and about them and don’t judge anyone for having them. Consider whether or not that person is doing their best to contribute to the health of our planet and either educate them or know that this might be the one thing they ca not give up. You are allowed to live, you don’t need to be a slave to your value and responsibility to take care of the planet. There is the ability to create a balance and only this balance will in the long term make it able for you to sustain this lifestyle and to do good for the planet in the long term.
Don’t ever get the impression you can’t do anything or it is pointless because you will never be perfect. The goal is not to be perfect but to find a balance. And for those having already established a wonderful sustainable way of living, be kind to yourself and to others who are still trying to find their way. We are all giving our best and we are all paying our dept. and we all use our free pass.
I hope this post gave you some food for thought and you might reconsider your approach about sustainability and environmental friendly living. And also the way you encourage and talk to other people about it.
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And if you want some guidance and mentoring on making lifestyle changes to more sustainability or just life changes in general but don’t know how to make them or can’t stay accountable, reach out and let’s talk.
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