Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve spent the past few months in St Petersburg in Russia. This is also part of the reason to why I have been so quiet lately (the other reason is that I’ve been focusing on getting my graphic design business up and running full time). I didn’t have more to do than normally while I was away, but this blog and everything around it just felt like a whole different world. My daily life was so different from my life back home and I had to change many of my good habits for the worse. Things like eating vegetarian food, recycling and making my own skin care products were so much more difficult, often downright impossible, that after a few weeks I just stopped caring. And I even started enjoying it. It felt kind of … rebellious. ”Look at me, throwing this PET bottle into the trash can! I’m not recycling and I DON’T CARE! YEAH!”
For me, I guess it was a chance to be lazy and sloppy without any judgment. I had noticed this coming on me already be fore leaving – I was spending less and less time being environmentally conscious, I was getting lazier with making homemade beauty products and I wasn’t writing any blog posts. When I was in Russia, I couldn’t do any of these things, and therefore there wasn’t the pressure that I normally put on myself, which just leads to me being stressed and unhappy, and still not doing a thing about it.
I think this pressure is quite normal for people who are trying to be more environmentally friendly. It’s a pressure we put on ourselves, but it’s also a pressure that is created in the spaces we interact, on blogs, in forums, on meeting likeminded people… I’ve noticed, that on the rare occasions when people ”admit” to having done something that is considered to be bad, they see themselves as extreme failures. They talk about ”sinning”, like they are part of a religion.
Now, after returning home, I feel like I can look at this with new eyes. As a summary, I’d like to share two simple tips with you. I think we’d all be better off trying to remember them.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
You’ve found your way to this blog post, which probably means that you are already doing more than most people. Why not appreachiate the things you do, and stop blaming yourself for the thing you don’t do yet? This is not a religion. You won’t go to hell if you make a less natural choice every now and again. You’re not going to die if you dye your hair with chemical hair dyes once. You’re kids won’t get cancer if they you use one product with parabens in it. The rainforest won’t disappear if you buy one product with palm oil in it. Do what you can, sure, but don’t take on more pressure than you can bear.
Don’t be so hard on others.
Remember that everybody does what they can. Not everybody live in the same conditions and have the same possibilities as you. Accept that others don’t have the time or want to make everything from scratch. Some are new to this whole thing, and want to learn – then teach, but don’t preach. It can be really overwhelming to keep track of what you can and can’t do, which products are safe and from what perspective, keeping both your own body, the environment and conditions of the workers in mind.
Tell people what you do, but also tell them what you don’t do. I think a lot of people are scared to admit that they don’t live perfect lives – I’m sure you have some guilty pleasures as well. But it’s easy to just talk to others about the natural, ”good” choices that you make, and forget to mention the things you don’t do. This in turn leads to others being scared of admitting which aspects they haven’t gotten around to changing and thinking that everybody else is perfect.
Now, let me finish off with a link to my idol over at Crunchy betty. I just read this text today and was on the verge of tears at these true words. Read this, be inspired and remember why there’s a point to making things yourself. Hopefully it can take some of the pressure off. Crunchy Betty: We are Delicious.