Well, I should be writing a paper.
I've been writing far too many lately, and it doesn't look like it's letting up any time soon. Which is why we've seen the "Amy dropped off the face of the earth without so much as a later gator" situation lately.
But, this is important.
This is something I've wanted to bring up for a while, so here I am, writing this instead of my analysis of some 19th century poet (which... I also secretly love... but, this is important).
Here's how it is, y'all.
Surrounding each and every movement for good is an atmosphere of shame.
What I mean is this: As is often the case when large and diverse groups of people come together for any reason, it is inevitable that a small group will become the ever-negative "bashers." These are the accusers, the condemners, the ones who say to a genuinely curious newcomer, "Oh, you're interested? Well don't bother sitting with us, you dirty heathen. You're the problem we're fighting against!" This is a pity, because it pushes interested people away from a cause and reinforces fear. Not helpful.
Now, this post is not going to be a rant about bashers (or trolls, or whatever you want to call them), because shaming others for any reason never helps anyone or any cause.
You know what does help?
You know what doesn't help?
You know what's easiest?
The causes I care about involve preservation of the environment, empowering people with my purchases, and protecting animals from harm. I encourage people to make changes in their lives to contribute to these causes when I can - but not by telling them that they need to make an immediate switch to a zero-waste lifestyle, make their own clothes, and adopt 18947 stray cats. I encourage them to do what I did.
Do one thing.
Make one single change. Maybe that one thing is implementing a basic recycling system at home. Maybe it's reducing clothing purchases. Maybe it's shopping at the farmer's market a little more.
Create habits one at a time, allowing them to seep into your lifestyle and become absolute routine. That could mean not doing something (like stress-shopping - a biggie for me), and the process is learning how to replace that gap in your life with other, healthier things.
Sure. I've got a few ideals I'd like to get to. I've got some ideas on how I'd like my life to look. But to try to attain all of those big lifestyle changes right now would be, I think, unwise. As humans, we rebel against change naturally. We have to trick ourselves a bit by easing change into our lives, one bite at a time, until we look backward and realize how different our lives look now compared to a year ago.
Because, you know, it's hard to change. To ask someone to adjust their lives is a big, huge, gigantic request because it siphons off some of their most valuable resources - their time and their thoughts.
That's why I think that anyone who makes any change for the betterment of another being, no matter how "small," should be commended and celebrated.
I give myself a pat on the back, too, each time I change one more thing. Then I move on, choosing my next change and giving myself time to adjust.
I don't really know if this post will be helpful to anyone, but if you've got something you'd like to change, this is how I approach it in my life. It feels so rewarding to align your lifestyle with your beliefs and values, and I would love it if more folks could feel that like-a-glove fit when they look at themselves in the mirror.
So, good job, you. Keep it up. You're doing great, and I can't wait to see who you become and what good you do in this world. If you're looking for an idea, I've got a suggestion or two. Go with your gut.
Do you have something you'd like to change in your life? A cause you'd like to support? I'd love to hear about what moves you to change in the comments below.