Some people set themselves high standards and feel they should be achieving more and doing better than they are. This may be in regard to their paid employment, parenting, community involvement, environmental concerns or even their hobbies. Whilst it can be helpful to have standards and do the best you can, you can burn yourself out.
Yesterday I went to a talk at the Sustainable Living Festival which was held a few streets away. The message of the talk wasn't that everyone needs to put more effort into doing the 'right' thing environmentally, but, 'Cut yourself some slack'.
I guess it was assumed that if you were sitting on a hay bale in the open sided shed listening to a talk at a Sustainable Living Festival on a Sunday afternoon, you care about the environment. I guess it was assumed that you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint and you recycle.
As one who tries to do my bit for the environment I found the talk inspiring and comforting. For example, I do stress about recycling and get confused at times. When I am unsure if an item can be recycled I worry about the best thing to do. Do I pop it in the recycling bin anyway for someone else to work out or put it in the general garbage bin?
After reading about a family who managed to reduce the non recyclable garbage they generated to one bin for a whole year, I berated myself for the amount of rubbish my household produces annually. The list of things I stress about in regard to environmental issues goes on but the message I heard was about doing the best you can and not stressing.
The main points I picked up were -
be kind to yourself
do what works for you
don't stress yourself out when trying to help the environment
work at reducing consumption of goods without feeling deprived
make a list of things you want to change and pick just one to work on at a time
if you feel what you are doing works for you, don't feel you have to change
In various ways the speaker told the audience to forget the judgement of others and self and take the pressure off.
Although this talk was in regard to environmental concerns, the basic ideas work in relation to other aspects of life. The speaker summed up by saying, 'I think balance is the answer, not extremism.'
This is so true. I think if every one on the planet moved a little more in the direction you have made part of your life, the improvement we'd see in the environment would be noticeable and bring with it a plethora of other improvements. Thank you for your article.
Thanks for your lovely comment, Justine. I am really glad I heard this speaker as what she said has stayed with me. Now if I don't 'do the right thing' on some occasions, I don't stress out but 'cut myself some slack'.