Things I wish I knew before starting my sustainability journey – Part 2
At the beginning of my exploration of topics such as veganism, zero waste or a sustainable lifestyle, I think I would have liked to stumble upon a post like this one. Because there are a lot of things that no one told me in advance. And when the time came, I felt feelings of guilt, shame, failure or fear. So: No matter whether you are still at the beginning of your sustainability journey or are already in the middle of it - I have something to tell you! 🧡
This is the second part of the article. You can access the first part here .
1. At the end of the day, terms are just words
Expressions and terms like “minimalist”, “zero-wastler” or “vegan” often seem final, huge and hardly achievable. Remember that the meanings of these words are more of a guide than absolute rules. If you make a mistake or don't behave “perfectly,” that doesn't mean that you've failed or that you can no longer identify with one of these terms.
“Drawers” and labels can be helpful. Because they give an idea of what you stand for or what is important to you. But they can also be annoying. For example, if you resonate with some of the content that the term stands for, but not all of it. You can of course decide for yourself whether you want to “label” yourself with one of the terms just mentioned or not.
But please don’t see these terms as absolute. Otherwise it can happen that you are chasing a “perfectionism” that cannot be achieved in this way. It's better if you see the content of these labels more as goals. Because then you have something to work towards, but you don't expect yourself to have to do everything 100% perfectly from today onwards.
2. You don't have to give up everything you love
Never again pizza with cheese? Get rid of all those cute plastic desk utensils? No more overseas vacations? These and similar questions pop into your head very quickly when you hear about terms like veganism, plastic-free or sustainability for the first time.
I have good news: you don't have to give up anything. Changing your lifestyle towards more sustainability should feel good to you, not like a sacrifice. You can approach everything step by step or consciously make some things “unsustainable” because they just can’t be implemented for you. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't think about yourself and your habits from time to time. But simply that you can decide for yourself what you want to do and what you don't want to do. That brings us back to point 3 of the first part of this article: Your journey is your journey alone .
Especially in the “zero waste” area, you quickly have the feeling at the beginning that you are no longer allowed to consume anything. But hey, if you love books and an e-reader just isn't for you, then you're welcome to keep buying books. And please do so without feeling guilty. You can look at what other areas of your life you might be able to reduce or change.
The same applies if, for example, you are an artist and therefore have many different materials. Or let's say you love music and couldn't possibly give up your record collection. All of this is completely fine! In fact, it's better for you to continue pursuing the things that bring you joy. Because if you give up all of these things “for the sake of the environment” but then become an unhappy and unmotivated person because you miss these activities and things, then in the long run it won’t do anyone any good.
Power & Opportunities
Another thing that I also have to keep reminding myself of is this: Of course, each of us has a certain responsibility, and each can make his/her own contribution to the health of our home planet. But not EVERYTHING is in our hands: companies and politicians also bear responsibility. It is also up to them to provide us with greener alternatives and sustainable options. Unfortunately, in many things we as end consumers still have the short end of the stick.
Long story short: Keep the things you love and that are important to you close to you. Only give up the things that feel feasible for you or that you could also feel comfortable with (more sustainable) alternatives.
If you do it, you do it well! :)
If you would like to learn more about sustainability, healthy eating, mindfulness or family and pregnancy, check out more exciting blog articles on these topics here .