What does your social media feed look like these days? E-News? Kardashians? Maybe a few “influencers” that make you feel just a little bad about yourself because you don’t have their fancy lives and their skinny thighs? That used to be me. I told myself it was to keep up with fashion trends or just to know pop culture and it did serve that purpose but what good did it do? Not a whole lot.
Changing my habits to be more sustainable has been a very slow process. I guess it started with the simple idea that I should be paying attention. When I started to want to really make changes in my life is when I started to surround myself with reminders of how I should be better. I started to follow people that I wanted to be like. I started to focus on who was in my circle, my bubble.
“Remember the happiest people are not those getting more but those giving more.”
-H. Jackson Brown JR
Being abroad I am well aware that I have created my own little bubble but this isn’t anything new or different. We all do this. What is different is two things.
- The people around me are amazing.
- I am not passively inundated with messages of commercialism.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s around me but because I’m in a different culture than my own, it doesn’t affect me in the same way. If feels like something that is “culturally different”. Even though it definitely isn’t.
An Eye-Opening Experience
I returned to the U.S. this Christmas after being abroad for a year and a half and I was absolutely astounded by the commercialism and how bombarded American’s are just by turning on the tv or driving down the street. The messages were to buy, buy, buy and eat as much as you possibly could because it was the “holidays”. I even heard a commercial on the radio advertising how you could consolidate your debt and the joke was, oh so, we shouldn’t just return all of the stuff we bought for Christmas? No, assured the wife, we don’t need to. If we consolidate then we can pay off the debt in 15 years. Yes, that is right, 15 years.
Now for some of you, this probably feels really normal. You probably don’t even notice it anymore. You might even be saying, “yeah, so what?” Well, the “so what” is that those messages that affect us and not in a positive way. The messages and people that we surround ourselves with make our norm. They cause us to desire certain things, think actions or consequences are okay and in a lot of ways jade us. Those people and messages become our bubble.
So, ask yourself this. Are the messages that you are receiving what you WANT to be part of your bubble? Because guess what? You are in control of this.
Building Your Bubble
- Surround yourself with people who WANT to be better
- Follow accounts on Social Media that align with your goals and aspirations (skinny thighs aside) accounts that teach you something.
- UNFOLLOW accounts that don’t align with you being better. Now, I know this isn’t easy but it’s worth it.
- Have a look through your social media.
- Surround Yourself with PEOPLE that make you better.
- Find a friend who wants to make the change with you! We are all better together!
Really think about the message that is being sent by those influencers that you follow or maybe even some of your friends (the kind that you haven’t spoken to in 15 years). Can you follow them and be your best self? Maybe it’s a fashion influencer and I get that. I mean, looking good makes you feel good. Now, maybe you aren’t ready to stop following them but why not see if you can find someone who loves fashion and promotes sustainability? Check out @jesswithless ,@sustainablychic and @venetiafalconer. on instagram!
Surrounding yourself with actual people can be difficult because, well, you actually have to put some effort into it and making new friends is always hard at first. So, how do you find actual people? Start with people you know. We all have someone in our lives that we admire that we just don’t spend enough time with. Reach out to them! I have found that people who do good in the world whether it be sustainably, saving animals, vegans or vegetarians, WANT to share! Ask them about their expertise!
“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.
-WILFRED A PETERSON
There is a reason that this is called a sustainability “journey”. It takes time. So, be patient with yourself and take one step at a time. Taking the step to surround yourself with people, ideas and inspiration will help the journey feel easier and more enjoyable. As an educator, I know that in order to learn something and really allow it solidify we have to hear it many, many times. So, instead of hearing about other people’s amazing lives why not make your own? What has worked for you to create a more earth-friendly and inspiring “bubble”?