Green is not a dirty word! How to deal with negativity towards your lifestyle choices.
Have you tried to make changes to live in a more eco-friendly manner, and been met with eye-rolling, opposition, or even hostility? Been called a ‘hippy’ or ‘tree-hugger’ or ‘conspiracy theorist’ perhaps?
Maybe it has happened to you in another circumstance, when you were trying to better yourself or do something different to the accepted norm around you.
This negativity commonly happens to anyone who is making a change for the better. It is frustrating and I know it can be so discouraging that you want to give up. Here I want to offer you some support, so you know you’re not alone and you have the strength to keep going despite the reactions of others. This is how I deal with it, as I have now had a bit of practice!
First it helps me to step away from the nay-sayer. If I feel myself getting defensive or angry, it’s best to walk away so I can be calm and think clearly. Mostly I can laugh it off and walk away now, as arguing isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. Sometimes I can’t though, and it really is best to remove myself from the situation and deal with my reaction.
Secondly, it helps me to remember why others react in a negative way. Usually, it’s because you are challenging their way of doing things, “the way it’s always been done”. I truly hate this concept, but until you know for yourself how damaging it is, it’s a pretty standard belief. Challenging the status quo means showing up where others are not questioning life for themselves, and perhaps not being responsible for their actions. And this brings out defensive behaviour directed at you, as you are daring to step up.
Once I remember this I can feel compassion for where they are at, and I can forget about being right or trying to change their minds. Putting pressure on them and forcing them to see what I see and change because I am changing, is not going to inspire anyone. It is only going to make them run in the opposite direction! Stepping up to more conscious living is my decision, and I can only change myself.
After that, I just go ahead with my change and let them be wherever they are at. Being a model of living in a different way requires confidence in yourself, not approval from others. And as the pressure is off others to change too, and you are demonstrating that it’s not really hard to make a change, often they are inspired anyway.
What if it doesn’t work?
And if your change doesn’t work out, or you’re laughed at, or yelled at, or thought of as a crazy person? (all has happened to me) It’s really ok. It can hurt a bit at the time, but it’s not the end of the world. It is normal actually, for people who dare to be different. I have learned to care less and less about what others think of me, and I wouldn’t trade that for all the popularity in the world.
As the Dalai Lama says:
“Never give up, not matter what is going on around you.”
Words like this inspire me to keep going. And the more I do, the less criticism I receive. The more I do, the more people I inspire. The more I do, the more confident I get. The more I do, the more changes get made.
You can do it too. I believe in you, and others are also waiting for you to step up. You will inspire others in one way, and you might just give them the strength to make a change that then inspires you too. Go for it!
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