They say your worst critic is always yourself, and I am no exception. I can find millions of reasons to beat myself up over almost anything. If I could be like Neo from The Matrix and learn something in a few hours I would! So it pains me to have to wait, learn and grow to live my best life with less waste. From one perfectionist to another, here are some tips to keep your cool and remind yourself you are human.
Everyone has off days
The situation: Yesterday I was sick, slowing down enough to heal is not something I enjoy doing. Sure I can go for having a lazy day off to sleep all day when I’m healthy, but as soon as I’m sick I am too busy to possibly do such a thing. I failed to properly prepare and didn’t have any soup in the house so I was forced to go get some. I went through a drive thru, and got a plastic cup of soup. Could I have taken a bowl with me and asked them to fill it? Sure, but I was not in a mental state to have that conversation.
The Fix: Everyone has these days, the trick is to get right back to it the next day. I heard someone once say, if you get a flat tire you don’t slash the other tires and call it a day. You repair it and move on. Just do YOUR best, that is all anyone can ask of you. Your past efforts are not thrown away because of this one action, so don’t beat yourself up.
Zero Waste NOW
The Situation: When I decide I want to do something my patience disappears. I want to flip a switch and make it happen. But living a less waste life doesn’t work that way and most things in life don’t. You want to lose weight? You have to work at diet and fitness. Want to learn a new language? Take lessons and put it into practice so it becomes second-nature.
The Fix: Remember this takes time, the only way you will be successful is to be patient. Enjoy the small successes along the way, the big picture will form as you go. The best things are worth the time and energy.
The Situation: It can be easy to want your life to look picture perfect with all the fancy bamboo, silicon and metal materials dumping all current plastic use. What you typically see when browsing Pinterest or Instagram when looking for zero waste tips.
The Fix: Research and learn a little before making drastic changes. This will help you to not waste money on something new you might be able to get used or help you learn where it is safe for you to use those plastic items. I don’t like using my plastic measuring cups for my food but now I use them for cleaning materials. If it helps, put it in a box and wait. If you need it later you can pull it out to use. The last thing you want to do is find out you need to re-buy something you gave away, it really defeats the purpose.
The Situation: Sometimes it feels like your less waste efforts are not enough, that the whole world is weighing on your shoulders. You can’t turn off your brain and it never seems enough to really make a difference in the big picture to help the planet.
The Fix: Any steps you take to be eco friendly are better than nothing. Try and remember that you are not alone and find others like you to share your experiences and efforts. You can also look to reach out to larger corporations to make suggestions for better practices through letters and emails to have your voice heard. If you are living within your values, you are making the right choice for you.
Be Kind to Yourself
No one is perfect, we’re all trying to live our best lives and be happy. So try to remember that perfection doesn’t equal happiness or peace of mind. Treat yourself the way you would a friend, be understanding, patient and kind.