“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”
We live in a world of labels. We tend to describe ourselves as being a part of certain groups starting with the nationality, occupation, religion… We also have labels according to our diet and lifestyle.
I don’t see nothing wrong in using those words as a description, it makes the communication easier, instead of me explaining that I do not eat meat and eggs I can say I am lacto-vegetarian. It is just a word, a description. But unfortunately what I see in today’s world is people fighting because of it. Suddenly if you choose to use a certain label you must prove to be 100 % match. I can tell my personal examples. Once I’ve got confronted that I am not a real lithuanian, because I do not live in lithuania anymore. Or that I am not a Christian because I don’t go to church, or that I am not minimalist because I have many pairs of shoes. I am sure we all have been in a situation where someone challenged us because we do not 100% meet the description of the label that we use. The outcome of it is that people become afraid in using those words. It feels almost like competition of who is the most dedicated to that name. Only the total extremists dare to wear the label loudly. We all know that extreme is never positive. Those loud examples of the certain labels create stigma attached to those names. This is how we create the worst stereotypes.
This topic is very broad and can be applied to so many fields in life. But today I would like to talk about the labels that are close to my heart: eco-friendly, zero waste, sustainable living, minimalism.
This is not a trendy lifestyle because of many reasons.
First of all, today’s economy is all about consumption: consuming more and as often as possible. It would be naive to expect this lifestyle to be promoted by the mass media as it is simply not profitable.
People believe in the stereotype that a “zero waster” is a some sort of a creep, who does not shower, wears a green piece t-shirts and lives out of a dumpster diving.
Another possibility is that they see it as an impossible mission. Being 100% sustainable means living off the grid, away from the society. That does not sound attractive, so why even bother trying?!
It all because people don’t understand that zero waste, eco friendly, sustainable living is just an aspiration. You do not need to be perfect to be a part of it. The best thing for the planet Earth would be if people as a race would disappear, that is the optimal sustainability. But this is not what this movement is about. It is about trying our best, opening our mind and searching for the alternatives, that helps us to make better decisions. It’s a learning curve and people need to be more inclusive and do not judge each other for the mistakes. We all are here just trying to be the best selves.
We can start making labels more concrete and describe our selves for example as: 80% vegetarian, 60% minimalist, 70% zero waste, 40% Christian. How does that sound to you? Yes, it sounds more accurate, but is it right? What percentage you were yesterday or you will be tomorrow? What is the actual rule of counting this percentage? Why not just relax and admit that life is fluid and we change everyday. Words are just words and our beliefs change constantly. We cannot take labels too seriously. It’s just a word that describe our aspiration and these aspirations keep on changing. It’s natural. Just be the best you can be today! Be the unique and authentic you!