Why is this?
Change can be easier when the problem is lack of knowledge or a lack of resources because then we know what to do: learn more or earn more. But when I know what to do and am able to do it, but just can get it done, the question may be emotional in nature, and that's not really susceptible to easy solution.
I've found that deploying the "Emotional Intelligence" techniques can help:
- Reduce stress. It is not helpful to stress out over saving the planet. I am not a bad, bad person if I forget to recycle a piece of paper; I may be a bit of a dumbsh1t, but mostly I just missed a chance to score a few points in the game of life. There will be other chances coming soon and I'll spot them better if I'm not worrying.
- Recognize and manage emotions. Feelings are not always convenient, but they can't be ignored. For example, when I cut back on unnecessary servings of meat or prepared foods, sometimes it reminds me of the bad old days when I was poor. I associate certain savings with poverty and so avoid them. OK, this is irrational but so what? You can't wish feelings away; you have to take steps. "I am prosperous. I am not cutting back here because I am poor; I am choosing to save because it's what I choose to do. It is a sign of my power!" This may sound all New-Age-y and whoo-whoo, but if it works, why not?
- Connect with others using nonverbal communication. Smiles are cheap and effective. When someone recycles, turns off an unnecessary light, or chooses to walk rather than to drive, smile! You can make a bigger thing of it if you want, but at the very least, make your body language as green as your intentions so that people feel happy doing what you are hoping they'll do.
- Use humor and play to deal with challenges. Mary Poppins was right!
Fun works! Making environmentally responsible actions into a game or a challenge means you're more likely actually to do them.
- Resolve conflicts positively and with confidence. It's really easy for me to try hectoring people, including myself, into virtuous behavior; it's also very annoying and not very helpful. It's not even helpful to hector myself into not hectoring myself! Instead, I'm looking ahead to the goal and feeling good about moving toward it stronger - now I find myself doing it!
Wish me luck!
I got thinking about the above as I pondered this week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge:
I like this challenge, because it's lead me to consider what is probably my biggest roadblock: myself. Fortunately, it's the roadblock over which I have the most control as well!
This week, please share road blocks to green living. For example, perhaps you'd really like to compost but don't. We'd like to know why. Maybe you don't recycle ... let us know why. We're looking for all the reasons for NOT adopting a green activity. If you're not struggling with any road blocks at this time, then please share ones which you've heard from others. For example, one of the most common reasons is that it's too expensive.
Take a look at the road blocks shared and offer solutions. For example, to people who say green living is too expensive, we might share examples of how green living is actually frugal. The idea of this challenge is to help us all find solutions and "bust" all excuses for not living green.
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!