For probably most of my life I’ve felt like I didn’t quite fit it, like the odd one in a group of “normal” people (see “On feeling like the odd one out” post). And with that came a whole bunch of do’s and don’ts and should’s and must not’s. Like: don’t tell people you’re a veggie who doesn’t drink; don’t say that you’re a scientist who has a spiritual side too; don’t let people hear you get all excited about trees and clouds and the little holes between tree roots; laugh at people’s jokes and don’t make ones they won’t get; don’t talk about life and death with people you’ve just met… Basically: don’t be weird!
But recently, when I started to get more into the plastic-free/zero waste idea, things started to shift. I was walking around with a travel mug, I had a refillable steel bottle, I was eating finger food with no plates, I had a glass jar with solid deodorant… And it hit me: basically, I was being totally weird. A tree hugger, one of those nuts people who think they can change the world (well, sort of a little bit anyway). And: I was fine with this. Because this is who I am. I do get excited about the beauty of this planet, I do care about reducing my foot print, and I do want to make a difference – and now also: I don’t care anymore whether I have someone else’s approval for it or not.
What happened from there (though it’s been happening slowly for a while) was that I let go of a whole lot of these should’s.
I let go of striving to do things 100% and instead allowed myself to listen to my body’s and my heart’s needs, for example: while I mostly eat vegan, sometimes I just want some cheese – and I won’t beat myself up about it or make myself feel deprived or like I’ve somehow failed at some strange competition of not eating cheese (which would be a very weird thing in itself 😛 ), but instead I’ll savour the moment, and try to practise mindfulness in it.
I let go should’s around my spirituality: was I praying enough, or reading the Writings enough? I don’t know, but I’m trying to listen to my inner guide and find what will work for me right now in a sustaining and sustainable way.
In terms of exercise, I let go of rigid rules about how long and I how much I should work out, and instead started seeing movement as a gift to my body that I could enjoy in a self-compassionate and nurturing way (another post coming soon on that topic).
And yeah, I’m still weird, I still get excited about crazy things, I’m still the odd one out in a lot of places who doesn’t drink and who has a glass jar and cloth bags in her backpack. But that’s ok. I’m not trying to pretend I’m someone else, and I’ve learned that first and foremost I need to stand behind my choices, I don’t need to justify them to anybody else.
And I’m very happy to have friends who accept me for who I am, with all my weird tree-hugging, somewhat spiritual, overly-excitable-about-stars-and-the-Universe kind of personality.
Sure, I’ll continue to make mistakes, and sure I might change my views on things – but for now, I’m happy with following my values in a way that is “good enough” for me. Not perfect, just “good enough”…
And I’m excited where else this journey will take me 🙂