Friday, 16 March 2007

Reactions to simple living

Live simply so that others may simply live.

I saw this on a mug the other day and thought it summed up what living simply and reducing our "footprint" really means. What we do and consume effects others around the world in so many ways.

So, why, when living simply really doesn't do anybody any harm and hopefully will do people now and in the future some good does it provoke such defensive reactions?

I am not living in a remote location or being self sufficient I am just living in a standard house like millions of other people. The way I try to live more simply is to consume less, to consume carefully and consciously, to own less, to be careful with energy use and to grow some of our own food. This seems to unsettle people.

When the conversation turns to holidays, people feel the need to justify their flights and how much they deserve their break, when its about cooking they explain how busy they are and how they are so tired by Friday that they go out or have a takeaway. I don't try to impose my ideas on others so why do they feel the need to keep justifying thamselves? Why is it threatening if I don't live as they do?

I would like to say that I thoughtfully explain why I think it important to live as I do but I have to admit I don't. I find it easier to stay quiet and say nothing - can seem a bit lonely though.


littlejennywren said...

Perhaps the way you live your life is seen by others as a criticism of the way they choose to live theirs. Anyone who dares to live more mindfully can be seen as subversive. Perhaps your example stirs uncomfortable guilt feelings within them that they don't want to deal with because then they might have to join the subversives.
Walking a different path is never going to win popularity contests but you have to do what you believe to be right. I'm sure some of neighbours think we are mad and are confused by the fact that we don't enter into the home renovation and extension competition or the upgrade your car every 12 months contest. We look like losers but we seem quite happy, we are not playing the game.
Don't feel lonely, there must be others around who are on the same journey. The internet helps us find like minded people but face to face friendships are more important I think. Perhaps there is someone at a local gardening club. Waldorf/Steiner school parents seem to quite subversive. Good luck.

turnip said...

I think what is often the case is that people actually aren't happy with the choices they have made and feel threatened by those who chose a different path. No matter how non-judgemental and gentle you can be, a lot of people simply view us being different as a threat to their way of life. It sometimes forces them to look more in depth into their own life which can be scary for some people. Its unfortunate but it happens.