We all live according to our own sets of beliefs. We want to picture ourselves as a certain someone. We stop eating meat, we reconsider our purchases, we abolish cars and adopt dogs to make as much of a positive impact as possible. At least, that’s what you’d like others to think about you. But who are you really making all these sacrifices for?
When you try to break free from these boxes of vegetarian, considerate shopper, cyclist, humanist etc., who are you? What fills you with joy, enthusiasm and excitement? What are the things you do even if you receive nothing in return, other than a great feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction?
When you stop and sit, maybe you will be able to write a long list of tons of activities you do purely to feel good. You might not be able to think of a single one. Who knows. Who cares? Well, you should. Instead of doing what is expected of you by your friends, family or society, now is the time to start changing the mindset and realising what makes you truly happy.
“Be yourself and others will appreciate and worship you much more.“
All of us sometimes need a little nudge to start thinking differently. For example, making a change in your consumption is not about what but how you consume. As Sinek describes in his TED talk, start with the why. Although he was speaking in a corporate context, his words can be translated into all sorts of situations. Once we define our way, we can start satisfying what and how. But it is always easier if we have someone who sets the tone, the inspiration behind the successful move.
Such was the case of Kamila Boudova, the author of the Fake Parisian, who inspired me to rethink my lifestyle by eliminating my wardrobe and learning how to live with less. Kamila and I share a similar set of values and experiences. After dreaming about working in fashion and being powerful, the SLOU founder and a sustainable fashion educator spent her life living in London, China and Paris (just like me!). And she planned her career in high-end fashion (just like me!). But she also decided to be radical and cut down her wardrobe (unlike me!). She is a role model who made me realise why to stop being under the influence of others and stop doing what you think is expected of you. Be yourself and others will appreciate and worship you much more.
After reading the Fake Parisian, I started thinking about my ‘why’. This did not take long as after watching the True Cost and researching the Rana Plaza accident, I was fully aware of how most of the items in my wardrobe were made. This built a strong foundation for why to stop buying fast fashion. But until recently, I had been lacking the real-world example to show me how to dress sustainably. I did not have a person around me with whom I could talk about the injustice and harm caused to the garment workers and who to go thrift shopping with. But today, I have Kamila! No, I have not met her. Yes, I have composed an email sharing my tips on where to find compost in Paris (I completely understand the struggle throwing out potato peels) and how much it would mean to me to meet her (fingers crossed). Sharing the organic-waste-advice is my way of saying thank you. Thanks, Kamila, for showing me a way how to scrap all the unnecessary items in life and how to find joy in giving away and reusing old stuff. I will try my best to be as sustainable as I can.
“Search for a role model to show you how to find your passion and follow it.“
Clothing is where this process starts but it is far from the end. Experimenting with vegetarianism (and still being a failing pescatarian), I know that changes do not come around quickly. But it is these significant moments, such as reading a (Czech!!!) book which provides an impulse to take the step, that makes a difference. But do not rush, take it SLOU, do not be afraid to try and find your purpose and then work on identifying the little steps which help you achieve your final goal.
And so, search for a role model to show you how to find your passion and follow it. Make sure to define where exactly it lies and do explore it. In return, you will gain a deep sense of satisfaction, incomparable to anything you would ever get from doing what is expected of you. Learn to love the way you live and have a happy life!