“I feel kinda guilty. I have a happy family, good friends, a warm bed…and I know there are so many people that go without. I want to change the world but I don’t want to feel guilty everyday. I want to love my life.”
Have you heard this before? Maybe you’ve said these words? Or perhaps you’ve just felt that deep sigh of tiredness that accompanies these thoughts.
I hear these words all the time. And I get it. We want to change the world but we also want to enjoy our lives. And it’s so easy to become overwhelmed with guilt. Especially when when there are so many issues, problems, and heart-breaking stories and your life is going pretty well.
So how do we create lives we love
and change the world?
I have lived through this guilt-cycle many, many…many times. But I don’t want to live mired in guilt and hating my life. I want to love my life and make wonderful, amazing changes in this world at the same time.
To help us all remember how to balance the good life with our good work, I’ve compiled my 6 best tips (so far!) on how to love your life and change the world.
6 Tips for Loving Your Life & Changing the World
- It’s About Ethical Luxury — I love basking in the pleasure of luxury. Beautiful things make my heart sing. But I try to ensure that my luxuries are of the “ethical luxury” variety. I know that I’ll enjoy something more if the land and people who grew, made, delivered or served it were treated fairly in the process. Ethical luxury, darling, ethical luxury.
- Avoid the Quick Sand of Guilt — When I was a kid quick sand seemed like a legit daily threat. Here’s a little secret: the quick sand is real but it’s made of GUILT. I try very hard to avoid falling into my inner quick sand of guilt because it’s unbelievably paralyzing. It zaps my joy, stops my from thinking creatively and robs me of energy. Gross, right?
- Celebrate Your Well-being — Feeling guilty that I’m okay, that I have what I need, that I’m loving my life often translates into a sense that I should have less. Less happiness, less joy, less opportunity, less capacity, just less of everything. Rather than feeling guilty for having my needs met, I celebrate what’s going well for me. Take for example Peace Flag House - it’s my home, we built it and it’s our studio work space - I love my home and Pascal and I celebrate by sharing it with all our guests and visitors. Then I take that celebration and search for ways to bring what I’m celebrating to others people’s lives, like working for affordable housing with Gear Up For Housing.
- Focus on Adding — Beware the highly addictive ‘subtraction mindset’. I am working hard to kick the nasty habit of knocking myself (and others) down for not doing enough, not giving enough, not being enough, in other words subtracting from my efforts and ideas. I’d rather take all that energy and look for ways to add to my life and the lives of others. Whether with a kind word, a donation, or simply my time and attention, I look for the opportunity to add to this world (like joining something like Gear Up For Housing) rather than subtract from it.
- Cultivate Joy – Focusing solely on my problems is exhausting and debilitating. All the world changers that I’ve studied have shown serious creativity, energy and perseverance. And those qualities doesn’t live in drained, tired people. Every week I plan in ways to cultivate my joy – beautiful flowers, long dog walks with Relish (my dog), good, fresh organic meals, candle light, holding hands with Pascal, maybe a bright red manicure. I do all those silly, simple things and know that by cultivating my joy, I am cultivating my most valuable resource – creativity.
- Speaking of which…Tend to Your Creativity – Like all renewable resources creativity needs to be nurtured. Whether you’re a small business, an individual or a non-profit, it is so important to love and regularly invest in you and your team’s creativity. This is why I paint, visit galleries, listen to Yo-Yo Ma, doodle, see Shakespeare live and just generally embrace the world of art both within and around me. Creativity is a precious resource and we need yours now more than ever.
And that’s it! 6 simple little tricks for loving your life and changing the world. Do you have some go-to strategies for balancing the good life with your good work? We’d love to hear them! Send us a note!
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