One of the hardest things about having Connectedness as a strength is being married to someone who doesn’t see the lines that connect us to our world. It’s not that Frank is insensitive or doesn’t care; it’s that it’s not as intuitive for him. When I get fired up about a cause, he’ll listen but it takes a lot more for him to commit to a new way of living.
I have a friend who lives out her ideals. Her clothing is vegan and fair-trade; her food is thoughtfully chosen; she drive an old, gas efficient car, though bikes most places. She is outspoken about social justice causes and often reminds me of a different point of view. Her energy for living her causes fully is inspiring, and exhausting.
I know I can get overwhelmed with information and causes. I have to be guarded as I take in information and process what I’ve learned. Some of this is because it really is impossible, as someone who lives in America where anything I want or need is at my fingertips, to fully research and track every purchase I make. It’s not financially feasible nor is it emotionally feasible.
Just like I’m learning to be picky about what I read, I’m learning to be picky about how I connect with the world.
When I was pregnant with Bea, I researched the best organic, fair trade baby items. I registered for these pricy blankets and onesies and received thoughtful items from Target. It only took a month or so into motherhood to see how disposable children’s clothing is. Spills, stains, and growth spurts are our reality. It’s not that I ever threw away clothes, but I realized that spending $50 on a cute dress to be worn a handful of times just didn’t make sense.
Even now, Bea wears her clothes out. Her leggings have holes and her dresses are paint stained. We are in a phase of being rough on clothing. And I’m learning that this is part of life. I need to balance how I view the purchases of these things.
It’s similar with our food purchases. Some things are non-negotiable. Others, we just don’t have the capacity to worry about everything.
The connected perfectionist in me has a hard time letting go. I want to be like my friend, to champion every cause! I’m also connected enough to know that while my non-negotiable items may not be the same for others, their non-negotiable aren’t the same for me. Maybe, in this game of baby steps, we kind of balance each other when we all choose a particular cause.
I think the key, though, is to be aware of something. Maybe organic food just isn’t your thing or your wardrobe is mostly bought on sale at Target. Maybe your cause is buying a side of beef from a cow you’ve seen raised or eating vegetarian as a response to factory farming. Maybe you make your own clothes or buy locally. Whatever the cause, I think it’s important to have one area of consciousness. One place where you put your money where your values lie.
Maybe one day, we’ll all have the resources and energy to champion all the causes. Until then, I like to think that we’re in this together, each playing our own small part.
What’s your non-negotiable cause? Where do you vote with your dollars?
This post is Day 19 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page.