Personal transformation

Love and empathy: 2 central feelings for sustainable living

You may wonder what love and empathy have to do with sustainability. More than ever, we see them as success factors for a sustainable, regenerative future.

What is meant by love in this context?

By love, we do not mean the specific romantic love for one’s partner, but a general positive, affectionate feeling towards other living beings (humans, animals and plants) and perhaps even towards nature in general, such as rivers, mountains, etc. But let’s stay with living beings for this consideration.

We have spent a lot of time in seminars, coachings, trainings, etc. and in our everyday lives fostering our own personal development by reflecting on beliefs, actions, goals, ways of thinking, relationships, etc. We have also spent a lot of time thinking about our own personal development. Various books, podcasts and conversations with others on similar development paths have inspired us along the way. A foundation of all these different approaches is that we need to love and accept ourselves in order to be able to truly love and accept any other being.

Another important key factor for changing one’s life is the feeling that everything is connected. We have always liked trees and saw it as a positive thing to be “treehuggers” – even though some people might find that silly. After all we have learned in the last years, we see hugging trees as one of the easiest ways to feel this connection with nature. If you take the time to become still next to an old tree, you can perceive its power with all your senses.

Positive effects of love and empathy

If we allow ourselves to love ourselves, to be empathetic towards ourselves and then to behave and feel this way towards every other being, this has several positive effects. It promotes appreciation towards oneself, fellow human beings, other living beings, the environment, food and all objects.

  • When you feel connected to yourself, you no longer want to hurt yourself (which you often did unconsciously before) and you recognise more easily what is good for you. Ultimately, you behave in a way that is better for your true self and for your environment. This will give you motivation to maintain or improve it. You will prefer to eat healthy, use your muscles more (e.g. ride a bike instead of sitting in a car), do a job that you enjoy and that gives you a sense of purpose, spend your free time in nature and with dear people, help others, change from stress to joy and lightness in life. Those who accept themselves in this way and love life are interested in making life sustainable and worth living.
  • When you feel your true self, you will also realise that your true value is not related to your job, possessions, money, looks, etc. We own more and more in shorter and shorter cycles. There are many alternatives to buying new, such as voluntary reduction, borrowing, renting, repairing yourself or having it repaired, swapping, sharing, buying second-hand, which is also good for the environment.
  • A person with high self-esteem more often has an appreciative attitude towards his fellow human beings and is more likely to be appreciated by others. You are more empathetic and patient with other people who, for example, because of their habits, do not act as sustainably as you would like, and you can really empathise with them without blaming them. It can work wonders when people feel understood. This is the breeding ground for the willingness, interest and joy of pulling together to find healthier and more sustainable ways for the benefit of all. And if there really is an obstacle in the way – it is worth trying to change the system.
Stone with the inscription Self-Love

  • The well-being of all is only possible in an intact environment and that is why love and empathy towards nature, the animal and plant world are so important. It is well known under what circumstances and with what negative effects the majority of animal foods, but also many plant foods, are produced. Since you feel connected to other living beings, you do not want to hurt them or at least reduce the harm as much as possible. You may care more about how the animals whose products you consume are raised, or you may decide to reduce (or eliminate) your consumption of animal products.
  • Communication is the key. With love and empathy we can more easily resort to (e.g.) non-violent communication (Marshall B. Rosenberg) and find solutions (no compromises!) for even the most difficult situations. For example, put yourself in the position of a manager of a big oil company: would you rather try to change something about your work or the way your company works if someone really listened to you and tried to understand your arguments, or if someone said you were the devil incarnate because you pollute the world? We have often enough blamed other people for doing “unsustainable” things, so we don’t take ourselves out of responsibility at all. But we think it might be worth changing our way of communicating as people committed to social and/or environmental causes to a more empathetic and open-minded style.
  • The origin of all good is within ourselves and so through awareness we can come to more love and empathy. By awareness we mean looking inwards and being clear about our own needs. Because to make personal progress, to save our society and our world, we need to look inwards. So instead of fighting things, situations and people, direct your energy towards the positive changes and outcomes you want to see.
  • We are happy to accompany you on this path. The introduction to the self-awareness process according to Byron Katie can be just as helpful as the inner team by Schulz von Thun, etc. You can find more about this in our coaching methods. Be for more harmony, love, empathy, sustainability, energy, cooperation, well-being, justice, connections, … and feel and act accordingly.
Hiking in the mountains of Austria
Bicycle tour in Berlin’s urban green

Spending time in nature can inspire you and make you aware of how everything is connected. Whatever the season or the weather, just go out and feel it for yourself.

That is why we try to be as close to nature as possible, and we act as we have just described in our work and in all other areas of our lives. We hope that we can inspire you with such examples.

Source of cover image: Image by Ben Kerckx on Pixabay

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