I share a lot of my life openly online through pictures and random status updates. And when I say openly, I mean I don’t always sugar coat life or make sure my personal Instagram is only filled with the perfectly concocted highlight reel. I share the awesome photos, the ones that are so-so but hold a lot of meaning, and every now and then the ones that really shouldn’t be shared. They’re not perfect, but they are an extension of me and my life and that’s why I share them. Unfortunately, this sometimes opens me up to unwanted advice and criticism from others. In fact, that’s exactly what has inspired today’s post.

I’m not going to share the exact incident or comment that brought me to write this post today for two reasons. The first is that it’s not the first time I’ve gotten a comment with unwarranted advice and the second reason is that it has less to do with the actual comment and more to do with life.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve been working on changing things in various aspects of my life. There are certain products I avoid and certain foods that I’ve tried in an attempt to live a simpler, healthier lifestyle. I have never once said that I’m only using natural products or only eating whole foods. What I have said is that I’m working towards better choices. I’m not perfect and my choices sometimes fall into the “bad” category. I’m perfectly okay with that. I’m trying and that’s what matters.

Let’s put things into perspective. Many of us grew up in a time when nutrition and environmental awareness wasn’t a focus. In fact, I can remember “environmental awareness” consisting of a lesson on cutting soda rings before throwing them away because they might end up in our ocean. We also learned the catchy song about “reduce, reuse, recycle.” There was no talk about chemicals or the products we were using. It was all about what to do after you used something.

Nutrition is another one that was taught in a different way growing up. You were taught about the food pyramid and how to balance the different parts. I don’t really recall anyone explaining that whole wheat bread had more benefits to our body that white bread. It was all simply bread and it was the largest piece of the pyramid.

Today, there’s a lot more research on the environment, our bodies, and how our choices affect everything. You can even find a variety of movements centered around no GMOs, reducing waste, returning to natural products, and the list goes on and on. I can’t even tell you the number of groups I’ve joined on Facebook to simply learn more about these movements and how I can do my small part to help. I can’t say that I’ve embraced any of them to their fullest extent but I can say that I’ve used them to make small (okay sometimes big) changes in my daily life.
There’s also a lot more research out there on which foods are better for you than others. In fact, there’s so much research out there that you can end up swimming in research before you make any changes to your life. When you’re swimming in this research and the opinions of others, I want you to remember something – none of us are perfect and that’s okay. Sometimes you have to embrace your imperfection and keep moving forward. You’re not going to make the “perfect” choice every time and that’s okay. It’s incredibly hard to untrain habits.
There’s a lot more that I have to say on this topic but I’m going to save it for another post. We all make choices in our life based on our values, budget, stress, and a wide variety of factors. I’ll be discussing all of those in the new year. Let’s face it – they each could be a post on their own.
Have you ever been given advice that you didn’t ask for? How did you handle it?
P.S. I’m going to be featuring some pretty amazing women this month in my new series called “Moments that Matter.” I’m looking for a few more to feature – I’m a strong believer that we all have a story to share that will inspire others. So, if you think you have a story to share and would like to be featured on the blog, send me an email at hodgepodgepam@gmail.com and I’ll get you signed up!