- The circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded
- The complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (such as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival
From the title of this blog post, I am sure that a lot of you thought I would be writing about environmental consciousness and being kind to our earth. While this is still important, I wanted to talk more about our environment in relation to ourselves.
As you can see, there are 2 different definitions for what environment is characterized as; one is the environment in which someone or something is currently living, and the other relates to the earth as a whole.
Recently, after listening to a podcast from Sylvester McNutt III, he spoke about how moving to a different city can change our lives and our perspective, allowing us to become a heightened version of ourselves.
It seems the whole idea of moving somewhere else, or even travelling somewhere else, is a way of changing your views. However, this idea has become so normalized since we see it in TV shows and movies (Emily in Paris; Eat, Pray, Love and Under the Tuscan Sun...just to name a few), that it has lost its meaning.
If we were to break it down in a deeper sense, stepping into another environment challenges our traditional way of life because we have to adapt to something new. We experience new faces, new ideas, and new traditions. In a sense, we are the outsider and we are just trying to fit in.
Although this idea can be quite fear-inducing to many, it also provides an opportunity to redefine yourself. Some people may live in a small town and be known in a certain unfavorable way. They may be seen as the nerd or the jock, and that title would follow them around wherever they went. This could be a major reason why people want to escape their environment, because people judge you based on a past version of yourself.
One of the main takeaways I got from listening to Sylvester's podcast was the following:
Sometimes people can't see your growth because they aren't growing.
- Sylvester McNutt III
When you choose to grow mentally, the process is often not seen on the surface. In a sense, people see what they want to see. If they want to see you as a nerd, then they will always see you that way, no matter how much you change. However, their idea of you is more a reflection of their inner world and not yours. People who are growing understand that growth in others and, if they don't then they simply aren't growing themselves.
This reminded me of my partner's journey to growth. Coming from a small French-speaking town in the north, he lived in that environment for a large part of his life. Although he had a rather good childhood, he felt like something was missing and that he wanted to be somewhere else,
However, after a traumatic experience in his teens, it provided him a push to change his life. He wanted to get away from the language he was speaking, the people in it, and his physical environment.
He made the decision to go to an English college that took him 2 hours by public transit everyday. He knew that his choice would involve some sacrifice, but he was willing to take that risk.
During that time, him and I met each other and got into our very first relationship. As you can probably guess, we have been together ever since and have stayed together for close to 9 years. The change in his environment allowed him to break free of his past identity and step into a heightened version of himself. He spoke a different language, met new people with different ideas, and was able to be himself.
The truth is a lot of people may see personal growth as selfish, but that should not stop us from growing. We need to start recognizing that our mental health and well-being is more important than other people's opinions about us. We choose to create the life we want to live, and no one should stop us from doing that.
Moving from one physical space to another could help us grow in a different environment, but growth can also happen right where you are. In some cases, we do not need to physically move, but instead we can choose to change our mindset to one of growth. If we have limiting beliefs about ourselves, it is time to acknowledge those and to distance ourselves from that way of thinking. The truth is we could be the only ones holding ourselves back. Be conscious of the way you think about your limitations, and move away from the idea that you cannot accomplish your goals.
So if ever you feel like your current circumstances are not serving you, remember that you are allowed to change them or at least move away from your past perspective. Environment pertains to more than just your physical surroundings, and your inner environment is equally, if not more, important to nurture.