Guilt, My Friend
Posted on 20 September 2016
You know when you see something and it just hits you for six? You may have had an inkling it existed but then you witness it firsthand and the real gravity of it sets in? I suppose a common example would be seeing poverty up close and personal and having your whole perspective radically changed. Well for me, that 'thing' was the documentary 'China Blue' (2005) which follows the story of a 17 year old girl working for a jean factory in China and you guessed it, it made me feel guilty as heck. I wouldn't be human if I didn't feel guilty and you know what, you should feel guilty too! Before you block your ears, consider this. Guilt has a rough reputation for making us feel rubbish and as a result, it’s quite natural to want to suppress it or even conquer it in someway to avoid feeling it again. But this is my challenge to you: welcome guilt with open arms!
Guilt is defined on Wikipedia as "a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard and bears significant responsibility for that violation.” It’s linked to our conscience, this intuition or inner judgement that distinguishes right from wrong, which together with guilt I believe has the potential to radically change the way we think and act. How so? I like to think if we allowed our conscience and guilt to play their roles appropriately rather than instinctively bury and avoid them, it would spur us on to do better next time! Feel guilty for skipping grandma's birthday? Make the next occasion special! Feel guilty for rushing past a homeless person? Put a fiver in your pocket for tomorrow. Feelings of guilt teach us to learn from past experiences and then to use that knowledge to grow into better people. Suppressing guilt will result in the opposite, making the same mistakes over and over and boxing ourselves in.
So what’s this got to do with Theo? Since watching China Blue, my conscience has taken a real beating but it has broadened my thinking and perspective for the better! It's made me curious and challenged me to grow and change, and that's what Theo is about! As a label, we definitely don't tick all the boxes on being a 'perfect sustainable brand' but we are SO invested in getting closer to achieving that! For you, perhaps you feel guilt for giving in to old shopping habits when you swore you’d start shopping more ethically, or perhaps you feel guilt for ignoring the highway collectors you passed on the way to work when you knew you had a spare dollar lying around. I challenge you to welcome the guilt and do things differently next time! For people, planet and purpose, Theo is on a journey. Join us?
I’d love to hear from anyone with stories of change in the comments below! I also found a link on YouTube to watch 'China Blue' for those interested. It begins with a weird animal doc which is great if you're into animals! If not, it begins around the 7 minute mark :D