A few weeks ago someone on my Facebook feed shared an article that I found really interesting – I can’t remember who shared it (if it was you, thank you) but I have been thinking about it since.
It was about the fish bowl theory.
Say you have a goldfish and the bowl it lives in is filthy, the glass is all mucky, the water is slimy and smells and they only have rotten food to eat, and as a result the fish is unwell. Is the fish at fault for not thriving, or is the environment to blame? Do you fix the fish or do you fix the environment?
In the case of the fish I think you would easily decide that there is some really quick fixes with their environment and you’d make some easy changes that would make the fish much happier and healthier.
Perhaps it’s easier because you can see the whole eco-system in which that fish lives, but our first response to ourselves is often not the same. Not just as individuals either, but I think it spreads into the wider society.
We feel stressed, depressed and anxious and rather than looking at what is going on around us, we think we are broken. We are told we are broken. The question we try to answer is “what is wrong with me?” rather than “what is wrong with my environment?”.
Your environment is not just the home in which you live, although the answer may lie there, it is also, the people you interact with, the place you work, the street and town you live on, the job you do, the TV you watch, the food you eat, the books you read, social media. Everything that you engage with in some way is forming a part of your environment.
Some of it you know is making you sick and you do it anyway. I know that eating a big bar of chocolate while I follow drama on Facebook is not going to make me feel good, but I do it anyway. I know that watching the news on TV is going to stress me out, but I do it anyway.
Some things are an easy fix. I turn off the news, I limit social media, I read better books. Somethings take a little longer. You can’t change your home overnight (as you know, I’m in the process and it takes forever!). Some things will take a little longer, will require some patience and planning, but let’s not allow that to put us off. The time will pass anyway, so we might as well start working now to make our environment better then.
Let’s all commit to doing ourselves a favour and carrying out an audit of our lives. What needs to change? What can change now? What can we start doing to put bigger plans in place. Perhaps if we can each make our own bowls a nicer place to live our neighbours will get jealous and make a start on their own improvements – and goodness spreads.