Conscious Living is a series which takes a closer look at living a life full of thoughtful choices and conscious decision making in order to live a life full of meaning, self-love, and respect for ourselves and the world around us.
Last LFB’s conscious living interview with Emma of bloomzy went down so well that I am back with another. This time, I sat down to have a chat with Michelle of Daisy Butter to get her take on conscious living…
LFB: In the blogging world, many bloggers feel the pressure to stay on top of trends, purchase new things for reviews, accept gifts etc. How do you balance the mass consumption and “product selling” side of blogging with living consciously?
Michelle: For me, I’m very conscious of metaphorically selling an unrealistic lifestyle. As somewhat of an old-timey blogger that has watched the community develop over 6 years, I know that I got caught up in the consumerist gifting, reviewing and marketing side of the ‘game’. It’s tough. There’s definitely a huge pressure for newness in the blogosphere. If you don’t receive the same samples as the other bloggers, are you still relevant? Well, of course you are. I balance the consumerism side of blogging with an earthier, more ‘me’ side that only accepts review opportunities if they’re for something I’d genuinely pick up from a shop. I transitioned from a purely fashion blog to a lifestyle blog around 3 years ago and I’m very aware of how it can look to have a stream of new things all the time, and continue to portray and share a happy lifestyle. Because I am happy and content, but it’s not because of having things – in hindsight I think, for me, it’s important to be as organic as possible in shilling things I recommend. (It’s that whole notion of social media, again, of being a step ahead of the game or being something different to traditional media that has somehow manifested within itself, right?)
LFB: In today’s day and age with the rise of social media, it is very easy for us to get swept up in our own lives and careers and forget about our social commitments to both our friends and family as well as those less fortunate than us within our society. What do you do personally to ensure that this does not happen?
Michelle: As someone who shamelessly adores social media but has a whole circle of friends and family that know nothing further than Facebook and YouTube, I’ve always found it relatively easy to manage the divide. I’m a very empathetic individual and I’ll always imagine myself in their shoes first: ‘What if I was sat having a coffee but my friend spent the whole time seemingly texting (Tweeting) somebody?’ or ‘What if my auntie prioritised answering emails over spending a lunch break together?’ It is difficult to switch off when the current landscape of social media almost demands you to be ‘on’ all the time, but social media is a highlights reel of real life. You need real life and real social situations to create the other.
LFB: You have mentioned that positivity and being a positive influence are the most important aspects of conscious living for you. How do you define positivity and being a positive influence?
Michelle: I guess I define positivity by things, actions or feelings that can make you feel happier or more content. I often visualise positivity as shining sunbeams of golden light, although, of course, that’s not always possible. To be a positive influence? I’m working on it, heh. I really try to be mindful and more mindful of how I, or anyone, can make others feel. To me, it’s important to remember that – despite what you may believe – everybody has the power to influence and it’s important to make that a happy influence. You could be a positive influence by having a positive mindset, by setting an example of living a life to the full (however that may be), by making a conscious effect to help others. The greatest thing of all is that often we are all positive influences upon each other without realising it! The effects are just amplified when you begin to strive towards positive thinking and a positive lifestyle.
LFB:In what ways do you try to incorporate positivity in your daily life?
Michelle: I strongly believe in that age-old mantra that while not every day may be happy, there is happiness to be found in every day. I try to incorporate positivity daily by paying people genuine compliments, approaching things with a ‘can do’ mindset as best as I can and focusing on the silver linings of things that might not necessarily be positive. Of course sometimes I have off days but there really is something positive to be found in any day, little or large. Even if I’ve had a terrible day, there’s the positive thought of tomorrow being a fresh start or of cosy sheets to snuggle into when I return home.
LFB: What positive people do you look up to?
Michelle: Positive people… it’s cliché but I look up to my Mum. My mother came to England as a young teen and did the immigrant thing of helping out with the family businesses alongside school, dealing with my grandad’s death, launching and running multiple successful businesses and raising us three kids, and she’s always unfailingly positive about it all. It often seems to me that there aren’t enough hours in the day which gets me down but then I think of my Mum and things just feel much easier. A positive thought goes a long way.
LFB: What tips would you give to others in order to help them live a more positive life?
Michelle: It’s fundamentally difficult to always live positively, I mean, human nature usually prevents us from always looking at the brighter side and from thinking rationally. We’re all prone to overthinking and spiralling into our own, often negative thoughts right? And the British part of me often struggles to see good and to compliment myself. We’re a pretty negative and sarcastic nation! My tips would simply be to look at life simply, take it at face value and make a conscious effort to stop comparing, to stop rushing and to stop putting yourself down. Remember how valuable YOU are. There’s a silver lining to every cloud and day.
LFB: What does conscious living mean to you both in general and for you personally?
Michelle: Conscious living to me… it’s about making informed choices on how we live and striving to become our best self and leave a positive impact on the globe. Whether that’s being conscious of a work/life balance, making considered decisions towards eating, researching the origins of your clothing, learning more about the people you surround yourself with, experiencing everything with a curious mind or consciously living each day to its maximum potential. That’s not to say or mean that there’s one particular rule surrounding informed choices, conscious living is about making that choice for you.
For me personally? It’s about making sure that I’m living life for myself, taking steps towards cultivating my idealistic future, learning about the everyday decisions I have to make, making sure that every moment is made the most of. Lately I’ve been researching ethical clothing and trying to work out how I can logistically make the transition to being more considered towards my purchase choices. It means being aware and taking heed of how some me-time does me the world of good and how heading out on the town, even with my friends, isn’t so good.
LFB: What is the most important aspect of conscious living for you personally?
Michelle: I think the most important part of conscious living is creating an achievable lifestyle that I can comfortably live and aspire to at the same time. Hand in hand, I place huge importance, as a blogger, in being able to share the best parts and try to share my love for living with others.
LFB: How do you practice conscious living?
Michelle: This is so difficult to answer! I’d like to think I practice conscious living by constantly living with a curious mind. I’m not afraid to question things, ideas and concepts that are presented to me and I wholeheartedly believe in being able to have an unafraid opinion. I make conscious decisions daily to improve my own day by heading home to cook meals from scratch and ease my mind into learning recipes, by pushing aside the emails for just one night and recuperating with a book or a trashy TV show (my favourites! Heh!), by sending ‘just because’ cards to the girls back home to fuel their stationery addictions and let them know I’m thinking of them outside of WhatsApp, or by actively reading about and researching topics that have piqued my interest sometime in my week. It seems like nothing, like mindless drivel, but together, I’m more content than ever in my lifestyle lately.
LFB: What websites, books, documentaries, or stores do you support that place a strong emphasis on conscious living?
Michelle: I really love Being Little, a personal lifestyle blog written by my good friend Lyzi. Her site is a very earthy, grounded indication of how she lives her life and I find myself constantly inspired by her thoughts and her contentment. As I’m only just getting started with my ethical clothing research, a great place to begin is the Fashion Revolution website. And I couldn’t finish up this interview without mentioning STANDSEVEN, a brand that I learned about more than a year ago. Actually, this is a great way to reinforce some of the things I’ve talked about today: it’s a luxury collective boutique that supports an artisan collective, raising funds for multiple charities and causes.
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photography by: Michelle of Daisy Butter