What sets us apart? Our values. Values form an inner compass. We orient ourselves according to these throughout our lives. In sum, our values form a value system. A standard that arises from our fundamental convictions. Through behavior patterns, according to which we act, the consciously or unconsciously chosen values are represented. Most of the time, however, we don't really know which values accompany us, as they silently shape our lives. This is mainly because we never really talk about them explicitly. We let it slip that we like or dislike them. Only when two of them collide do we become consciously aware of them again. Violated values become a relevant topic for us. Our own value system, which is poorly accessible and not free of contradictions, presents us with great challenges.



We unconsciously limit our freedom
Experience something. Simply taking risks. That's what freedom means to us. The freedom we crave is restricted by the need for security. The result: We are faced with a conflict between the two values of freedom and security. This is based on fear. Fear of leaving familiar territory or habitual patterns of behavior. In psychology, this fear is called experience avoidance. We try to evaluate and predict events based on our experience and eventually end up avoiding them altogether. This gives us a sense of security and control. Yet we do not consider that this behavior significantly limits our everyday life. Control is thus not always the solution, but often the problem.

Here we stay, here we feel comfortable
The conflict between freedom and security is much more ubiquitous than we would first assume. Especially in a relationship, this presents us with great challenges. For us, security in a relationship means closeness, safety, order, structure and loyalty. However, these needs collide with our desire for autonomy, change and transformation. Within a relationship, we often run the risk of getting stuck in routines and sinking into boredom. We are overcome by the fear of losing our own freedom in the form of impulsivity and self-realization. The problem is that more freedom means less security and vice versa. Each of you can certainly put yourself in the following situation: You have been offered a job in another city. Your partner, however, cannot go with you because of his or her professional situation. Fearing that the relationship will not stand up to the distance, you decide not to accept the offer. This example reflects one of many situations in which we prefer to do without something in order not to take a risk. We simply stay in our comfort zone. There, all our most basic needs are satisfied, why should we now try to give them up?


Leaving your comfort zone
In order for us to rise above ourselves, we first have to get our butts out of the comfort zone. But this is easier said than done. To reach the so-called "growth zone," we first have to penetrate two other zones. It takes a lot of courage to put ourselves in the first one, the "fear zone." But this will be rewarded. After we have reached the "learning zone" with a lot of perseverance, we acquire the skills to deal with challenges there. After this learning phase, we enter a new comfort zone. Into our growth zone, where we gain our freedom in the form of self-actualization. We are now empowered to overcome all hurdles, however great they may be.



Trendy Fast Fashion
Every one of us knows the situation: we stand in front of our overflowing closet and still can't find anything to wear. Around 40% of the clothes in our own closet are rarely or never worn. But what is the reason for this? Due to the constantly changing trends and new collections in the stores, our own clothes quickly go out of fashion. The appearance arises that something new is needed. The range of new clothing is huge. Fashion giants like H&M and Zara launch 12-24 new collections per year. Thanks to this variety of fashion, we can always rediscover ourselves and our fashion style and find ourselves in new social trends. Fast fashion fashion is also easily affordable, as fast fashion chains offer their clothes at cheap prices. Unfortunately, we consumers gratefully accept these.


Our need for sustainability suffers
However, the price we pay at the checkout is still the lowest. We often wear our newly acquired clothes for only one season. After a maximum of 3 years we sort them out of our closet. 80% of all sold clothes end up in the residual waste sooner or later. Only 1% of this is recycled. The rest is burned. CO2 is exposed. Although we are aware of the negative consequences of this buying behavior and the bad working conditions in fashion production, we still consume it, fast fashion. We consume fashion in large quantities to keep up with the changing trends. The need for recognition, the desire to be accepted and admired in society, makes our sustainability a distant memory. Yet environmental aspects and a sustainable lifestyle are an increasingly relevant topic in today's age. We want to live and act in an environmentally conscious way.


Sustainable use of our clothing
But what can we do to avoid the conflict between sustainability and recognition? Better yet, we can prevent it from arising in the first place. When we stand in front of our overcrowded closet and look at how many clothes are there that have been lying there unworn for a long time, we should start to appreciate our clothes again. However, if we feel the need to follow a new trend, it is worth visiting a second-hand store, a flea market or online on a second-hand platform such as "Vinted".


No matter which values we represent and carry within us, sooner or later they will collide with each other. The good thing about it? It happens to every single one of us. Conflicts of values are the result. The result of values that are lived and loved. The result of a society that is changing, diverse and colorful.

Authors: Pia Math, Anna Schuster