Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I heard my clients or members of my Facebook Group say to me: “I know this is important, but I’m having a hard time getting my husband on board.”
So if you’ve been thinking the same thing, whether you’re getting resistance from your parents, partner, kids, best friend, roommate, or anyone else in your life, this post is for you.
Here’s my approach when speaking with people who aren’t fully on board with your desire to make healthier choices at home.
1. Understand that everyone comes with past experiences.
What was your first reaction when you learned that ingredients in every day products aren’t as safe as you once thought? If you’re honest with yourself, I’m willing to bet there was doubt and disbelief. Even if it was small and you didn’t vocalize it. I know there was for me!
When you made the decision to reduce toxic chemicals at home, you probably had a trigger to help you get over this hurdle. A severe or chronic health issue, a new baby, etc. But it also means coming to terms with past actions that weren’t aligned with your new choices, and moving forward from those with self-love and acceptance.
When people first learn that products they’ve been using every day or that their parents used on them are now being called “toxic”, it can be a very jarring experience. Even the most open-minded can feel uncomfortable at the idea that there could be something wrong with what they’ve been doing all along.
The key thing to remember here is that nobody has made wrong or bad choices! It’s all about working with the information we have available. Heck, not all that long ago it was normal to smoke during pregnancy… times change, research changes, and our understanding of our bodies change.
The first step in having conversations with the skeptic in your life is acknowledging that you’ve had more time to process this for yourself. Allow the time and space for them to have the same. And help them see that it’s not about being “wrong” in the past, but rather moving forward with new information.
2. Make it easy.
You might be willing to put in more effort because you have a more urgent need or desire to reduce toxics at home. But if someone is on the fence, you can’t expect them to give up their favourite products or routines overnight. Help them see how healthier choices don’t have to mean sacrifice! Start with things that aren’t going to cause a wall to go up right away.
I don’t suggest surprising your partner with a new deodorant during a heat wave or right before a big work event, or declaring that the mattress you just bought two years ago must be replaced immediately.
Find out what is a non-negotiable for them, and don’t touch those areas (at least for now). Let them help decide what actions they are comfortable with and start there. Choose strategies that can ease your partner into changes so they can buy into them over time.
3. Share credible research.
Women are more likely to get on board with messaging around toxic chemicals then men. So a lot of the blogs, campaigns by non-profits, and resources are created for women. If your partner is more likely to respond less to emotion and more to facts and linear arguments, then consider sharing fact-based articles from well-known publications or scientific research papers. Most men fall into this category – and I’m not be sexist, it’s just science. But I also resonate with the more rational angle (it’s why I created this blog in the first place!), so think about how your partner thinks and leverage that.
I often link to these resources in my articles, so sharing my blog posts can help them see the practical and the science sides of the discussion.
I think it’s also helpful to prepare yourself with responses (science-based) to common misconceptions or rebuttals. I’ve covered those here.
4. Make it personal.
Help them see how the changes you’re making can help them too, regardless of what your own personal drivers are. A lot of what I talk about focuses on reducing hormone disruptors – and these have such a wide range of impact that everyone in your home may be affected by them.
From asthma to chronic illness, weight management to fatigue, your partner might be experiencing symptoms that you can connect to a possible hormone imbalance. Not that detoxing your home will solve the problem on its own, but it can go a long way to supporting their systems through other treatments and helping keep hormones balanced long-term. The courses and downloads on this resource page might come in handy!
Sometimes, all it takes is for you to take action and your partner will see how simple it is and follow suit. It’s always easier for people to make changes when it’s their idea (or they think it is) rather than because someone is forcing them into it. So do what you can with your own actions, and work on the steps above to help support your partner through changes themselves.