Sunday, 12 March 2017

We are superheroes (ethical living in an unethical world)


There isn't much that I can assume about you because we have never met but, because you are here and because of the content of this blog, I can surmise that you are trying to live a life in which you do your best.

You might be vegan.  You might have stopped buying from companies who test on animals.  You might have Googled things like "zero waste" or "ethical clothing companies" a few times.  It doesn't matter how far you are down this path - you are on it.  You are thinking.  You are asking questions.  And that is amazing.  There's a Stoic quote I love:

"One of the causes of the troubles that beset us is the way our lives are guided by the example of others; instead of being set to rights by reason we're seduced by convention." - Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

Living a life that differs from the lives of your relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours etc. is difficult and you should feel so proud of yourself for making that choice.  You are a brave, beautiful specimen and I salute you. 

But enough about you.

Today, I want to talk to you about one of the few downsides to ethical living.  Though we may try our best; though we recycle, pick the companies we buy from with care and live a life that corresponds with our morals, it is so easy to feel obliteratingly disheartened that your best doesn't change the world as much as you want it to.

I firmly believe that by living a life you believe in you are blazing the way for someone else.  You are making a daunting thing manageable simply by proving how well you manage.  But it seems that for every person trying their best to ignite positive change, there are twenty more who could not care less.  And five more who are fighting for the opposing side.

I have no doubt that I am not alone in feeling this; the feeling when you step outside your circle of like-minded people and realise how most people think; the patience you have to summon to converse politely in the normal world; carefully tiptoeing the fragile line between appearing self-righteous or apologetic.

If you have felt this way, I have six tips that are worth considering.
  1. Remember that our interpretation of "doing your best" may be different to someone else's
  2. Remember that we all have room for improvement
  3. At one point or another, we have all been suckered in by a marketing strategy.  It can take a while to "wake up" from its spell. 
  4. Ethical living is based on compassion.  This is not limited to the earth and animals; we must treat our fellow man with compassion.
  5. Think back to a time before you considered the impact your choices had on the world (if there was such a time).  Would you call yourself a bad person for lacking the information you have now?
But most importantly...
6. Do not underestimate the impact you have on the world.  

Live a gorgeous, shining example and feel grateful that you have so much to share.  Really feel it.  It is not superiority; it is not arrogance.  It is the ability to see things others cannot.  Like any superpower, it is a responsibility and by living a life founded on a moral code, we are living proof that compassion, kindness and pure frickin' loveliness can be fuel for a beautiful life.  When all's said and done, we're all on the same team.

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