Be Thankful for Giving
In one week, you’ll most likely be sitting down with your family or friends enjoying one of your biggest meals of the year. In a warm and safe space, everyone will be feasting on a selection of traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving fare. Whether you’re religious, spiritual, or none of the above, it’s more than likely that some form of grace will be given before anyone’s fork and knife cuts into a piece of turkey or a more vegan-friendly option. When you’re giving thanks for what you have, do you give thanks for what you give?
Saying thank you and being grateful is a strong characteristic of those that appreciate what they have or what they are given. Whether it’s having a door be held for you or being given an expensive present on your birthday or Christmas, vocalizing a thank you is the common courtesy you provide back to the giver. Think about a recent time that you’ve said thank you and consider how sincere those words were. Do you think about saying it first or has it just become a social norm so you don’t look like an ingrate?
The opportunity to give is the greatest way to repay your thanks. We spoil ourselves so often and complain about our “first-world” problems while our wants often have a negative impact on the planet and its other inhabitants including animals and other people. The chocolate you eat might be the result of child labor and the diamonds you wear of slave labor. The leather jacket you own could have come from a tortured animal and your car could be slowly destroying the Earth, so what do you do in return?
While I’m not telling you to change those habits because it’s not my business, I’m asking you to consider trying to be more active in almost balancing them out by giving back. Giving back can and often does feel far better than the material goods that you crave. I know that my meat-eating lifestyle that involves some food being wasted has a negative impact on other living beings. It might not be an equal exchange, but I donate to certain organizations in an effort to minimize that impact and I ask you to think about doing the same.
Every month I make contributions to PETA, Mercy for Animals, Best Friends Animal Society, Humane Society of Boulder Valley, UNICEF, World Wildlife Fund, and the World Food Programme. I’ve been actively searching for environmentally based organizations to add to that list, so please let me know if you have any that you recommend. While this doesn’t make me a better person, at the end of the day when I go to sleep I feel better. No matter how “bad” my day was, I lay in bed knowing that I helped someone or something and helping others is a key to staying hungry and fit.
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