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13 June 2001 Issue
Be Kind To Yourself

by Laurelee Blanchard

We owe it to the animals not to turn a blind eye to their suffering, but we must be careful to avoid becoming overwhelmed with sadness to the extent that we no longer have the energy to fight for their protection. Our knowledge about the immense cruelty and pain that exists in our world makes us vulnerable to depression. As a result, animal abusers succeed not only in harming animals, but in hurting us, too, and in reducing our effectiveness.

I went through a time when I found it difficult to appreciate or enjoy anything about life, as my mind was focused on the billions of animals in agony. Even though I had so much for which to be grateful, I felt guilty about being joyful while the animals were miserable. My hopeless attitude wasn't benefiting the animals; it was reducing my productivity.

When I told my boss about my bad mood, he offered some helpful advice:
"Don't think so much about the big picture; just focus on your work and be glad that you are part of the solution."

His suggestion to not dwell on the suffering persuaded me to allow myself some happiness. When my attitude improved, I felt more energetic, and I was able to conduct my daily tasks with enthusiasm about the difference I was making for the animals.

Kindness toward animals means being kind to ourselves, too. The animals don't want us to suffer with sadness. We aren't guilty of the cruelty inflicted upon them, so let's not permit the animal exploiters to succeed at making us miserable, too. If we can educate society about the facts of
[animal suffering], while trying our best to be happy about the good things in life, our world will be a better place.

Go on to On The Fur Fan
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