Is it Ever Okay to be Selfish?

get elephant's newsletter

Bacon could Never Taste that Good.

A guest editorial intro on our Top 10 Blogs of the Week in response to This is Factory Farming.

I’ve had an emotional morning.

I didn’t want to watch the video on how pigs are treated in factory farms. I know the gist, the horrors.

I’ve seen these videos before—they’re all the same.

No. I stopped to take a minute to think about it. If I couldn’t watch it, how could I convince my friends to care?

So I painfully sat through every second of it. And I needed it. And I loved it, even though I couldn’t stop crying.

I shared it with my boyfriend, who watched it, and then was so disgusted he needed to take a walk. He said, “your mom needs to see that.”

My mom grew up on a pig farm. I love listening to her tell her childhood stories, filled with embarrassment, as the school bus winded up her dirt country road in Indiana only to halt suddenly because her dad’s pigs had opened the latch of the pen and were roaming across the street. I picture an idyllic pasture with happy pigs.

“Gotta support those pig farmers!” she reminds me every time I turn up my nose every time she serves ham. I’ve tried to tell her many times, these aren’t pig farmers we’re supporting anymore. It’s hell, we’re supporting.

I shared the video with my meat-lovin’ friend and he said, “I have many things in my life I need to focus on before quitting eating meat. Like quitting smoking. And exercising more. And being more productive at work. And reading more. And spending less money on alcohol.”

“Well, those are all selfish things,” I said.

“Well, I am selfish.”

When did feeling entitled and living without a care for others become okay?

Watching this video re-inspired me and re-confirmed that desire to be a good person—which can sometimes be hard when being selfish or doing wrong, and looking the other way is easier. It made me re-appreciate elephant—and salute burned-out Waylon for his endless hours and dedication to being of benefit—and our mission to live a good life that also happens to be good for others and our planet and to spread the good word beyond the core, or choir, to the masses to those who didn’t think they gave a care.

“If you want to be happy, think first of others.”

So how can we make others care?

I became vegetarian four years ago when I got my dog—a boxer who snorts and wiggles too much like a pig that I couldn’t eat bacon again. How can I personally affect you and you and you, so you care?

Not sure, but I have hope. People are taking notice. Safeway and Burger King are saying goodbye to factory farming because people like us have started voting with our dollars.

Let’s go back to the start.

Like elephant Readers for Animal Rights on Facebook.

is a new feature on Elephant Journal—enabling you to instantly share your mindful ideas, photos, art, YouTube videos/Instagram links & writings with our 5 million readers. Try it Now.

Write Now

About Lindsey Block

Lindsey Block spends her weekdays as part of the Elephant Journal crew and her weekends hiking or picnicking at the park with a book. She's been a vegetarian for most of her adult life and delights in cooking up a new recipe (even though she really just wants to make tacos). She currently lives in Southern California.


4 Responses to “Is it Ever Okay to be Selfish?”

  1. tatumann says:

    Awesome. I went vegetarian and then vegan for health reasons, but researching it brought the horrors of factory farming into light to ensure that I would never start eating meat again (I still struggle with staying vegan.) I wish there was a way to make people care more. My mom, who saves every stray that crosses her path, volunteers at the local no-kill shelter and ends up with far too many pets under her care, outright refuses to watch the factory farming videos, yet continues to eat meat from Wal-Mart. It makes me nutty.

    Not to mention, I also have a boxer at home and the snorting & wiggling like a pig, seems like a pretty accurate comparison. Love him.

  2. […] didn’t become a vegetarian for the animals. That would be compassionate. I was selfish. I didn’t do it for our mother earth who is crying and dying and screaming out as factory […]

  3. […] like concern for others, self-concern, self-protection, and self-esteem are indispensable for survival. They can’t—and […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.