3 Tips to Keep Being a Vegetarian
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Having the will power to say no to meat every time is just sometimes too hard, but having been a pescetarian for nearly a year without breaking even once, I want to impart some of the defence mechanisms and tricks I use daily to keep myself strong.
1. Associating Imagery
You know that horrible video you were forced to watch in a PSHE lesson at school of a pig or cow getting slaughtered, dropping to the ground after exhaling its final desperate shriek and oozing blood onto the ground? Just associate that with the delicious bits of ham on your next potential Domino's pizza and it becomes that much easier to say no.
When you look at it as not causing unimaginable suffering to another creature all by simply ordering extra cheese, the added ethical pleasure outweighs the salty heart disease of the other toppings.
2. Think About Dying
When I think about dying I engage the natural self preservation instincts which drive me so strongly to live and succeed. This mixed in with knowing the health detriments of eating meat is a concoction not just for being a good vegetarian but also for a healthy life in general.
Note that when I say 'think of dying' I don't mean imagine yourself cycling off a cliff, I mean imagine that you are no longer in the world - people who love and care for you weep at your funeral, and those already gone are sad to see see you go so soon too. Thinking about the consequences of your death can bring you into a very emotional state (even crying) but it does give you the energy and motivation to do what's right (+ put the ephemerality of life back into perspective!)
Blue BoxWhenever you can you should try and engage this instinct because It really is the strongest one you have - it uses the culmination of knowledge and focus you have to make correct decisions.
3. You, but in Third Person
My third trick is to look at your situation, no matter how, in third person.
By this, I mean look at yourself from an outside perspective. How would others see what you're doing? What would they say? Would they say:
'She's quite a weak person - only last week she had a steak and all she said was 'I'm allowed one sometimes!'
Or, would they say 'yeah she's a strong character, you should have seen that delicious steak she rejected last week. I couldn't have done that'
Now, I know it's often thought that caring about what other people think is bad or weak. However, in this case you are simply doing it to put your own thoughts, to your own situation in perspective (who would have thought vegetarianism would be so selfish!).
It allows you to judge yourself before doing something bad, which is much better than judging yourself after you do something bad, since we as humans are very prone to making up excuses to cover up our mistakes.
Think before because thinking after just doesn't work. And if you want to be pedantic, then you should think how other people should react to what you're doing (engaging your own criteria for what people 'should' do, on yourself). An easy way of doing this is imagining someone else in your position and thinking what you would think of them.
The reason this tip works is that it utilises our instinctual need to remain socially desirable, or at least socially acceptable.
By adding these different pressures (survival instinct, social facilitation and guilt), your choices as a vegetarian become a lot easier.
I hope you will all find greater success with your vegetarianism and pescetarianism, or at least consider eating less meat in your diet.
Good luck improving yourself and the world around you!