Having a moral compass can expand our (& others’) happiness


The world's darkness can also add lightness if we pay attention to how we as individuals can make a positive difference. This year we could change things for the better just by becoming more conscientious consumers. During a much-needed recharging staycation this week, and also taking a break from the news, it occurred to me how much world events has negatively shaped my outlook and actions. The hardship, sacrifices, suffering, and death of 2020 has laid bare a number of societal ills. One large scale problem is not understanding where our everyday stuff is manufactured and whether it was produced ethically.  What drew my attention to this stemmed from the internment camps in China. It's a horrible situation (happening right now) where hundreds of secret prisons have been built to hold minority Muslims illegally. I won't go into all the ugly detail, it's worth researching to educate yourself, but I will point out that some of these internment camps contain factories, a sign of forced labor. It got me looking through all the labels in my closet and I felt sick finding only five articles of clothing were made in the USA. I unknowingly have contributed to this problem by purchasing without researching where things are made and if they are made in a way that doesn't include abusing workers.  I know this isn't my typical happiness recharge topic but expanding one’s own happiness includes acting with purpose and making decisions which don’t cause others to live unhappy lives. By acting purposefully and by educating ourselves about what we consume, we can help make the world a little better.  It can be time-consuming to research how and where our purchases are made. Plus, we’ve become accustomed to making consumer choices based primarily on finding the lowest prices. But think how collectively our purchasing power affects the lives of workers all around the world. It’s worth the google search or a quick email to the companies you patronize asking if their manufacturing process follows ethical procedures. It's unfortunate that honorable practices aren't followed everywhere in the first place, but since that's not the case, it is up to us as individuals to make our purchases count.  2020 has highlighted a lot about civil rights. I think we need to focus on human rights on all levels because the world is more connected than ever. Just think how fast the pandemic spread worldwide. So, in my recharging break of reflection, I want to share with you that you have power, not just internal power that I typically write about. You also have the power through your consumerism actions. I challenge you to educate yourself, stay aware, and make your consumerism count by avoiding companies that don't produce things ethically. We can all be better together one small purchase at a time. Lastly, my father and I started an Instagram account called pocketbook_voting. We'll be sharing posts about our positive findings with our ongoing research. This research is time-consuming, so we are happy to share our tips with you so you don't have to dig as much, or at least feel inspired to do some too. We're just starting to post, but if you're interested in reading more, feel free to follow us. Ultimately, when you become an educated consumer and activis