Seven years ago I made the decision of changing my life to become a Vegan. To be fair, in the beginning, I only thought about food. My conscience grew with this change and I started to extend my Vegan lifestyle after a wee while in other areas as well.
In those first weeks and months though I was super enthusiastic! I told many people about my decision and got mixed reactions. The variation went from “great” to “crazy”. Comments probably all Vegans have heard would be
I could never give up cheese.
What do you eat?
This is too extreme!
I could never do that.
Just to name a few…..
During this period I think I could not understand why people did not feel the same way as I did when it came to the consequences of our food consumption. Looking back, I think I felt like I opened my eyes for the first time and wanted others to do the same. The effect of trying to do so had as different outcomes as my telling the people about my decision. Some thought that my reasons were good and right, but they still would not want to make the change, others got very offensive, but rather in a defensive way. My guess was that they knew that what I said were the ugly facts, but they did not want to feel offended by being confronted with the truth. In rare cases I was accused of trying to offend others. I wasn’t. When asked I simply gave my reasons – I was the messenger.
However, after a while I thought this is the wrong approach. I decided to rather live by example as often the truth behind today’s western lifestyle was something people did not want to hear. This doesn’t mean that I don’t tell people any longer. I do, but in a different way.
I started bringing Vegan food to the office or at a family gathering. And I saw that some people made changes, if small ones. The curious people tried new things and were surprised of how their opinion of being a Vegan was totally wrong.
Having said all that, I got a lot of support as well. I remember going to a friend’s house and finding a Vegan cake baked just because it was me visiting. And this friend is still and Omnivore. So people did care about my being Vegan and tried to make amends and it was and is appreciated.
Today I am much more relaxed about being a Vegan and communicating it. I am as dedicated but my attitude towards other people has changed. We all are allowed our own choices, finding our own ways in life. I’d rather be an Ambassador of how nice a Vegan lifestyle is, than only focussing on the ugly side of not being one.
A positive attitude is always the better option, in all areas of your life. Anger gets us nowhere, but kindness and love does.