One of the most disturbing or annoying trend I see in the Vegan community is people who judge non-Vegans for not being Vegans (or Vegan enough) or falling off the wagon. I have struggled with this issue then came around that situation just tonight while surfing Facebook groups.
In substance, someone in a group said he tried to be Vegan for 30 days but was confronted by Vegans whom he felt very turned off by and he decided to go back to his pre-Vegan days. As soon as he announced it, he was then called words like “douche” and so on. As soon as I noticed what was happening, I jumped on the bandwagon and asked him to contact me so I could talk him into changing his mind. And he did!
We have to understand that not everyone is where we are. As Vegans, our mindset has been changed either recently or long ago by what we have learned about other animals, their suffering, diet, the environment. And obviously our perspective is one of bigger awareness. But not everyone is there yet.
After talking to this man, he recommitted to try Veganism for another 30 days. He comes to it from a health perspective and, obviously, Veganism not being about diet, it ruffles some feathers for some of us. But this man is obviously willing to learn and expand his awareness and he should be encouraged and not trashed because he has not reached our level of “Vegan awareness”. What good is it to turn him off? Every small step is a good step. Let’s cultivate this newly found awareness and help him expand his.
In 2011, I became a Holistic Vegan Health Coach because I realized that a lot of people looked at Veganism as a diet primarily and were scared (by all the disinformation in the media) about their health if they went Vegan. I started getting the usual questions when doing Vegan outreach like “where do you get your proteins?” and so on. In my early days of being vegan, my diet was a junk Vegan food one and I had no answers for them. I decided that it was important to reach people where they are and slowly expand on their current mindset by slowly introducing new ideas and new concepts as well as reassuring them about their health.
Some people will never get to Veganism through animal rights first. So what? It doesn’t mean they can’t get there eventually. I found this to be true for everyone I coached first from a health perspective.
When we open to people, but don’t judge them, we quickly make them feel encouraged to learn more.
Being Vegan is not about being judgmental of others. It is about expanding awareness in any way that works for the people we are trying to reach in order to get them to grow. After this man talked to me, he regained his enthusiasm for the lifestyle and started posting information about Vegan programs in his area! So anything is possible if we put our egos to the side.
We can do so much better and really walk the talk if we are who we say we are: kind, compassionate, aware and willing to grow ourselves. Veganism is indeed about other animals, but we are animals too and when we have to change too. When we do, we become better equipped to change others.
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