Dealing with Criticism // Vegan Lifestyle
One of the least talked about and most difficult parts about veganism is the depression that comes along with feeling like you’re doing the right thing, alone. I can only speak for myself, but when you become vegan, it’s not because you just felt like it or it’s a super cool thing to do. A complete life/habit shift comes as a result of exposure to information that is impossible to ignore. There is research and denial and inner-debate that one went through before taking the plunge. All of this time spent learning new things – and essentially changing your mind from what you’ve been taught your whole life – is impossible to explain in one sentence or a facebook comment. As a result, people tend to not understand you. It’s not easy for people to grasp why another would think what you eat and wear is wrong when what you’re doing is like everyone around you. On the flip side, once you make the realization and everything ‘clicks’, it’s not easy to grasp how people can’t see what you see so clearly. This causes discussions to get heated. Fast. And if you’re the only vegan in a room full of omnivores, it’s easy to feel like you’re two inches tall when everyone around you laughs at the rude ass comment one of them made.
I have found this struggle to be the most difficult. Finding vegan food in an unknown city can be difficult, seeing fast food commercials all day can be difficult, seeing people cry over an abused cat/dog while eating a hamburger can be difficult, but feeling completely alone in a world that is killing animals by the millions each day (>50 million per day on avg in the US alone, according to USDA/NOAA documents) and not being able to do anything to immediately stop it can sometimes be unbearable. When I first became vegan, I spent many sleepless night thinking about it. How can people be so blind? How can people love some animals so much that they sleep in their bed with them, and care so little for others that they pay for them to be murdered so they can eat them? What has society done to us to make us so blind?
So with the weight of all this on your shoulders, you head out & try to be the change you want to see. You tackle every obstacle, try to explain your point of view to those who openly oppose you, & wish that it were easier to find people that felt the same way as you (that don’t only exist on the internet). You choose your food wisely, try things you’ve never thought of trying before, learn more and more about where your food comes from, yet still sometimes lie awake wondering if it’s enough.
Every day that you choose to think about what goes in your mouth or whose skin you’re no longer wearing, you’re making a difference. Every day we are faced with the choice to either buy products that something (someone) was harmed or killed for, or not. You’re not providing the demand companies need from you to keep thriving. Your peers are watching. Your choices make a difference. Your education makes a difference.
You may only be one person but one person-worth of change is all you are responsible to make. Take that responsibility seriously and stand tall in your choices. You’re doing the right thing and though it’s not your responsibility to make everyone else follow, perhaps someday they will. In the end, the planet, the animals, and your health will all be grateful. X