Still being part of a minority can be very challenging and difficult for some vegans – especially transitioning vegans and new vegans, but long-term vegans as well – and it can quickly get lonely, especially when you’re the only one in your circle of friends and family, who made such an important life-changing choice.
As a long-term vegan though you probably got used to being among non-vegans and unfortunately are used to the unethical behavior towards animals and the wrong-thinking and doing – to the not yet discovered truth. I say, unfortunately, because this is something that can really get to you mentally. It can get really provoking in the worst case out of hurt egos in-between justifications of misbehaving mixed with guilt caused by their own consciousness.
This post is focusing on why it is sooo important as a vegan to be among other vegans and how we can deal with it and especially in certain situations.
YOU CAN’T CHANGE EVERYONE’S VIEW
The most important thing to know and to accept is: you can’t change everyone’s view. Some people are so deeply stuck in their own habits, as their existence is built upon the structure of eating animals in order to function or to focus on other things in their life. Meaning: they don’t think about their diet and who it is involving – at all. For carnists, it has always been like that and it scares them and challenges them to try out something new and get informed on things they don’t see a worthful reason in, as they didn’t understand the concept of vegan ethics. And they don’t want to, because it would mean they would have to change something. It’s definitely a vicious cycle.
Can you love animals and/or respect someone’s life, but kill them? No, you can’t.
CONVENIENCE, HABITS, AND CRITICISM
There are definitely animal eaters. While some will think and change, there are also the ones who will literally fight for a reason to keep on doing what they’re doing with sometimes illogical justifications – of course, because no one likes to be criticized on what they’ve been doing all their lifelong and what they got taught by their parents. It’s also hard to see and accept the truth and what someone is paying for: animal cruelty. The majority of people state that they’re against animal cruelty and could never hurt an animal. But can you really love animals and/or respect someone’s life, but kill them? You can’t. It doesn’t go together and that’s when speciesism (click to open the brochure by The Vegan Society) comes in.
Speciecism is favoring one species of animals over another. Therefore some species of animals get devalued due to tradition and habits. Animal Equality is perfectly describing speciesism:
Thinking that animals are inferior and we can use them solely because they were born with features such as fur or feathers instead of human skin is an irrational and unfair prejudice towards other species, known as speciesism. Speciesism overlooks our sameness – sentience – and as with racism and sexism, those without power suffer so that someone else can gain.
There are also some people won’t back down from their strict view on ‘having to eat animals and animal products’ – no matter how hard you try to educate them in different ways and approaches (ethical, environmental nutritional), no matter how many facts you’d be able to give them, they’ll always build up walls. That’s when you’ll realize, that you can’t change everybody, but focus on the ones who are interested and try to approach them on the value level.
It can be mentally straining for vegans to try to change animal eaters minds – especially among family and friends – and it’s definitely not worth your time when others are more open to hearing what you’re saying and trying to show them. Focus on those people.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING AMONG OTHER VEGANS
As a vegan you still get lots of negativity on a daily basis: comments on your food, quite a lot of judgemental (also interested) questions to justify your lifestyle – and it’s not always a lot of fun to answer them over and over again –, manipulative advertisements out in the public and the constant presence of people eating and wearing animals. Let’s not forget the big section at supermarkets selling the secretions and flesh of killed animals. It is a different kind of world vegans live in – a more transparent one – and it can get very lonely and tough sometimes, still being part of a minority among others.
Having vegan friends or maybe family members is not only a question of convenience when choosing what to do or where to go out to eat or at family feasts, but also to be truly understood. To be able to be your most honest self and to be able to talk about topics that are bothering you and move you, without getting the feedback of pushing your opinion and views down somebody else’s throat (most likely to happen if you talk to non-vegans about vegan topics) as they feel criticized in their doing by their own consciousness.
It’s important to be able to talk about topics and situations that make you think, which are present each and every day. It is so important to be around people, who have the same view on life as you do. It is so important to exchange experiences in order to find comfort.
There’s a great chance, that you’ll feel overwhelmed with certain situations at times, depending on how personally invested you are in vegan activism of any kind or the topic in general and how much you let it get to you. Sometimes there are situations or words said, which are just too much to handle on your own. Therefore it is important to share it with fellow vegans.
We also highly recommend committing to ‘The Liberation Pledge’ in order to form a safe environment around you at a table, where you can be yourself without having to think about the cruelty and violence towards animals when looking at somebody else’s plate having a dead animal body on it.
HOW TO GET TO KNOW OTHER VEGANS
This, of course, is something every new vegan asks oneself if they do not already have a strong circle of vegan friends and/or family. Especially when they’re the only ones who make the change on their own – as they came across vegan material or got educated through talks at Anonymous for the Voiceless demos or at workshops or talks at events. And that’s exactly where you find other vegans: at talks, workshops, street activism, vegan Facebook groups or simply searching through Instagram. Join your local Anonymous for the Voiceless ‘Cube of Truth’ or join vegan Reddit groups, or vegan events in your city or close by or start your own to get to know others.
THE VEGAN COMMUNITY SAFE PLACE
When you’re feeling down and/or overwhelmed by the violence and cruelty that’s happening on a daily basis, actively do something against it. Lots of activists find fulfillment in actively talking to people face to face at an Anonymous for the Voiceless ‘Cube of Truth’ in order to see and feel the instant change in some people. In order to get an instant reaction of empathy and realization out of someone. Activists also do that, to be with and among other vegans, who feel just the same and support each other by only standing strongly together for the animals!
The vegan community is a strong one, a safe place. We promise you – you’ll never be alone in this.
Please note: All definitions of words and/or stated facts are based on the correct terminology and are carefully research and the sources taken are linked here or directly in the blog post. This blog post is also stating a personal opinion and views on certain topics.
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