Nov. 15, 2011
Compassion Goes Both Ways (Being Nice to Meat Eaters)
This question keeps popping up in my inbox -- so I thought I'd address it here on the blog:
I am having a hard time being "nice" to people who eat meat.... ugh, Any advice?
I've mentioned before how its vital that you LEAD BY EXAMPLE and encourage rather than belittle or tear down. Think of all the times someone picked on you for your habits -- don't return that behavior to someone else.
Trust me, I know how frustrating and difficult it can be to coexist and communicate with people who do something that you view as morally wrong, but being kind, nonjudgmental and gently encouraging is the way to go.
I think the most important thing to remember is that we were all once in their position. Most of us did not grow up as vegans or vegetarians. At one point or another, we were all meat-eaters and dairy-eaters, or SAD dieters too -- just like them. While you've made the switch to a healthier diet (hooray!) know that other people aren't there yet. They might not be ready or they might not be informed. Or maybe they just came to a different conclusion. The last thing we want to do is scare them off from our lifestyle!
I always say, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
Don't push your lifestyle on someone else. You don't want to force someone to change against their will -- you want them to want to make a positive change -- the change has to come from within -- and that is accomplished through encouragement and kindness and leading by example! (Do I sound like a broken record yet?)
You don't want someone to power down and be defensive. You want them to be open to the possibility and curious.
Foster an attractive environment. If you are happy and loving life and grunting with joy as you eat your meal, other people will come see what the fuss is about and ask you how you got your glow! Trust me.
Remember, you can still be "nice" will giving your opinion -- there is a very distinct line between being informative and ranting or being rude to someone who has different beliefs than you.
I've tried all the approaches and let me tell you, being information, and nonjudgmental, has the best success rate.