By Morgan Davis ι May 23, 2014
Everyone is passionate about something. It is that passion that drives us to take action, and even though we are generally proud of that action, it can be difficult to articulate to others.
My choice has been to fight for animal rights and reduce animal cruelty for our consumption. I have taken a small stand in choosing not to eat meat. This decision has come after years of thought, quite a bit of research and some internal reflection. I’m certainly not done in this journey, as I would like to try on the vegan hat, and educate others about making conscious decisions, though I feel that I am making an impact right now.
Regardless of what stand you take, I think it’s important to love people and educate them. Making a personal choice to abstain from something is not a license to shame people who do not.
I have prided myself on not being “that vegetarian,” who would call you out at dinner or discuss unbecoming things at the table. I have admittedly made some sacrifice, when it comes to someone’s good intentions. I have knowingly eaten vegetable soup make in chicken broth, and later found (what I hope to be) a polite way of dropping some knowledge.
I am very fortunate that my battle is one of my own creation and that it is not even solely related to my own health and well-being. My fight is for others, although not completely selfless.
What I encourage you to do, if you have questions about someone’s lifestyle, is just ask. Talking to people is in its purest form, therapeutic. I would personally rather you challenge me to explain myself than overhear you making assumptions.
I sometimes get a little frustrated when someone asks, “Can you eat that?” I feel like people who ask that question don’t yet understand that I’ve made a choice not to eat certain things. What an opportunity to correct them! Sometimes I feel a little pretentious retorting with, “I CAN eat whatever I want. I CHOOSE not to eat that because I’ve chosen a vegetarian lifestyle” and I’m working on a better response. We’re all growing and talking only aids the growth and development.
People will let you know if they aren’t ready to talk, but you might just change their day by asking a simple question. We are, by our nature, at the same time loving the spotlight, and not getting enough opportunity to express ourselves.
The next time you encounter someone with a special circumstance, try asking them about it. You may just make someone’s day.
These are some of my favorite vegetarian resources, if you want to learn more: