One of the things that non-vegans often say they dislike the most is when vegans get all “preachy”. Personally, I disagree that telling the truth is preaching, but that’s a whole other topic. But vegans can still educate others and help animals without lecturing to get their message across.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about relationships with people who don’t share that same value of being vegan, because it comes up no matter what the relationship is ~ whether it’s romantic or a friendship or a business acquaintance. Food is such a big part of our lives and eating is integral to so many of our activities (not to mention what we choose to wear and what we do for entertainment).
For some, telling people straight out about the horrors that the animals suffer works – some people hear that and really get it. But sometimes they aren’t ready to hear it and get turned off.
There are others who take a softer approach and share their values that way. I know people who won’t consider a romantic relationship with someone who isn’t vegan, but there are others who do, knowing that their influence is still having an effect on their loved one. JL has written about having a non-vegan husband, and Ruby Roth just wrote a wonderful piece about her close friendship with a butcher. Every vegan meal that you prepare and share with others is saving lives and showing how delicious vegan food is.
And just by being a happy, shining example of someone who lives a vegan lifestyle can encourage others to learn more about it and potentially shift in that direction. Driving home from teaching a yoga class a couple of weeks ago, I was scanning through the radio stations and heard part of an Ariana Grande concert being streamed live. Right in the middle of the concert, someone asked about what she eats and she talked about being vegan. Now this cute, very successful young woman has millions of followers around the world, and she talks about how she became vegan and slams Seaworld. And those millions of people hear what she says and start to get the message – in fact, there are comments online about how her going vegan has convinced others to learn more and make the transition. I think that’s huge.
So for any vegans who don’t think you are doing “enough” to promote veganism ~ you are doing it just by living it. You don’t have to rev up for a grand lecture every time the subject comes up, but don’t run from it either. Share what you do and why with those you love and let your actions speak for themselves. After all, veganism is ultimately about compassion and love, so use that as your driving force and go make a difference!