Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them
to Jo using this easy form.
She would be happy to address your individual concerns
as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy,
practical applications, and living compassionately.
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answer questions that have already been addressed in
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I've recently converted to being completely
vegan. I am a college sophomore and have been slowly
going through the steps to become vegetarian and now
am vegan. My problem is that many people don't understand
why I am vegan. I don't want to see animals treated
poorly, held in captivity, and living in cruel situations.
People often get offended when I tell them that I am
a vegan. They think that I do it just to be a hassle
or that I do it because it's the "popular" thing to
do. How can I make them understand that it is what is
best for the planet, for the world, and for our species?
When people have an epiphany, as which
often occurs with novice vegans, they are usually exuberant
and anxious to share their newfound insights. Nevertheless,
outsiders are rarely enthralled with or receptive to
the personal revelations of others. This can be disheartening
and frustrating, particularly when a person feels she
or he is the bearer of urgent, life-altering information.
Knowledge can affect people only if
their minds and hearts are open to it. Those who are
disinterested will not be influenced regardless of the
zeal of the messenger. It can take an enormous amount
of emotional energy to try to convince an apathetic
person that what you have to say is important when she
or he couldn't care less. Most longtime vegans come
to realize this and tailor their efforts accordingly
by focusing on attentive audiences that express sincere
It is not necessary that friends, family,
relatives, or acquaintances understand your beliefs
in order for you to feel comfortable around them. However,
it is vital that they respect you by not ridiculing
your choices or asking you to defend them. Generally,
people who deride vegans are uninformed, embarrassed
about their own lifestyle, in a state of denial, or
feeling threatened. People who are secure in themselves
are more likely to ask questions out of a genuine desire
to learn and will also be more open to hearing you talk
about your reasons for becoming vegan. I created a "veganism"
(compassionate versions of conventional maxims) that
addresses these types of predicaments. It goes as follows:
Don't sing your song to a stone.
Sometimes the best way to handle a situation
is to ignore it. Try not to draw attention to yourself
or make a big deal out of being vegan when you are in
social settings. Be the finest example of kindness and
compassion that you can muster, even in the face of
hostility. Eventually, people will leave you alone,
respect you, or see you as a "curiosity." Then, when
they inquire about your veganism, it will be because
they are truly interested, not because it is forced
upon them. This will present the best opportunity for
you to inform and educate gently, without preaching.
In this way, the authentic seekers will become visible
and your song will be heard not by stones but by budding
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