What’s the hardest habit you’ve ever had to quit in your life?
Was it quitting the “binging and then complain about being fat” cycle?
Chocolate or masturbation (or both… together)?
Your only-gay-for-this-holiday lover?
Whatever it was – what I’m even more interested to know is – what exactly was your final inspiration to change. What was the ultimate catalyst? Was it that you envisaged how much better your life would be because of some stellar example-setters? (“I too could be happy/healthy/sexy/richer!”) Or was it that someone shamed you into change – and that horrible negative sentiment was enough of a motivation to wake up every day and maintain the change sans any positive inspiration?
I wonder, ‘cause I just have trouble believing that latter thing’s enough.
See, I was watching this vlog today (a rant really) done by a woman who happens to share my dietary proclivities. The other thing she shares (though I don’t share this in common with her) is her advice. Quite liberally. Alright maybe do I share that – but not this next bit… For instance, today she shared the following message:
“Everyone who’s not vegan deserves to die.”
Now, maybe it’s just me, but that seems a little – hmmm, what’s the word… extreme? Especially when your argument is that everything deserves to live and that if we need a reminder of the suffering animals endure pre-murder – to go and watch these slaughterhouse documentaries until you’re not hungry for anything – be it formerly sentient or not. Right – so, we’re going to kill one living thing (people) because they killed another living thing (animal)… but we agree that all living things… deserve to stay alive? And we shouldn’t kill any of ’em? For any reason?
But it wasn’t just the lack of logic behind that argument that bothered me.
What bothered me is that (while I don’t care what you, the reader, are eating right now) I don’t disagree with her about spreading what a great diet it is we both happen to have chosen. (Otherwise I wouldn’t be watching her stuff in the first place.) Rather, it’s the combo of the acrid manner in which she’s resorting to broadcasting it and the fact that she seemed so distraught over her inability to control what other people do. (#wecantcontrolothers #facts) Especially when she’s done all these other great videos spotlighting the attractive features of veganism. People should be in on the secret. It’s a luxury, really, if you can afford to eat ‘n live this way. Going from sick all the time to pretty much never? Check. Clearer skin and lower weight? Double check. Getting mistaken for being years younger? Gleeful check. It’s great. These are plenty’a positive things we can share to draw people in. Focusing on the resentful stuff? I just don’t get it. I mean – tell me if that works for you, personally. Really. Does it? Long term, I mean? Sure, I’ve been shamed into doing what people want before – but it doesn’t stick past a day or two. Diet included. I’ve tried it that way and within 24 hours, I was bellowing out the bacon pancake song and blissfully shoving bread embraced carcass parts in my face hole.
To really maintain a change, I need a positive motivating factor.
So do most people I know who’ve successfully kept an altered habit of any kind. In fact, that’s literally what I needed after years of trying to change and failing every time. I needed it to quit chemicals. I needed it to (try and) stop acting like an asshole. And I def needed it to find a diet that worked for me. And since this vlogger seemed so distraught – like she wasn’t being heard or like not enough people were getting the message – I offered my input:
Me: You’re a very educated woman when it comes to your dietary path and I can see that you care deeply about this matter. But we can’t force change on others. We can set examples – which you’re already doing a great job of with your vlogs – but beyond that, I haven’t met many people who changed a life-long habit because they were shamed into it. Habits are very hard to change. When they’re ingrained, they bring people a level of comfort. Denial then becomes a powerful enemy against altering our ways. I, for instance, wasn’t willing until I saw another very tranquil mannered Youtuber on here who showed how blissful and fulfilling being vegan can be. It came from a place of love. Love for animals, love for keeping a plant based diet, and even love people struggling to change – not resentment or wishes of ill will against those still desensitized to the suffering they indirectly cause. That compassion was attractive. It drew me in. Made me listen. After years of trying, the change came almost overnight for me. Keep trying. You’ve done great things but I’m sure you’re humble enough to know that we can all improve our approach. Have a beautiful day!
Then, of course the fans of her channel hopped on the comment artillery.
(Actually, just one):
Sarcastic commenter: Just because you like your vegan messages delivered as blissful and fulfilling mystical whispers does not mean everybody does. Different strokes for different folks! Keep trying and have a beautiful day! 🙂
The turn of my words into sarcasm did manage to make me snicker (well done, you.)
But I’d’ve been meeting him at his level had I acknowledged that or argued points.
So, instead, I followed my own advice (for once):
Me: Yeah, you’re right. While I stand by the compassionate approach, everyone’s got different tastes and I respect that. I will indeed keep trying! It’s all any of us can do. What was the catalyst that made you decide to become vegan? Or was it a lifelong thing?
No reply. Ever again.
People are all too eager to argue with you. But if you show a bit of open-mindedness – just enough to find a shred of truth in what they’re saying (even if you 99% disagree with ’em – or don’t like their sardonic nature), they dunno what the eff to do. Much like the vlogger he was defending, he had his digital guns out and ready to fire at me. I don’t like that setup. Or the general snarky nature. I mean, I’ve read far worse before – but that tone is characteristic of how people who are miserable themselves act (I know, because I frequently turn into a miserable wench and Daria-ism is also my defense during these times). Sad for him – but I’m not suffering ATM. I would be, though, if I lowered myself to that all too familiar level. So why match it? When I instead showed compassion for this poor dude who’s clearly suffering from dickhead-itis (by taking it to the next step and trying to connect – asking about his story), he just shut down. Never got a reply. I guarantee I would’ve had I educed my intrinsic bitchmouth versus blue-balling his comment cannon.
Heh. Who knew?
Compassion doesn’t just inspire things like dietary change.
It also silences the muhfuggin’ haters.