I had one of my best Christmas's yet last year. It was the first time my family had been together for Christmas in years. We rented a beautiful house in Byron Bay (one of my favourite places ever), it was the best feeling to be there with the people I love and care for most. It was also the first Christmas my boys were finally at that age to understand what it was about. They loved seeing Santa everywhere and of course loved all the presents.
Although there were so many amazing things about this special time it also brought it's challenges: seeing my loved ones consume meat. I've always found seeing anyone eat meat hard but when it's the people you love and care about it is REALLY hard. I even had moments where I had to get up and walk away from where the meat consuming was happening.
My partner and brother-in-law whom I love both deeply cooked bacon one day, when I saw this it felt like daggers to the heart. I instantly felt so much compassion for the pig that had to suffer a life of abuse and torture to end up on their plates. I was full of anger and resentment to this world, wishing so badly that all animal cruelty would just stop.
I felt helpless and lost all faith in humans. I needed to walk away and just breathe. It's both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply. For a moment I wished I didn't have so much compassion for animals but then I snapped out of it and started to think clearer.
My compassion is part of me, it makes me who I am. Although it is hard at times my compassion is one of my best qualities I am so very grateful to have it. There were few other things that helped me out of the difficulty of watching loved ones consume animals and I'd love to share them with you. I hope these tips can help you if you have this struggle too.
1. It's not their fault. They are simply unaware. Unfortunately we live in a world where eating meat is acceptable (slowing changing thank goodness), the meat industry keeps the violence inflicted onto animals well hidden. In their world they don't realise the torture and suffering behind a piece of bacon. I'm not saying it's right, it's still wrong they're just not educated enough YET to make the connection.
2. Accept that they have their own journey. Just like you and I we had our own journeys to living cruelty-free. I used to be just like them, having bacon and eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch and a steak for dinner that is until I learnt the truth. Have faith that they will get there eventually just like you did.
3. Act with kindness, love and compassion. The best way to get them to NOT be open to veganism is by judging or attacking them. Instead, accept where they are in life, focus on the things you do love about them. The kind things they do, the love they give to you and others. Don't feel like you need to lecture them or convince them to go vegan simply...
4. ...Show them documentaries. Rather than you do the talking let the experts do it for you. Watch documentaries with your loved ones. Having an outsider show them the facts is a powerful way to help them make the connection.
These tips have definitely helped me find more peace in dealing with the challenges that come with having so much compassion. I hope this has helped you to feel more at peace with your non-vegan loved ones and also to accept and love the compassion you feel. It's the most beautiful trait, I thank you for having it and for not ignoring it.
There are down times but the positives such as being a life saver and saving the planet completely out weigh the negatives. Let this give you comfort in the hard times.
What are your tips for dealing with your meat-eating family and friends? Please comment below we would love to hear :)