being vegan is not a personality trait

I often wonder what people think of me when they stumble upon my social media accounts and my website. 

Do they think this is all I do? Do they assume I am constantly talking about animal rights, environmentalism and veganism? Do they think I have no life outside of my blog?

When I decided to dedicate a big portion of my life to being an activist, a content creator, and provide tips and advice for those who wish to live a greener and more sustainable lifestyle, I didn’t expect this to become a problem.

I thought those who meet me will know that what I post on Instagram is not a representation of everything I am interested in. That writing 300 posts about veganism doesn’t mean I think about it all the time.

But that happened.

I’ve met wonderful people who thought we had nothing in common simply because they saw what I post on social media. I was called obsessed and indoctrinated just for wanting to create an online business that is focused on veganism and environmentalism.

It doesn’t help that some of the ex-vegans were addicted to being perfect vegans either.

I’m not really that worried about being perceived a certain way due to this part of my life – it’s just a fact that only people close to me know how diverse my interests are -, what I am worried about is that there are a lot of vegans who actually treat veganism as a personality trait.

There are beautiful souls who have a huge heart and so much passion for animal liberation that their whole identity is built on how vegan they are – how much of an activist they can be.

I’m not talking about animal rights activists whose job is to travel the world and give speeches on the topic of animal rights and animal cruelty, or authors and podcasters like Colleen Patrick-Goudreau or Rich Roll.

I’m talking about teenage girls who build their 15-minute careers on social media and get so obsessed with the idea of being perfect and vegan in every possible way, that eventually they have to realize perfection cannot be reached so they break down and get depressed.

There were so many youngsters who came out with videos where they explained they are not vegan anymore, and one of the things they always, always, always say goes something like this: I became afraid I wasn’t vegan enough; veganism became an identity.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds very scary to me. The fact that you get to the point in your online career where you cannot post anything that isn’t related to veganism because your followers might judge you for it, sounds cultish to me.

But that’s the reality. I’ve seen vegans who actually called out other vegans who said they are taking a break from activism, or that they want to try doing other things besides talking about animal rights, and demanded they apologize to other animals for being selfish.

It seems to me that the second you go public and declare yourself an animal rights activist, that becomes your identity and a personality trait by which you will be judged.

You are never vegan enough. You are never active enough. You are always judged for not doing bigger, better, grander things.

It sickens me that we have turned this important movement into a competition where we try to outvegan each other.

It’s not even about our fellow animals anymore! Homo sapiens yet again made itself the centre of attention.

I am asking you now, please do not let this beautiful movement ruin your life. Don’t define your worth by how active you are as an activist. Don’t think you are bad for taking a break – or not wanting to be an activist in the first place.

You are wonderful and you have much to offer. Do what makes you happy and don’t feel like you need to only do things that are related to veganism. Because when you do what makes you happy, whatever that thing is, people are drawn to you and they notice how you live your life.

If you have a blog or a business that is all about animal rights, step away from it daily. Do things that interest you. Be a unique human being with diverse hobbies and not a programmed puppet for those few vegan dictators who think you should not enjoy things that are not about saving lives of chickens and cows.

You are so much bigger than what you eat and wear and believe in. Veganism is a philosophy by which you live, not a religion that dictates who you are supposed to be.

I wrote about something similar here, if you want more from me on this topic. 

Only when we are living wholesome lives that fulfil us, can we be of better service to those who need us. It’s not about sacrificing our happiness because there are individuals who suffer. 

It’s about knowing you cannot bring joy to others if you don’t let yourself feel it first.

Tanja

being vegan is not a personality trait