We have all been there, provoked and made fun of for being vegan, but how did you react? Some of us might have lost it and sent the other person to hell, others might have started crying because of the pressure, and then there are others who simply ignored and those that had the perfect answer already on their tongue.
We all have a different strategy when dealing with people who are trying to start an argument and all of us have gone through different stages, from being happy to answer to respond in anger.
But how can we stay a happy vegan when people try to put us down for living the way we do? There are a lot of ways on how to answer them without being the aggressive vegan most people expect us to be, but I will give you just two that are my favourite.
Ignore them and walk away, or refuse to let a sound leave your mouth. This is my favourite thing to do, I just smile politely and ignore their provocations, but you need to stay chill and not give the impression that you are being defeated. Which you are not. But they might think that you are, so you need to keep cool, have a relaxing smile and good vibes only. Let them KNOW that you are ignoring them so they can feel like a fool for making fun of someone that cares about the animals.
Or politely say that you do not wish to respond to them because they are not serious. You can say that you are open to an honest conversation and giving them any information they would like to know, but you refuse to respond to provocations.
Of course, it would be easier to get upset and answer them in an angry tone, but that would only rile them up even more, which would mean that you would have to deal with an even more annoying person than in the first place. There are a place and time for every response, but ignoring and refusing to respond until they are calm and collected are two that will definitely benefit veganism in the long run.
You must remember that as a vegan, even if you don’t want to, you are representing the whole movement and once a non-vegan sees an angry vegan, they get two steps away from becoming a vegan themselves.
It’s not about how badly we want to argue and how we cannot stand ignorant people, it’s about knowing that one sentence can give veganism a bad reputation and that animal lives are dependent on us. We must stay calm, nice and informative because of the animals, but passionate enough to not back down or forget about why we are vegan in the first place.
We can be angry, I said this a few times by now. Anger is normal and it is welcomed, it’s a natural human emotion, but as long as it doesn’t affect our lives and our activism; once it starts to interfere between us and other people, then it becomes a problem. You suck it up in public, get angry at home and then meditate and release the tension and hate that was stuck inside of you for good.
There are two quotes that I want you to read.
The first quote is by Malcolm X, he said: Usually, when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.
The second quote is by Buddha, he said: You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.
What do you think each one of them means? Does Malcolm X want people to be angry? Does Buddha want people never to be angry? What do you think both men meant with what they said? Which one of them is right?
Both are, actually.
You see, if you are not angry at animals being slaughtered you will not do anything to save them; that’s why most people are not doing anything. They are not angry about animal slaughter, so they do nothing about it.
On the other hand, when vegans are too angry about what is happening, they let anger lead their way and when that happens, you can guess the results. They see dark everywhere, they refuse to speak with anyone who isn’t vegan, they are not able to respond calmly to anyone who is interested in veganism and they are not taking care of themselves first, all because they feel angry about what is happening to the animals.
It’s not normal to be angry all the time, we would get in trouble. It’s also not normal to not be angry, we would be dead because it’s a human emotion. Don’t be an angry vegan, be a vegan that gets angry.
Anger blurs our minds and suddenly we are not able to see solutions and hope that is still there. You know how that works. We all watch a video of an animal being slaughtered now and then, and then we feel hopeless, for a second we hate the whole humanity and we cry. And two hours later, after drinking a good cup of tea and listening to some Mozart, we are hoping again and have faith in people.
An hour of anger is helpful, a life of anger makes you hopeless, so choose wisely what you will get angry at and how you will use your anger. Anger was behind every movement, but was never responsible for winning; it was always love.
Write in your notebook five things that make you the angriest at the moment related to animal cruelty. It can be anything from starving dogs to animal testing, slaughter, rape, torture, Zoos, the death of bees… anything that makes you the angriest at the moment.
Got it? Great.
Read them again and for every issue that angers you write down a solution to it. How can YOU take part in solving this problem? How can you be involved in solving this problem?
Now you have a solution to every issue that makes you angry. You might not be able to save all the animals, but you have a choice to do something about it and now you have the solutions written in your notebook. Every time you feel hopeless and helpless remember that you have five ways of helping the animals and that anger can be turned into action.
And if you are looking for some amazing animal rights activism ideas, I have a post full of resources here for you.
Make sure to follow me on Instagram where I share my best vegan tips and tricks.