I posted this on the VLV FaceBook page a couple of weeks ago after a few spot fires I had been dealing with all converging around the same time. I hope you get something out of it as others have. I'm calling it my Vegan Compassion Manifesto.
I’m always thinking about communication - especially online - and how we can learn to be more effective with our choice of words, the way we communicate them, and being mindful of how both of these may make others feel.
It takes a lot of strength to vocalise how we’re feeling, it takes a lot of strength to listen to others we don’t agree with, and especially to admit when we could have all done something better. I’ve personally been dealing with a lot of spot fires lately where communication isn’t bringing out the best parts of ourselves.
I try to always be open-minded, non-judgemental, and have non-attachment. I’ve been working on the past two for the last few years, and it’s really helped my head and heart. I’m human and fallible, and do sometimes make mistakes and upset people. I am open to learning how to communicate in better ways and learn about myself more in the process.
I always thought I was quite pragmatic and somewhat (!) realistic, but have recently had a few buttons pushed that made me realise I’m quite idealistic. I fully believe that we are all doing the best we can in the best way we know how. In marginalised and niche groups (like veganism/Animal Rights still is) we need all the support we can get - from each other, and from our allies.
I don’t agree with any group 100% and haven’t met someone I’ve ever agreed with 100% either. That’s one of the things I enjoy about meeting new people, making new friends, and creating tribes: working out the places where our beliefs and goals overlap, getting people to work on these things together, and agreeing to disagree when needed to create the changes we’re all so desperate to achieve.
I fully respect other people’s opinions, and am 100% behind people being free to express themselves - whether or not I agree with them in any way. I’m a lot less emotionally-driven and reactive than most people, and I attribute that to having a healthy balance of real-life and online-life, good boundaries, focus on non-judgement and non-attachment, and really awesome friends and family. I am mindful and empathetic towards people who react (instead of act) online due to their own personal issues and past traumas.
BUT I really don’t like people telling me what I should do, what I should think, what I should be, and who I should be friends with. I’ve always been like this, and the more people tell me to do something the less I’m going to. Does anyone really respond well to this?!
This world is truly upsetting most days, but it’s also magical. I look towards the magic and the beauty, and aim to share this most of the time. I listen to people, I read articles, books and magazines, I watch movies and TV, I listen to music, and I travel - to learn about what makes people tick, what inspires others, and what their passions are. I love learning new things - especially when it’s outside of my comfort zone and triggers long-held beliefs. I am open and take the best parts of things into my “knowledge tool box” and forget the rest. This is how I get through the days - especially the long, tiring, draining, and negative ones.
I’d love to hear how you learn from those you don’t have much in common with. I’d love to learn the conversations you have with people who mainstream want to class as “the other”. I am focused on finding the things that connects us, the things we have in common, and truly don’t believe in segmenting ourselves even further than we already do.
Please be kind and compassionate to each other.
I believe in you, I believe in me, and I believe together we can make some truly wonderful things happen.
Are you in?
- Published: 10 March 2017
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