I have been asked in different ways if I feel as though I am better than others because I am Vegan. And in all honesty, if that question needs to be posed, then that interaction most likely left the inquisitor feeling as though I felt I was in fact, better. And if they felt that way, it’s quite possible that in those moments I did feel more noble or deserving of all that is good than those that are not (yet) Vegan. I can certainly recall moments in my early days of Veganism where I felt a lack of love towards anyone that wasn’t making the same choice as me.
But more than a one-on-one discussion about possible feelings of superiority, I have witnessed non-vegans all across the internet making big claims that all Vegans think they are better than others. On the other side of that, I have witnessed many Vegans proudly proclaiming their supremacy over non-vegans. And all of this is wrong.
I’m a passion-fueled being which means that if I am doing something, it’s because I really, really care about it. If I’m labeling myself, and identifying with a group, it’s because I truly believe there is every reason in the world to do so. I am not usually one to label myself as it has always felt like some kind of trap, and simply an unnatural way of being. But I am Vegan, and I am proud of that. Veganism, for me, has been a journey and it continues to be an exploration of self and the world.
As I mentioned, passion is important to me, so I don’t simply do something lightly and move on–I give the things I care about my all. So, when I started on my path of Veganism I looked at it as though I needed to immerse myself in it; I needed to learn all that I could and I still do feel this way. I was quickly exposed to a plethora of new information on the cruelty of the animal agriculture industry. I learned that many organizations that claim to care about our health, do not care about our health. I learned that this planet that we all call home is struggling, and a main cause of that is due to our massive animal agricultural industry.
For the sake of staying on subject, I cannot begin to go into detail about all that I have learned that has led me to believe that Veganism is the very best choice that I could ever make. But I can tell you that when I learn of horrid acts of animal cruelty, I am sad. And when I see my brothers and sisters not caring about our dying Earth, I am angry. And when I see a friend in the hospital with Diabetes because they were never told by their health-care provider that a plant-based diet is what they need to stay healthy, I am frustrated. I want this world to be a better place; I want the home that we share to be a peaceful place for all sentient-beings, and I want our Earth and my brothers and sisters to be well.
I know there are many Vegans who do feel they are better than those who eat the flesh and secretions of non-human animals. But there are also many who don’t, and I am one of them. Veganism has been the single best decision I have ever made because it has made me, and continues to make me, a more compassionate person. As I was learning how to be my “new-vegan self” I had to relearn how to view the world and how to interact with others who were not vegan. And It was not easy at first–it was awkward and I had growing pains. But I am a thinker, and I always try to learn from life so, eventually, I learned how to be who I have always been, but, as a Vegan. And who I am is a compassionate, passionate, loving-child of the Earth. When I ask myself “why did I go Vegan?” the answer is simple: because I want to be the most compassionate person I can be. To be the most compassionate person I can be is to be compassionate in all ways and to all beings.
If we are to define our greatness by one choice in our lives, then we are missing every other opportunity to become even greater. Veganism has not only taught me to be more compassionate to myself, animals, and humans, but it has taught me that life is an opportunity to get it right. I know many non-vegans who dedicate their lives to helping others. I see simple acts of kindness and love carried out each day by those that eat animals. I learn how to be a better person from people of all walks of life.
Although I am Vegan because I believe (based on empathy and facts) with every fiber of my being that it is the right thing to do, I cannot decide that it makes me better than others who do so much to make this world a better place. All I can do is learn from them and hope that they can learn from me.
Do I want the world to go Vegan? Of course I do, but I will work towards this goal with compassion, not force.
I strive to be a decent human, I aim to teach what I learn, and I hope to inspire change. We can all do better, and we can all be better–I believe we can agree on that.
Love always & live well