DR. JOY'S LETTER
The reality is that you don’t need everyone to understand you right away. Sure, wouldn’t your life be so much easier if your partner was vegan too? If your mom didn’t have to cook “special” food for you? If your friends wanted to go to the same vegan restaurants with you? But before spending all your energy fighting over this, you should know that slowly planting those seeds and leading by example is much more effective. And until they see the world the same way you do, you don’t need them to be vegan too; you just need them to support you.
Dr. Melanie Joy gives tips on improving relationships with the people around you. You need to know that they support you and understand you, even if they don’t have the same belief system. One of my favorite tools that she presented is her letter to a nonvegan. Try sharing this letter and if they are not willing to listen, that also says a lot about your relationship with them, and that is something you should consider.
As you know, being vegan is an incredibly important part of who I am. Vegan beliefs and values are central to my life. If I feel like you don’t understand this major area of my life, I feel unseen and like I can’t really be my authentic self with you, like I have to keep parts of myself out of our relationship. So, I end up feeling less connected with you than I want to be. Because I want to feel more connected with you, I want to be able to share information about veganism with you—not to try to change you or make you vegan, but so you can understand me. Basically, I need to know that you know what the world looks like through my eyes, and that’s only possible if you understand
enough about veganism and what it means to be vegan. By “enough,” I mean sufficiently for me to feel that you really get the issue, and you get me.