By : Nikki Savage
I consider myself a pretty open minded person. I am open to listening to another point of view even if I wholeheartedly believe the opposite of what is being said. But it all comes down to how it is being said.
I cannot listen to people preach with anger. Just can’t do it. As soon as the anger is there, I feel an immediate wall go up inside me. Not because I think no one is allowed to be angry. I get anger. Oh trust me I do. But anger isn’t meant to last so it can’t be part of a lasting message.
I was at a party a few years ago and made myself a plate of food that included a burger. A woman I didn’t know decided to single me out and convert me to veganism. I politely tried to listen while she berated me for my meat-friendly diet. She went on for at least 10 minutes of what was feeling a lot like harassment. Now I’m all for vegan and vegetarian living. I’m also all for being patient. But I lost my patience and my vegan-curiosity as I took an obnoxiously big bite of my burger letting the juice drip down my chin in response. It was the end of our conversation.
Thing is, it never was a conversation. I can say that she truly believed in what she was speaking on and was definitely passionate and knowledgeable. I tried to listen. But she was so full of contempt and pushing her views in a way that I found repulsive instead of inviting. Who wants to get down with some angry person at a celebration? Not me. In fact, I made sure she saw me grab some pepperoni that I probably would have skipped otherwise just to make sure she knew it.
While still carnivorous, I am working towards a more sustainable diet that fits my budget and works for my family. It is a process. I’m not going to get my meat and potato peeps to give it up overnight and I sure as sugar ain’t getting them to make the switch by shaming them. That holds true for anything and everything. Shame, anger and resentment don’t make good foundations.
We all have to understand it takes all kinds to make a world. We each have our different priorities for our different reasons. If we want to help facilitate a shift in thinking, habits or beliefs, we have to honor and respect the fact that not everyone is coming from the same place or experience. If we want to be changemakers, our best bet is to seek to inspire and educate when we speak on our passion. We need to just live and exude our truth and trust that those on a path seeking that truth will find us. We need to share our passions, not push them.
In your journey, what has worked for you when you’ve worked to facilitate a change? How do you share your passion?
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