Share Your Own Story
When we speak from the heart, and share our own story, we invite others to see the world through our eyes, and to see veganism from a different, and more empowering, perspective.
When someone asks you why you’re vegan, how do you answer?
Do you tell them all the reasons they should be vegan, listing all the facts and figures about animal suffering, environmental destruction, and public health problems? Or do you tell them why you, personally, became vegan—which, after all, is what they asked you about?
Sharing your own story is often the most powerful, and respectful, way to raise awareness about veganism. Nobody can make your story wrong, and when you share your experience you avoid “shoulding” others, which is usually disrespectful. You’re less likely to be met with defensive reactions and you’re more likely to be responded to with openness.
Sharing your story is just what it means: describing your journey to veganism.
Here are some tips on how to effectively share your story.
- Keep your story as short as possible. Only share the key messages so you don’t bog down the listener with unnecessary information.
- Start your story from before you were vegan, remembering and expressing what it was like for you as a non-vegan. This helps you to stay empathic toward the non-vegan and it helps you both to feel more connected.
- Share the psychological defense mechanisms you used before you were vegan. For example, explain the ways you didn’t make the connection between meat and animals (if you’re unfamiliar with these defenses, check out carnism.org).
- Mention points that are especially important to the other person, as long as you can do this honestly. For example, if they are health-conscious, mention how your health has improved by going vegan.
- Avoid judging yourself or others. Don’t say, for example, that you were a “hypocrite.”
- Avoid describing graphic animal suffering, which is disrespectful to a listener who hasn’t asked to hear that information and which often causes people to shut down to your message.
- And share the positives of veganism. Don’t just focus on all the negatives of carnism.
Here’s an example of what you might say:
“I grew up with a dog who I loved, and I also grew up eating meat. And I never thought about the fact that I was eating meat from animals who had once been conscious and intelligent, just like my dog. I just didn’t make the connection between the meat on my plate and the living animal it once was. But one day I was exposed to information about animal agriculture and I was shocked and horrified. I stopped eating meat, and then eventually I stopped eating dairy and eggs. And to my surprise, I actually became a lot healthier in the process.”
When we speak our truth, and we speak from the heart, we invite others to see the world through our eyes, and to see veganism from a different, and empowering, perspective.