When being compassionate drives you away from other people.


March 2, 2016 by Cláudia

I have seen videos of violence against animals. I have seen them suffering. I don’t want to be part of that anymore, and I’m not.

This was the best decision I ever made. But now I feel disconnected with everyone else. When I see a steak I imagine a cow or a pig, the images of those poor animals are stuck inside my head, how they suffer, how they are mistreated.

I never talk about animal rights unless people ask me about my diet or the conversation flows in that direction. I never shame nor attack meat eaters and I don’t prescribe or subscribe to that attitude for one minute. I feel like if I really were to engage that conversation with the people that matter to me, my view of them would change and our friendship would too. So there is this boundary that prevents me and the people that matter to me to get into ideological debates that would make us antagonize.

But sometimes, other people don’t respect that boundary: they talk about how veganism annoys them, how animal rights activists annoy them. I also feel like many times I am being dismissed as being too sensitive “oh, she’s a vegetarian” is the response to a lot of things I am trying to say. Or that fact is introduced in a conversation as something funny about me – curiously enough, studying literature is also something that is pointed out as amusing. Everything that defines me the most, and that I am most proud of, is turned into a carnivalesque cartoon of me.

Perhaps because I don’t talk about it too often with people that don’t follow the same ideas, I am mistaken for not passionate or not staunch enough. But I am. I’ve made this decision and I believe in it deeply, so don’t go and tell me it’s stupid. I wouldn’t make fun of your convictions.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that it’s hard to be in an ideological minority. I don’t want to become an eremite or be surrounded only by people exactly like me, but also it’s difficult to digest that my closest friends-boyfriend-family are all part of the cruelty that I’m trying to fight against. It’s like I’m personally their friend but ideologically their enemy.

To have a minority ideology is always like this. You believe in it so much, you’ve seen the cruelty that is involved, you believe there is a better way, but you are… alone.

I want to be a peaceful animal rights activist, that is in harmony with everyone else, and I manage to do that most of the time. But there are times, specially after watching something particularly shocking or emotive, that I cannot help it but to react emotionally. These times, I take it personally. I get angry at the ones that are around me.

I still haven’t figured out how I can fight for what I believe in and remain a tolerant peaceful human being that accepts everyone for who they are. It seems paradoxical but if I am attacking people, then I am not acting accordingly to what I believe in either. On the other hand, if I am condescending, it seems that I am allowing the injustices to continue to exist.

It is hard to be a human being.


13 thoughts on “When being compassionate drives you away from other people.

  1. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    I can’t stand how animals are treated. They are giving their lives for us. The least we can do is be humane. I was a vegetarian for 12 years. My husband is a meat and potatoes guy, and I caved. We do, however buy our meat from a nearby farm were the animals live well, and their death day is right there, and quick. They are happy until the last moment. I won’t eat pigs or chickens or fish that are over-fished. I try to eat locally. I don’t know. There are just so many things not to eat, I end up not eating much. My husband is away a lot, so when he is gone I eat how I want, which is rice and veggies. Anyway…sorry to go on about it, but I really love animals.

    I have so many soap boxes, mostly about how we treat our earth, but I won’t make a whole post out of that right here, haha!

    I honor your vegetarianism, your reasons, and standing up to people who think it’s weird. It is my preferred way to eat.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. ravenstag says:

    Not everybody has to be an activist. They do their thing. You can do your thing. In the end we’re all in the same battle. Everybody counts.

    What I want to say is: the more people will – at least – pay attention to their plates, the better. There are just various ways of making a change.

    Have you noticed that maybe you’re an example that a person with different preferences is not a fanatic? Many people still have this stereotypical vision of an angry vegetarian in their minds. Too much loud resistance will only bring more resistance. That’s why people like you are important in this. They restore the balance.

    We have changed but we can’t force the other people to change. Sometimes we can have an influence on the others but it’s not like it’s entirely up to us. It’s a delicate thing.

    At least that’s what I think right now.
    I agree that it is just hard to be a human being.

    Take care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree with that. Not everyone has to fight for my battle and that’s completely okay. We can provide an alternative but not force the person to take it.
      It just gets lonely sometimes, or ungrateful. It seems like we’re not doing much of a difference when things continue to happen despite me doing this or that.
      But change happens one person at a time, and I am already doing the best I can.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, it really means a lot. Being human is hard: to have responsibility, choice is a lot more complicated than it may seem.
      A big thank you and best wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. carolinejud says:

    I completely agree. Don’t ever forget that you are never alone in this. Though there are not many people who are vegan, there are an abundance of people with the same views. Socializing with others that are not vegan is really difficult sometimes (a lot of hippy jokes) but I recommend shutting them down in a friendly way. I always like to joke about how drinking milk makes no sense aha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • On an intellectual level, I know that I am not alone in this, it’s just that on my daily life I seem so disconnected from the rest of the vegan community…
      But the Internet is really good with this, I can connect again, and relate.
      I am trying to do that 🙂 thank you for taking time to comment and for sharing, it really means a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wake38 says:

    I wasn’t expecting this when I read the title. I sing your sentiments, as well. My niece was watching a video on the mistreatment of animals, in particular, cows and chickens, years ago that gifted me with a choice. It left a big impression on me. I changed my lifestyle in part because of this video by becoming Pescatarian.

    I am not against anyone who eats meat, but I do believe it is our – the consumers responsibility to hold distributors accountable for the inhumane treatment of animals. There may come a time when it doesn’t make me sick to my stomach to eat meat and when that day comes there is a huge amount of responsibility that will come with it. I hope that I can establish a great relationship with a local farmer that I trust to treat animals humanely. Until then, I will not play a part in this game.
    Now, onto your personal friends and family being an enemy of your ideology, I would like to add the advice that I got from Michael Pollan: Mindful Eating Author, in which he suggests that if a person can stomach the activities in a slaughterhouse, then they deserve exactly what they get, (my words) which can range from a belly full of poisonous beef or a nice juicy steak.

    In the end, I want the carnivores, omnivores and herbivores to strike a balance because we can all be advocates for the humane treatment of animals.

    Your passion, had I not already eliminated meat (for the most part) from my diet, would have quite possibly, pushed me over the edge. I mean that in a grateful way, of course. -W38

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Really, thank you! It’s hard to be see violence and cruelty and then see everyone just “supporting” or at least not doing anything about it.
      But I do understand that not everyone needs to fight my fights, my battle is not everyone’s battle and that’s okay. Thank you very much for the comment and for sharing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. realeyezlife says:

    Unfortunately for all of us, today’s America has become a “profits before people” nation thanks to terrible legislation like Citizens United..The only way Americans can fight back is by voting with your wallets first and then at the ballot next..If the only thing corporate Washington cares about is money..then don’t give it to them…It’s the only way to affect change these days..For example, if it’s not made in america by an american, I am not buying it..I am a one man boycott that still doesn’t have a “smart” phone because they are made in China and I am very proud of it..I’m a vegan as well for the reasons you mentioned above..but more importantly, it’s the healthiest way to live..Long story short, if my friends want to continue eating unhealthy foods and then they become sick later on in their life..all I can say to them is, “what do you from me? ” Keep being yourself and everything will fall into place because the future will on our side..Another great blog! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m in your corner and understand. Check out my blog. I think you’ll like it 🙂 Hang in there ❤ Also register for this webinar. I registered too. It's supposed to help people know how to be an activist without turning people off. Here's the link:

    Liked by 1 person

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