Based on a recent survey we did with our podcast listeners, going vegan without the support of your family or friends is a struggle that a lot of people share when going vegan.
My story is exceptional in that I knew when I was just 7 years old that eating animals was a hard “No.” It didn’t matter to me one bit that nobody I knew was vegetarian. At 15 I fully understood the suffering of all farm animals and went fully vegan and knew my purpose in life was to save animals. My compassion for animals ran so deep that ridicule was not a deterrence. (My family followed in my footsteps and went vegetarian and then vegan as well!)
However, in this podcast episode, our listener Stephanie talks about her journey. She represents our listeners to a much higher level. In this episode, Stephanie shares her personal story, discussing what went down each of the 4 times she attempted to make the transition to a vegan lifestyle. It took 4 attempts before it stuck, and she has dissected the reasons why, all of which are likely to resonate with others in similar positions.
In short, here are the reasons:
Stephanie’s family was quick to remind her that she was raised by farmers and that her family’s background in farming was how she was afforded a comfortable upbringing. Family guilt!
Stephanie’s insecurity as a new mom, being told by others that her children would not thrive on a plant-based diet, led her to succumb to “mom-guilt!”
Stephanie’s overall lack of self-confidence caused her to give in to what was comfortable and safe. She wasn’t confident in her choices and wasn’t able to counter the criticism and ridicule from others from a place of compassion and education.
Attempt #4 (Success!):
Here are the self-realizations as to why Stephanie was successful…
- Stephanie realized that her relationships are equally important as her life choices. She concluded that other’s thoughts and feelings about her choices are not important, but her relationships are important. This is a distinction that takes a lot of self-awareness and self-confidence!
- Stephanie realized that she was the one changing the rules, so she was required to fuel her own progress with empathy toward the people in her life, giving up the idea of perfection in relationships. There were going to be tough conversations, and she was able to be assertive instead of aggressive.
- She was able to embrace a vegan lifestyle with the consideration of being the caretaker of her three kiddos. She was able to set boundaries and not succumb to handle her “mom guilt.” She had to step back and explore her conflicting feelings with, as we say in VLCA, approach her thoughts with curiosity and compassion. From that place, she has been able to navigate the changing dynamics within her family.
- Stephanie made the transition solely about herself. She went vegan in “stealth mode,” didn’t make a big announcement until she had established her vegan lifestyle with confidence.
Once she felt good about her own journey, Stephanie started sharing her new lifestyle with her family and friends.
In doing so, she noticed that most of the time, people she told went through 5 stages. The stages, which she describes in-depth in the episode are: