Am I Doing Enough? Vegan Advocacy in Action
Once I fully made the connection, immediately began regretting all those years wasted prior…like so many of us do. I slowly recovered from that intense guilt by delving headlong into whatever form of activism I could find. From keyboard warrior to direct action on the streets to moments of quiet reflection gently encouraging those closest to me to make their own connections.
However, I've had my fair share of moments where I questioned whether I was doing enough for the animals. One instance stands out in my mind, where I found myself feeling guilty for not being on the front lines of activism with the factory farm witnesses. I remember standing on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, handing out leaflets and gently encouraging people to consider the impact of their food choices on the environment and animals. But as I watched videos of brave activists chaining themselves to factory farm gates and watering the gentle non-human animals in “livestock” trucks, I couldn't help but feel like I wasn't doing enough. I felt guilty (once again) for not being more "hardcore," and I wondered if my efforts were making any real difference at all.
But then, I had to remind myself that every little action counts. It's not about being the biggest or loudest activist out there - it's about doing what we can, with the resources and skills we have, to make a positive impact in the world. As I began to explore this idea further, I realized that many other vegan advocates struggle with similar thoughts and emotions.
So, I pledged to give back in ways that were in my wheelhouse; I vowed to use my personal experience and years of education to give back to my community through mental health. I could no longer stand by without helping fellow advocates navigate the complex world of vegan activism and self-doubt. Allow me to share some effective and actionable strategies for managing feelings of guilt, anxiety, and inadequacy, while exploring the different ways in which we can all make a difference in the lives of animals.
It's all too easy to fall into the trap of self-doubt and comparison. When we see others doing "bigger" or more visible acts of activism, it can make us feel like we're not doing enough. This constant comparison can have a negative impact on our mental health, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. It is more important than ever to remember that every act of vegan advocacy, no matter how big or small, makes a difference.
Here are five actionable ways to manage these negative thoughts and emotions:
1. Celebrate small victories: Don't underestimate the power of small victories. Whether introducing a friend to veganism or choosing a plant-based option at a restaurant, every little bit helps. Celebrate these small victories and use them as motivation to keep going.
2. Find your community: Joining a vegan community can be a great way to connect with like-minded individuals who understand the struggles and challenges of vegan advocacy. Not only can they offer support and encouragement, but they can also provide new ideas and perspectives on how to approach vegan activism.
3. Focus on the gray areas: Vegan advocacy is not always black and white. There are often gray areas where we may not have all the answers. Instead of getting stuck in these gray areas, focus on the areas where you have knowledge and experience. This can help build confidence and reduce feelings of self-doubt.
4. Practice self-compassion: Remember that you are only human and that it's okay to make mistakes. Practice self-compassion and kindness towards yourself. Don't beat yourself up over perceived failures or mistakes. Instead, use them as learning experiences and opportunities for growth.
5. Take a break: Vegan advocacy can be emotionally taxing. It's important to take breaks and practice self-care when needed. This can include anything from taking a day off from social media to engaging in relaxing activities like yoga or meditation.
Vegan and animal rights advocacy can be challenging, but it's imperative to remember that every little bit helps. By celebrating small victories, finding a supportive community, focusing on what you know, practicing self-compassion, and taking breaks when needed, you can manage the negative thoughts and emotions that come with self-comparison and be a more effective advocate for animal rights.