“I don’t care what others think of me”

I come across it again and again: vegans who say they don’t care how they appear to other people. They say they don’t give a rat’s ass about what people think about them or their opinions and habits. The argument goes like this: the only thing that counts is that meat eating is wrong, and we shouldn’t be afraid to say it. We should speak our truth, no matter if it hurts or isn’t comfortable or pallatable.

I think this argument is mistaken about the reasons why one could be gentle and compassionate. Yes, of course some people are afraid to hurt other people’s feelings etc (not that an attitude like that would be entirely without merit) and therefore are not very outspoken about the injustices they see. But other than that, being gentle, softspoken, non-judging and subtle, rather than being angry and explicit, can also be strategicAlienating other people doesn’t serve anyone, including the animals, because once people stop listening to you (and most will, if you ramble on too much or if they start feeling too guilty) they are outside of your sphere of influence.

So I would say: please, care about what others think of you and your message. It has nothing to do with vanity, or softness, or whatever. On the contrary, taking into account how you and your message are percieved is a requirement for changing hearts and minds.

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