It's easy to get angry when someone disagrees with us. Maybe not over small things, but big issues, especially things we're passionate about. There's a reason people use that rule of not discussing religion or politics in public. Sometimes you even may want to kind of talk down to people. It's easy to think of people as idiots, dumb asses, morons and so on and so forth. It seems that's how various 24 hour news channels fill a lot of their time, putting down anyone who disagrees with them. I had an experience last week where I was severely put down by someone because of my beliefs, and I have to be honest, it was painful. The first insult came when someone in my family who knows that I believe in being kind to the earth, decided to launch a military verbal strike against environmentalists, any "idiot" who believes in climate change, and basically anyone who believes in science. This person was talking with so much rage that it was almost scary. Like I almost thought I could get my ass kicked for believing in climate change. The next day, the same kind of situation arose when the same person asked me if I like a certain artist, and I gave the wrong answer by saying yes. Clearly the correct answer was no. My truth led to a very angry diatribe, with some mid level racism thrown in for extra credit. Whoever you are, whatever side you're on, whatever your belief system is, when you silence someone by yelling, or name calling, you haven't won anything. You haven't helped your cause, if anything you've hurt it. When I was silenced this past weekend, it wasn't because I conceded to the fact that this person was right, and climate change isn't happening, I quieted down because saying anything else would only result in further name calling. I prefer to save my energy for battles that might make a difference.
I'm writing about my experience last weekend because it really hurt my feelings to be so insulted. I certainly don't expect the world to share my viewpoints, but I am no more or less of an idiot than anyone else out there fumbling around, trying to make the world a better place. I see a lot of anger in the vegan community at times, a lot of differing views of how we should eat, how we should look, who we should support, and not support, and so on and so forth. I don't want vegans to be hostile and downright mean to people who disagree, or aren't all the way there yet. When you get so verbally assaulted, you don't want to learn more about the other point of view. You want to run away from the mean people.
Last weekend's events kind of tied into me learning more about The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. The first agreement is Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity, speak only out of truth and love, and don't use your word against yourself or others. Pretty powerful stuff. I'm working on this first step, and it's hard. It's hard to use only good words. I notice that while I'm not a gossipy person, when I'm at work and everyone's talking bad about everyone else, it's easy to fall into that toxic sandpit.
I hope we can at some point learn to be more tolerant of differing ideas. Maybe if we were willing to learn more about other views, and try to practice empathy, maybe we could make more positive changes. I prefer the gentle fairy dust approach, as opposed to hammering my opinions in your face.