Tips and advice for when people criticise you
Living vegan, realistically, often comes with being criticised for your food choices and beliefs, especially when it comes to vegan parenting and what non-vegan people often see as imposing your beliefs on your child.
People often give vegan parents unsolicited advice or strong accusations. While some of that, especially if it is from a loved one, comes from them caring about your and your child’s wellbeing, it can be mentally strenuous having to always fight back and prove yourself.
Suppressing your thoughts and emotions isn’t good either, so here is what you can try instead.
- Acceptance: Accept the fact that not all people perceive the world the way you do, and think about the fact that people’s views often vary. If it helps, keep in mind that it all comes from concern and try to see things from their point of view. Try this sentence: “I am thankful for your advice, and I know it comes from a place of concern for the baby, but I have researched lots, spoken to my doctor (hopefully), and I have consulted a nutritionist. I wouldn’t do anything that harms my child. In fact, I think this is healthier, which is why I choose to do it.”
- Communication: Depending on your relationship with them and their willingness to receive information about the subject, you can try communicating your reasons and try to break through any misconceptions about veganism.
- Agreeing to disagree: Knowing when it is best to remove yourself from the conversation and move forward will save a lot of your time and energy. If someone isn’t willing to listen, don’t try to make them.
- Staying true to your values: Make sure to set boundaries and stand up for what you believe in. And while it’s important to be open to different opinions, it’s also important to stay firm on your beliefs. You can politely but assertively explain your beliefs, present evidence to support them, and allow for civil debates, or choose not to engage in any conversation.
- Keep it a secret, or don’t tell the truth: When acceptance, communication, agreeing to disagree and standing up for yourself don’t work, there is another way out. In my humble opinion, protecting yourself from stress while pregnant is also a healthy choice for you and for your child. For people you do not know well, you can simply avoid answering a question, though that often indicates an answer in itself, or plainly — don’t tell the truth. When it comes to protecting one’s own headspace, I can appreciate the freedom of lying. I’m not encouraging you to lie, but the truth isn’t the best option at all times, either, and I’m merely pointing out that it is an option.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how best to handle the situation.