I’m often asked how I navigate relationships with those who don’t understand or agree with my views and life choices. Most of my life I’ve been questioning the status quo and striving to trust and follow my intuition, or my ‘gut’, rather than what is considered ‘normal’ and comfortable within my social context. I think this is one reason I’ve always become interested in things like natural parenting, veganism and zero waste, and also why I was so drawn to anthropology (which I studied for 6 years at university). I’ve always wanted to understand better WHY we do the things we do, and think the way we think. It turns out our society, culture and evolutionary history have a far greater impact than we are usually conscious of on the way we see and interact with our world.
I often find myself called to ask “why?”, “how?” and “at what cost?” and consider if things make sense logically and intuitively to ME.
But, I also have come to understand that a) not everyone thinks this way or b) they do think this way and come up with conclusions, at this moment in their life, that are different than mine. Out of my friends and family, very few if any are into the same things as me, but I embrace and appreciate our differences as they give me a broader perspective. I also realize I have no control over what others think and do, and if I want to create an impact I have to think of the bigger picture. Expending energy and time trying to convince a few people who don’t agree with my choices or aren’t interested in making changes means I have less time and energy to engage with and inspire the millions of people in this moment who ARE feeling a call to make changes and ARE eager to learn new ways to align their life with their values.
I know that within my lifetime, and especially within Lily’s lifetime, there is going to be a massive shift toward a more conscious, compassionate, nurturing, just and self-reflective humankind.
For example, we already see huge change and transformation around the world as people are waking up and power structures are collapsing in the wake of movements like Me Too, Times Up, Black Lives Matter, and many more. I have a dream that just as we are realizing how unfair it is to treat our fellow human beings differently because of race, gender, sexual orientation etc, we are only moments away from a collective “ah ha” moment wherein we realize how unfair it is to love, care for and protect some animals yet kill and tear apart families of other equally innocent, intelligent and loving animals simply because of the species they belong to and part of the world they were born in. This is why I feel called to eat plant-based and become more aware of the abuse that underpins MANY industries my day-to-day purchases have been financing unwittingly (beauty, electronics, and fashion to name a few).
Yet, not everyone feels this call. Many people are inward focused and just trying to get through each day. Not everyone believes their actions can make a difference, or feels motivated to look up ways they can make a difference. I totally understand these viewpoints, because that’s the space I lived most of my life in. Also, many people are making huge impacts in terms of bettering this world, but are just focusing on causes that are different than the ones on my heart. And that is wonderful, because someone needs to fight those fights too.
So how do you find a common ground?
My advice: “should” is a dangerous word, whether directed to yourself or anyone else. It is impossible to make somebody feel a certain way, care about certain cause, or enjoy a particular activity. We are a all drawn to things that resonate with us a at a soul level; we do not choose what these things are. What resonates for each individual can and does shift over time through experience, education and exposure to different realities. Just because I happen to be passionate about living a zero-waste, vegan lifestyle doesn’t mean this will align with others right now, or even in their lifetime. They may be passionate about building wells in developing countries or fostering puppies or female empowerment. THAT is where their energy will have the greatest impact, because they are doing what is on their hearts and makes them feel alive.
At the end of the day, what the world needs is more people waking up and coming alive.
Share your views, offer inspiration, educational resources and your happiest and most loving self – then let it go. I know from experience (on both sides) that pressuring or judging people is a sure way to turn others off whatever you are doing. You can influence what others do but you only have control over what YOU are doing. Call me idealistic, but I believe the world is becoming a better place everyday and love always wins, whether we believe it or not.