either softbound or Kindle/Nook/etc. eBook at Amazon
2 Find Community.
if you just rolled your eyes, I deserved that. Finding community is
easier said than done. We say “find community” as if it’s is the
easiest thing in the world when it can be challenging for many of us
depending on where we live, our schedules, our social inclination, and
all kinds of extenuating circumstances. I want to acknowledge that it’s
not as simple as opening your front door, yelling out, “Hello, vegan
community, I want to be friends!” and finding instant social connection
for yourself. That said, developing friendships with people who share
your values is vitally important to your well-being and placing a
priority on finding community, whatever this might look like, is also
vitally important to building a healthy foundation in which your
veganism can flourish. Very often when I talk to people who are no
longer vegan, they describe having felt isolated, ostracized,
“different” and without support as key reasons why they quit. Not
having our needs for support and understanding met can easily lead
people to the path of least resistance, which is adopting the status
quo and giving up veganism. Don’t let it happen.
While nothing can quite replace in-person bonding, online communities
can serve an important role in feeling heard and enjoying camaraderie.
Social media offers ample opportunities for interacting with other
vegans, from large international Facebook pages to more local ones.
Ideally, though, you would also interact with vegans in your own
community. Whether through dine-outs or getting involved in activism –
which was how I first met the supportive crew of wise mentors and
fellow newcomers I still count among my friends today – one-on-one
get-togethers or potlucks, finding a supportive, in-person community is
critical to making an awkward and lonely transitional period easier and
just encouraging wellness. Even as a longtime vegan, I will say that
while my practice is firmly rooted, community is still an utmost
priority to me.
We are a social species and even introverts need to feel emotional
connection, bonding, intimacy and understanding. Build a strong
foundation for your veganism by having your needs for community met. If
what you are looking for doesn’t exist, summon up your courage and
start something. Creating a group on Facebook is a great place to
start. Determine what you want to create: Is it a monthly potluck? Is
it an activist group? Is it a meetup? Is it a broad vegan community
group? This will be your smoke signal to your community. I am guessing
that before too long, you will hear from others who have been waiting
for just what you’ve started. This article might be a good place to start.
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2013-2017, Vegan Street