This week, the difficulties of being an animal rights activists have been on my mind. Just like any human being, I naturally desire approval and acceptance. However, being part of a radical social movement that advocates for the rights of an oppressed minority will certainly be met with opposition. By standing up for animals, I must accept ridicule, disagreement, and even violent opposition and hatred.
I have always cared a great deal about what others think of me. Whenever I sense someone’s disapproval of me, my actions, or my ideas, I can never let the situation go! I constantly mull over what I should have said or done, replaying the scene over and over again in my head.
But I know that as I become more and more outspoken about animal rights, it will take an enormous toll on my well-being if I let other people’s opinions constantly get to me. Even particularly upsetting anti-vegan comments on YouTube videos or news articles keep me up at night. I can’t imagine what it would be like if those comments were directed at me.
Whenever I find myself getting caught up in other people’s opinions on my belief in animal equality, I always think of this to put what I do into perspective:
What do I care about more: the approval of a few people, or of billions of animals?
Obviously, saving the lives of billions of animals is worth infinitely more than the opinion of a few people. Truly, the lives I save when I speak out for animals are more important than anyone’s approval ever could be. Staying focused on the animals and remaining confident that compassion, nonviolence, and justice will prevail is the strongest motivation an animal rights activist can have.
How do you stay motivated to speak out for animals’ rights? I would love to know!