Buying a home in Haiku has been one of the best things to ever happen to me. Not for the home itself, nor the beautiful weather of Maui … but for the genuine, authentic, loving people that I now consider my friends. These are people who love and support each other, challenge each other and bring out the best in each other.
I bring this up because it may be one of the best pieces of advice I can give those of you struggling with a vegan diet:
Be very conscientious about who you spend your time with, and do everything you can to surround yourself with people who will support you and encourage you in your journey.
Be very wary of those who try to hold you back, try to talk you out of your goals or dreams, or constantly play devil’s advocate while rarely seeing possibilities. When you hear people close to you say things like, “You’ll never stick with that!” or “Why bother – we’re all going to die of something anyway,” or “God, Joe, it’s just a freaking chicken! When did you become such a sensitive little wuss?” big, bright red flags should be waving frantically in front of you. These are not people who really want what’s best for you. As hard as it may seem, it will behoove you to either rid them from your life or minimize their presence in it.
People who don’t support your decision to go vegan are also the same people who will try to tear you down in other parts of your life. If you want to move to a new city, quit drinking, start a new business, write a book, explore spirituality or take on a new hobby, they’re often the ones that will say it can’t be done, it’s a silly idea, or just flat out laugh at you.
Instead, seek out people who really do support and care for you; people who see your goodness and bring it out of you. Seek out people who are strong enough with themselves that they are not threatened by you; people who support your dreams and goals, but will also lovingly challenge you if they believe you may be doing something harmful or not in your best interest.
You don’t have to move to Maui to find such people – go to places where like-minded people meet. If you’re a budding vegan, go to a vegan meetup where you’ll find others who care about health and have compassion for animals and our environment. If you’ve been reading Buddhist books and went vegan for reasons of compassion and loving-kindness, seek out a meditation group or other spiritual group in your area. If you love animals or feel strongly about the need to save our environment, meet incredible people who have similar values at volunteer organizations.
Plant people in your life who sprout seeds of goodness within you, people who inspire greatness, people who make you light up with joy just seeing their face. These are the people who will lift you up on their wings, set great examples for you and teach you new lessons so that you can really soar.