This is a lesson on forgiveness. Forgiveness of the self. Forgiveness for my leather shoes.
I came across an enlightening article that centered on the danger of activists preaching absolutes. The problem with absolutes is that they are destined for failure. You are highly unlikely to inspire someone into a certain lifestyle by preaching a code of conduct that can seem overwhelming and nearly impossible to adopt.
As much as I would like to inspire people to give up meat, I realize now that the only thing I can do is lead by example. Any kind of preaching or moral high ground usually backfires, resulting in an increase of meat consumption out of spite. To counter this, I plan to continue to spread my message, all the while being mindful of my methods. I am by no means a "food elitist," I have just ingrained a sense of awareness regarding the horror show that is modern day farming, and the detrimental effects of consuming a meat based diet.
To anyone who wonders "what do you eat?" I answer with the beauty of expansion of food choice that a vegan diet brings. I have a new found love affair with food. I am more open to trying no cuisines that I would've normally not given the time of day. I crave healthy fuel for my body, instead of an instant gratification that is achieved with a lot of fat and sugar. My passion for cooking is in overdrive. In fact I'm hungry now!
Going back to my leather shoes... I have been going through an internal battle. I look down at my shoes and I punish myself for the blatant hypocrisy. What has amazed me in the subsequent introspection, is that instead of focusing on all the positive changes I have made, and relishing on how amazing I feel, the energy I have, and how my disposition is just well, brighter, I focus on how I won't fully be authentic until I get rid of all my leather shoes and purses.
The big picture here is the need to accept yourself for exactly where you at any certain time. I don't want to miss out on celebrating all the positive changes because I am disappointed in myself for the downfalls.
I know in my lifetime I will aid in the alleviation of animal and human suffering. I have to be proud of my past accomplishments, my present contributions, and my future successes.
One day my leather handbags and shoes will be part of my past. But until that day comes, I need to stop punishing myself. And to anyone else who holds their behavior to high standards, I salute you. But remember, nobody is perfect. It is just important to keep working towards the goal at your own pace. You will get there.