Don’t be a Self-Righteous Douche Bag.

Lego Judge

I’m going to preface today’s article with a confession, this is pretty huge for me, and I’m hoping all reading this can appreciate where I am coming from. I’m going to talk about my life as a vegetarian for a few paragraphs, but please don’t let that put you off, I’ll get to the crux of things soon enough.

For the last four years I have been a vegetarian. Recently, unbeknownst to most people, I have stopped and am now eating meat again. This is the first time I’m sharing this news en mass, so to any of my close friends and regular followers who might be surprised or disappointed, let me explain the background behind my choice.

I’ll start by answering the question I received the most during my four years as a vegetarian, ‘why don’t you eat meat?’. Most people wrongly assume my first choice was an ethical one, although to a small degree it was. The real reason for becoming vegetarian was completely unplanned and, to some people, may be trivial – my dog died.

I know that sounds crazy. It’s ok, I didn’t fully understand my motivations at the time either. I just did what felt right to me, under the premise that if I lived in a country where food supply was plentiful enough to justify not eating meat, then I wouldn’t eat meat. And my journey as an accidental vegetarian turned out be eye opening to say the least. I got to experience what being judged was like from both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

Over the last four years, when informing people of my diet choices, I fielded statements as, “eww, what the fuck for?”. I found dating a challenge because the majority of guys couldn’t fathom dating a girl who didn’t eat meat. This was despite the fact I’ve never told anyone they had to change their diet for me and that I’ll happily to cook meat for people at meals times.

But then there were incidents that made me understand why some people might prefer to avoid me. Vegetarians and vegans have a reputation for being overly judgmental, and some of this belief is justified (some of it isn’t).

I’d often go to parties to have people eating meat look at me with guilt-filled eyes, people would even apologise for eating meat in my presence – which didn’t at all gross me out, so much as it made me feel bad that they didn’t feel accepted simply because of the stigma attributed to my life choice.

Again, I don’t altogether blame these people for feeling they needed to walk on eggshells around me, because all too often people use their path in life, as a moral high ground or as a way to judge.

“Judgment is just a recipe for suffering: start with our dissatisfaction over how a person happens to be and mix in our desire for them to be otherwise. To make that suffering nice and rich, be sure the desire clings tightly to the dissatisfaction.” – Toni Bernhard

This isn’t a piece to bash vegans and vegetarians – this is a piece to bash judgment in general – more specifically judgment doled out by taking the so-called ‘higher ground’. Religion, diet, appearance, money, lack of money, whatever – many use these as leverage to not only control others, but to make them feel ‘less than’ in the process.

There’s a certain amount of ego boosting going on when ones uses their ‘stuff’ to not only define who they are, but also devalue who another is. The sinister thing is, I’ve often seen these same people use their ‘good deeds’ to ‘balance’ the other questionable deeds they might be doing.

My confession comes by way of me saying I don’t care about the potential judgments as much as I care about making decisions based on what’s right for me at any given time. This isn’t selfishly motivated, it’s about living a life that is true to me and in this case, my physical wellbeing. This was my thinking when I stopped eating meat, and it’s the same now I have started again.

Judgment quote

Anyone who has read my last feature post will know I’ve recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. I’ve mentioned that over the last year chronic fatigue has played havoc on my life, but I haven’t mentioned the muscle and bone pain, or that my life as a dancer and entertainer and business owner has pretty much ended (although I have extra time to write, which isn’t such a bad thing).

My decision to eat meat, again, was not made lightly. The fact I’ve written multiple blog posts featuring vegetarian recipes is a testament to that. I am letting go of this large part of my way of life, because for personal and medical reasons my diet no longer fits.

Sometimes our attempts to control other people stem from our own weaknesses, not our strengths. If we can learn to better understand ourselves and try to come to terms with our own limitations, then we are less likely to interfere with other people. That’s usually good for them, and it’s usually good for us. – Tim Hill

The last thing anyone needs, particularly someone dealing with difficult circumstances is judgment, including judgment thinly veiled as advice. During my last year of health complications, I’ve had numerous people needlessly dispute things such as my taking antibiotics. Yes, I understand the hesitance, but there are times when alternative medicine just isn’t going to cut it. And I understand the ‘should, and shouldn’t’ statements often come from a kind enough place, many times people share what they believe will be helpful.

But to do so indiscriminately, and when it is least wanted, is not much different than the creepy lurker at a nightclub who might approach one hundred women in a night, and celebrate winning over one person. Meanwhile he berates or completely forgets the ninety-nine others he’s managed to piss off in the process.

New age, alternative, and religious groups are rife with such tactics. If you’ve ever been out walking your dog, only to be stopped by someone selling you Jesus, you’ll know what I mean.

There’s nothing wrong with believing what you want to believe, hell, maybe it’s not all that bad to want to share it either. But there’s no reason to force feed people the idea. This is doubly true if they’ve already said no (and sometimes multiple times). And if you feel the need to speak your ‘truth’, first ask yourself if the circumstance is appropriate.

judging panel

If no one in your vicinity is listening, let it go, move on to people who are. Don’t deny others their chance to walk their own path and make their own discoveries, and they might just join you one day. Or they might not, it’s their choice.

Do not make other people’s individual choices your problem – this rings true to the general public, just as much as those you hold dear.

Ask yourself if you could still love those around you – be they loved ones or strangers – without judging them? Can you love them when their choices and attributes do not mirror your own? Can you believe the world is big enough for all types and opinions? And that what works for you may not work for other people?

When we stop judging, others are able to feel accepted and this makes us more approachable. We are less likely to be blindsided by the truth simply because we’ve scared those around us into believing their truth will only result in us beating them down with our own rhetoric.

Moreover, with a less judgemental approach you’ll be happier, less stressed out. People will be more likely to entertain your thinking simply by seeing that your life choices make you happy. There’s no need to be pushy, mean or downright insulting. As the saying goes, live and let live, you’ll be better for it.

 

 


Hope you enjoyed today’s post. I love reading and responding to everyone’s comments, so feel free to leave a comment of your own.

For updates on me, my articles and posts, please sign up for my new monthly newsletter. All details will remain private.

Image: Me2, Live Life Happy, szczel

Katerina Simms is a Romance Writer & Recovering Former Mermaid, born on a sunny Mediterranean island. These days she resides in Melbourne, Australia, where she spends her days writing novels and musing on her highly successful blog. For regular updates, feel free to Subscribe to her newsletter.

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. MIke Mike at 11:06 am

    As always Katarina, a wonderful post filled with objective insight. This might sound crude/rude but the truth is I don’t judge in the least – I simply don’t care. Far be it from me to concern myself with a person’s personal choices unless it adversely affects me. If it does not – live and let live.

    You can have meat in my house or veggies or skip eating – all up to you. It does not make you less of a person. I hope your return to meat helps your physical issues.

  2. Katerina Simms Author at 6:24 pm

    Thanks Mike, happy you enjoyed this one. My health is doing ok, and I won’t let it stop me 😀

  3. Tm8 at 3:00 am

    Great post. I also have recently become an ex-vegetarian.

    I see you made the return to eating meat while dealing with chronic fatigue.

    I was also dealing with chronic fatigue and on top of that, anxiety, depression, cold limbs, shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations, etc. I tried for nine years (as a vegetarian) to try to figure out my decline in health. It was so gradual that I did not attribute it to my diet. I was athletic before hand, and lean protein was the staple of my diet. But with vegetarianism comes a lack of truly filling foods and so when I grew bored with vegetables I would load up on heavy carbs.

    My journey was a long one. Trips to doctors and psychiatrists to no avail.
    I took a lot of medications to deal with all of the symptoms and they only made me more sick.

    One day it just clicked.

    I saw a line. A line between myself then and myself now. And the difference was my diet.

    Following my suspicion, I went back to eating meat, and dropped my animal protein phobias. I must say- every. single. problem . is. GONE. Just one month in.

    I was suffering from multiple vitamin deficiencies.

    I was amazed because I have an entire drawer of supplements that I took to try to make sure I was meeting my needs.

    They didn’t absorb.

    Turns out, meat helps to maintain the proper stomach acid necessary to utilize vitamins.

    And I could go on and on about every reason why one can hit a wall as a vegetarian. Even onto the issues with Soy causing estrogen imbalance in the body. How hard it is to pair foods for a “complete” protein. How some vitamins block absorption of other vitamins. How beans can block absorption of micronutrients. How vegetarians can become “copper toxic”. How too many vegetables as a staple meal can cause hypothyroidism, simply because it’s a lopsided diet. Etc etc etc…

    I was exhausted both as a cause and an effect of being a vegetarian. Now I have BALANCE as an omnivore. And I’m so glad to have my health back!!!!

    • Katerina Simms Author at 11:35 am

      Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you are doing better.

      There are a couple of reasons I’m back on meat (though to be honest I’ve never liked the taste of it so I still don’t eat a lot). Science doesn’t know EVERYTHING there is to know about nutrition, there is a chance there are micro-nutrients in meat that are yet to be discovered, which as integral to human health. Given mine was failing, I decided it was best I don’t chance it.

      My autoimmune disorder also entails issues with connective tissue, meat aids collective tissue.

      I certainly believe the way we process meat needs to be upgraded and I only by ethical cuts now, a few years ago this wasn’t as readily available, which was one reason I stopped eating meat.

  4. JKD at 2:44 pm

    Thank so very much for sharing. Transparency is quite rare in todays world. When I started reading the article I had no clue where you were headed. But is was some appropriate for an experience I am see within my team, within my business. You did and amazing job of sharing what I could not find the words to…..Best of luck in your journey. Life Health Prosperity.

    Jeffery

  5. Ravensong at 9:35 am

    Thank you for this.
    It is sometimes difficult to mesh well with others sometimes, especially if someone is invested in judgement and even more so when they percieve their opinions as the opposite of force fed advice. There’s a time and a place. Not everyone desires to banter back and forth on personal outlooks because you may be offended/differnet. Everyone has a magnitude of beautiful stories and each history is as beautiful.

    I am finding this subject (in my experience) is stemming from comparison to others coupled with controlling. I spent a lot of time stuck in a comparison mindset when younger and it led to much unhappiness and groundless competition. It is someone’s choice to live their life how they want to. Mingle and move along if it doesn’t coincide. It feels a lot calmer than fighting for myself. Everyone has a right to their happiness, even if it does not merge with yours. That’s okay!

Leave a Reply to Katerina Simms Cancel reply