Until a couple months ago I had been on a dating hiatus, putting all my vibrant vegan energy into my incredibly rewarding work transforming lives with the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program.
In fact, my last relationship ended over three years ago!
Looking back, was I disappointed when we broke up? Yes. Was it a shock? Not at all.
Although there were multiple factors that led up to the split, ultimately, at the root, there was such a huge difference in core values that my growth as a human being was being stifled.
I don’t play the blame game. I take full responsibility for the consequences of staying in a toxic relationship for many years. Now, over three years later, however, I am able to approach myself and my past with curiosity and compassion instead of contempt and ridicule.
Being so clear on the value I place on the well-being of animals since I was seven years old is something I am eternally grateful for. At the same time, having my identity be so connected to veganism, starting long before the average person even knew what the word vegan meant, has made dating and relationships especially challenging.
On November 11th, 2018, for the first time in my life, I realized how vital it is that I build a long-term relationship with someone who, quite simply, gives a shit, someone who feels compelled to make choices based on love and compassion, instead of hate and fear, someone who opens their heart and mind and thinks for themselves instead of taking what they’re taught by society as “the way it is,” someone who respects and values ALL life and the planet as a whole, someone who is driven to live a meaningful life in abundance instead of making decisions from a place of greed and scarcity. This also means supporting leaders who care about giving a voice to the voiceless and protecting our environment, instead of choosing to have tunnel vision and voting with his wallet.
I was at the Yard House in South Beach for Sunday Funday football, sitting at a table with the guy I was dating and a guy friend that I’m not close with. I won’t go into many details, but here’s the gist of what went down. The boys started talking, and when it turned political, I sat quietly listening. I also sat quietly as they covered the topic of plant-based eating. I found it interesting that not one time was I asked my opinion or for input, despite being the obvious expert on plant-based diets. For the most part I just wanted to listen anyway, though I couldn’t help but to jump in a few times.
As surprised as I was to hear my friend ask for my date’s political views (we’ve never talked politics on Sunday Funday before), I was equally as grateful to be able to listen to the conversation, and here’s what I learned throughout their conversation.
My date votes with his wallet above all else, above human rights, environmental protection, and certainly above animal welfare. I learned that he finds the current political situation somewhat “entertaining”. I learned that bringing him to numerous powerful vegan events during the Seed Food and Wine Festival that week, introducing him to my amazing world-renowned network of vegan health, wellness, and fitness professionals, had so little impact that it wasn’t even worth mentioning in a relevant discussion. I even learned that a qualified woman sports reporter is only worthy of announcing if she’s young and pretty.
It only took a few minutes after they started talking to develop a knot in my stomach and to feel all of a sudden very alone and deflated. As I looked around, understanding that I was likely the only vegan in the entire restaurant, and feeling completely disconnected from my date, I had a number of realizations.
Growing up as the only vegetarian in elementary and middle school, and the only vegan in high school and college, I had a hard time creating close relationships with others. It was me with my view of animals and the planet, versus everyone else and their view. I didn’t think about my difficulty connecting in that way though. Instead, I just assumed that there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t seem to form close relationships with many people.
On November 11, after telling my friend and head mindset coach in my Plant-Empowered Coaching Program Stephanie about my experience that Sunday, she wrote the most insightful words of wisdom.
“I think you’ve hit on something huge in terms of giving yourself a hard time. You connect easily with others, but in all honesty, you are a revolutionary with a big part in creating and forging a new world and way of living. You are so courageous to be doing that while not hiding exclusively in that community that is not yet mainstream. I know it’s not easy, my beautiful friend.”
Stephanie made such a powerful point… To a large degree I have always kept myself smack dab in the middle of the mainstream world, having mostly mainstream friends and boyfriends, and doing mainstream activities (like practicing Thai boxing and watching football). I’ve always seen it as part of my life’s work, to live my truth and inspire others to open their hearts and minds so that they too can live theirs. If I surrounded myself with people who have the same perspective, what good would I be doing the world?
That being said, I realize now that having a boyfriend who sees the world similarly to the majority of the population will inherently prevent us from developing the intimacy I am seeking with a life partner.
My date asked me the other day, “How do you travel as a vegan?” I now realize that I want a partner who will see vegan travel as an exciting opportunity to explore other countries and cultures, instead of being an annoyance or inconvenience.
There is a worthiness issue that arises here. I battled with shame the majority of my life. Shame is routed in limiting beliefs, the main one being, “I am not enough.” I have been moving through the world believing I am unworthy of a partner who facilitates my growth, a partner who brings a sense of freedom, peace, light, meaning, and joy to my life, a partner who feels I add those same things to his life. Well that changes now. I am worthy of true love and connection on a deep spiritual level, and I am putting this new energy out into the universe starting right now!
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