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10 Things Friends of Vegetarians Should Understand

10 Things Friends of Vegetarians Should Understand

So, your friend is a vegetarian, and you’ve inevitably had those awkward moments that every non-veggie experiences when it comes to eating with them. At a restaurant, you feel guilty that you can freely choose from a variety of meat dishes while they scramble to figure out what salad they can order that doesn’t include meat.

Holiday parties can be tricky as you try to accommodate what they might eat, while everyone else enjoys the roast beef. The truth is, it’s not a socially convenient way of eating. Main stream doesn’t typically cater to the non-meat eating crowd, the exceptions being L.A. or New York, and so we have learned to adapt to the meat eater’s world.

The non-meat eaters that have been living as such for awhile eventually figure out how to handle the challenges. We learn to become resourceful when it comes to food and social circumstances that would leave us irritated and hungry.

Here are 10 things you should know about your vegetarian friend and what they are thinking when you make those vegetarian faux pas.

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1. We are not judging you when you eat meat.

And we don’t want to give you a lecture because you do. Everyone has their own personal food choices and just as we want to exercise that right, we wish you the same.

It’s fine to delve into that juicy burger, but if we couldn’t handle it, we would let you know and avoid that situation.

2. It’s okay to invite us to food-related social events.

We are well versed in what to expect and how to get around the pitfalls of our diets. We can eat ahead or show up with our favorite dish or kale salad.

3. Yes, I’m getting enough protein.

I am always asked about my lack of protein and the worries about what health benefits I’m missing out on. The only thing I need to take, because it’s only found in animal products, is the vitamin B12. But not to worry, I am always in good health and my doctor checkups are fine.

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4. We can handle the jokes and the scrutiny, most of the time…

Yes, Uncle Harry is hilarious as he asks once again if I’m eating freshly mowed grass. And sure, I don’t mind your cousin staring at my plate with disgust, I’m used to it and have learned to be light-hearted and loving about the whole subject.

Just, don’t push it.

5. We don’t want to talk about it over dinner.

So…just a tip, please don’t ask why we don’t eat meat while you’re all sucking the life out of your baby back ribs. There’s a time and place to discuss my food choices, and over what should be a nice meal is not one of them.

6. We don’t want the juice from the meat either.

Please don’t offer to pick off the chicken from my Caesar salad because it was delivered to the table with the meat that I so adamantly said to leave off. And no, I don’t want you to take off the pepperoni from your leftover pizza.

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My Dad used to say, “You can eat the red sauce I made, I removed the meatballs.”  The oily remnants, just like the flesh that sat there moments before, are not something we want to eat.

7. We are not secretly starving, or craving meat, for that matter.

We don’t feel deprived, nor are we suffering, for our choices. We did it for various reasons, whether they be health, love for animals, or the environment.

8.  You don’t have to introduce us as ‘The Vegetarian.”

That’s only a small part of who we are and honestly, you wouldn’t say, “This is Bill,The Carnivore”, would you?

9We are ingredient freaks.

Sorry, but it’s a little annoying when we send the waiter back into the kitchen to find out what’s in the salad dressing, and yes Mr. Barista, can you please go fetch that box of almond milk to see if it has animal products

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Please be patient with us, but we really need to know.

10. Not eating meat is actually easier than explaining to others why we don’t.

I know there’s a certain amount of curiosity about eliminating meat from your diet, but to explain why to a meat-eater sometimes feels like a judgement on them, and it’s somewhat unavoidable.

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10 Things Friends of Vegetarians Should Understand

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Last Updated on July 15, 2020

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

“Entitlement is an expression of conditional love. Nobody is ever entitled to your love. You always have a right to protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being by removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances.” -Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson

It’s not always obvious if you have someone toxic in your life. A toxic relationship is one that is harmful to you. A toxic person can create distress to the degree you feel inadequate and isolated. So, what makes a toxic person?

A toxic person has toxic behavior, meaning it’s not that the whole person is toxic[1]. It’s what they do that counts. Most toxic people run from accountability and misrepresent reality to you. They misrepresent your worth and your ability to heal from them can be stifled the longer you keep them in your life. You have a role to play with it as well; if your values are dismissed by them and you don’t act on it, you have allowed room for toxicity to grow.

When you are in a toxic relationship, you feel less than. You feel as though you are not worth anyone’s time or effort. You feel unheard, and sometimes you feel unsafe. You don’t feel good about yourself in a toxic relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, or family member.

You may stay in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. You may believe yourself to be a burden, have a lack of boundaries, resist change, fear conflict, try to be a people pleaser, find yourself codependent, or are partially stuck in a pattern or unhealthy cycle of abuse.

Letting go of toxic people may not be easy. In order to do so, you have to know why or how they are toxic to you and read between the lines that they do not have your best interests in mind.

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Letting go of toxic people is hard because you are good and want to see the good in others. You think their apologies are authentic. You have trouble believing they are being dishonest. You don’t spend time healing from it. You get pulled back into the pain because you don’t want it to end. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t right.

You should walk away from a toxic person because you need to preserve your peace. You need to feel like yourself again. And you need better support.

Letting go of toxic people can involve four major steps.

1. Recognize the Red Flags

Red flags are signs a person is being toxic. It’s when someone shows characteristics that you should feel caution about. It’s when you feel any level of dissatisfaction and distrust. Trust your gut. When you recognize red flags, you can evaluate whether a person is trying to manipulate you or not. This gives you some level of control over what you allow in your life. The earlier you detect these behaviors, the better off you will be.

Red flags can include:

  • They always put themselves first.
  • They point out imperfections and sabotage your self-esteem.
  • You may feel drained or used when you’re around them.
  • What you give isn’t reciprocated. They don’t return the goodness you provide as a friend.
  • They ignore your boundaries and get angry when you tell them “no.”
  • You catch them in half truths or outright lies when you confront them about anything.
  • You are the villain; they are the victim.
  • Second chances always lead to repeated patterns of behavior.
  • They may engage in abuse.

2. Set Boundaries

There are emotional boundaries that one can set, but there are also physical ones[2]. You can leave any time. Setting boundaries is also an important part of self-care.

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You shouldn’t walk on eggshells. Tell them how you feel. Are they respecting you, fulfilling your needs, and listening to you? If not, it’s time to set up a healthy emotional distance and start letting go of toxic people around you.

There are levels to this. You have your inner circle, which could include family, and then you have acquaintances and strangers. If a toxic person is in your inner circle, it’s time to pull back and put up some boundaries for them to follow. If they can’t hear you out, you can cut off the connection completely.

You can give second chances, but you have to be careful. If someone knows they can get away with something, they will do it again. If there’s any chance for the relationship, they have to know not to cross certain lines.

3. Invest in Yourself

You deserve to know you are worthwhile. Try to remember that things will get better and that anything is possible. How do you do so? Invest in yourself.

This means self care, goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive support, and feeling a sense of peace. Your greatest ambition should be to love yourself. Without self-love, letting go of toxic people will be difficult.

Every relationship is a risk, but if you know yourself and what you will allow, toxic people will have less of a hold over you. If you are a giver or people pleaser, you are most at risk to being in a one-sided relationship. You shouldn’t be punished for caring, but sometimes trust needs to be earned. If you have self-love, you are treating yourself the best way possible. You know that others need to meet your standards; otherwise, they don’t get to be a part of your life.

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It’s possible that you can love yourself and still not see the signs. It can be difficult for some to be aware that toxic people exist. However,, if you know how much you mean to others in your life and what you are worth, you will be less likely to take on a relationship that is harmful to you or repeat negative patterns. Self-love is how we get out of toxic relationships, but it’s also how they never begin.

4. Know When Forgiveness Is Possible

There are times a person will prove their worth to you. They may make a mistake that makes them seem like a horrible person. They may forget to be good to you because of their own issues. They may just have no example of what a healthy relationship looks like. They may have an inflated ego that really comes from insecurity. The list goes on.

If they apologize, that’s a start. Look at their actions. Are they changing for the better because they really want to change or just seeming to in order to manipulate you? A person may control others with their image or perceived personality, but if you see through them, you may be able to discern the degree to which they are willing to be there for you.

If they start to do the right thing, you may begin to trust them again. Don’t start forgiving them until time has passed and you are sure there is growth, even if they show vulnerability or remorse. You can give a second chance if they truly have an awakening. Otherwise, it’s best to get out. Don’t let them walk all over you; let them walk out the door.

If you do give a second change and they still refuse to change, you have every right to remove them and continue the process of letting go of toxic people. The moment you even want to leave may also be a good time to get out. You don’t have to compromise yourself in order to care for them.

Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger[3]. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. You have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone. You don’t have to let them back in. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

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Remember, forgiveness is ultimately for you, not them. You don’t need that person in your life in order to forgive them, and if you give them a second chance, proceed with caution.

Final Thoughts

Recognize the red flags, set boundaries, invest in yourself, and know when forgiveness is possible. This is how you cope with a toxic person impacting your life. You have power in the direction of your life and the people who accompany you as you move forward. Use it.

If a person is worthwhile, they will prove themselves through their actions, not their words. If they cross certain lines that really harm you, you owe them nothing. You have every right to feel what you feel and to be upset. Honor your feelings and communicate them because it’ll only continue to keep happening if you don’t.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to take control. It’s time to live for yourself, not for what others say about you. It’s time to set your standards higher than they’ve ever been before. And most of all, it’s time to let go.

Resource reminder: A physically abusive relationship is ALWAYS toxic. There are resources for you. Always speak up.

If you are in such a cycle or domestic violence or abuse reach out for help. For example, there is The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) which can be reached at 1−800−799−7233. There are other ways to get help if you simply ask for it. 

More Tips on Letting Go of Toxic People

Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

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