Drop the Guilt
When I first came across the extensive and slightly overwhelming vegan community, at first, I'll be honest and say that I don't necessarily believe that my relationship with it was entirely positive, nor healthy. While I was receiving all this foreign and exciting new information about a lifestyle that I found very 'attractive' it also filled me with a lot of anxiety from (in reality) non-existent pressure to be a certain way, and in a sense 'conform'. At this stage I didn't really have any dedicated vegans in my life, only a couple of plant-based eaters that never talked about the 'why' and the 'nock-on effect' of their decisions. It was all very 'diet-diet-diet'!! Around this time (really only one year ago - CRAZY!), I had never before watched so many YouTube videos and in a sense spent so much time on a screen absorbed in other peoples lifestyles (we're talking maybe 60 minutes a day). It felt like a totally different world to me that I was encountering.
I have never had Facebook, nor do I really plan too (although sometimes I wish I did for knowing about vegan events), and in the past I had always associated social media as a negative thing before discovering this avenue of connection. In a sense I still do (in regards to Facebook) even though I know, just like this space, my Instagram and YouTube there is usually a small slice of the (vegan) pie that you can take, benefit from, and leave the rest.
It took me a long time, to not feel guilty about watching a couple of videos everyday (although I now realise it was more like 10 a day, eeeek!). Through the busy-ness of school, study and other commitments, this little avenue of release that I held, which felt like a guilty pleasure, some days played on my mind more than is healthy. It was only until a few months ago, when I slimmed down my subscription list and started switching my mindset, that I became at peace with engaging with this platform called YouTube. I lost the guilt about gaining inspiration from recipe videos and supporting a small group of content creators with my views, likes and comments. Perhaps when things are in digestible chucks, the anxiety and stress seems to fall away. When we understand it, it doesn't feel as consuming. I now don't feel guilty about watching the odd vlog, because really that's all it is. As soon as I could name why I was watching these videos instead of just being in a stressful blur, then the negative attachment fell away and I could see the positive in it. This came with slowing down and taking note of how I live my life, versus how I want to live it.
We all deserve to do what we wish (provided no harm is done to others), with a calm, controlled, guilt free mind. If something is bothering you, but you can't put your finger on it, and can't seem to strike a balance, then slow down and take note. You hold the answer, just give yourself an opportunity to clear the fog and then proceed with purpose.