Wednesday, February 8, 2012

3 Steps to Effectively Share Your Beliefs

Sharing your beliefs with another person requires courage and confidence.  Sometimes, these can be mistaken as a personal attack on the other person. Therefore it is important to approach the subject with great care and delicacy.  This takes a lot of practice, kindness, and an open mind.

When sharing your beliefs (in this case I am talking about Veganism, but it also applies to any situation) it is extremely important to remember 3 main points. They are:
  1. Respect
  2. Information
  3. Patience

      Respect is important when establishing any relationship.  In order to gain people's trust, you must first gain their respect. You can do this by listening to them, being understanding of their situation, being kind, and by choosing your words carefully.  You do not want to immediately turn the other person off by condemning him or her, saying that what they are doing is immoral and/or extremely unhealthy, or by using other offensive comments.  Respect begins with you. Other people will be much more responsive to your information once you have gained their respect.

      It is important to present correct, fully documented, and fully researched information when sharing your beliefs.  Without this information, the other person will lose trust in you because you will seem as if you are merely giving your opinions which are not based on fact.  Your opinion is important, but it must be backed up by facts.  Once you have given them the facts, it will make your argument stronger and it will also make it easier for you to explain why you have chosen to live in the lifestyle that you do.
If you do not know the answer to a question, do not simply make one up.  Research it for yourself and get back to them.  Do not expect them to do all of the research themselves because, remember, you are the one presenting the information, therefore it is your job to be informed.

      Changes do not happen immediately, so do not expect your friend to accept your point of view in that moment.  Be patient and give them time to think about all of the facts, reasons, and problems/solutions that you have presented.  Showing patience also builds respect because the other person can see that you are sincere and devoted.  Do not be discouraged or upset if the person is not convinced right away.  It may take months or even years to see a major change.  Sometimes you will not ever change their mind, but it is still important to maintain these 3 points in your relationship with them.

A lot of respect, information, and patience will go a long way. You would be surprised.  I know this works because it is how I was convinced to become vegan.  I highly respect the person who shared with me in this way, and am very thankful for the respect and patience that was given to me during the process, because now I am happier and healthier than I ever have been before.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when sharing your beliefs with someone:
  • How would you want to be approached with a new idea/lifestyle?
  • How did you react the first time that you heard this information?
  • Is there anything that you wished the other person in your past had done differently?
  • If so, how can you learn from that experience and apply it to your own strategies?

How do you share your beliefs with others?

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