You’re Entitled To Your Beliefs…But Don’t Force Them On Me

Vegan? Great.

Vegetarian? Wonderful.

Omnivore? Cool

Christian? Amazing.

Muslim? Brilliant.

Labour voter? Super.

Conservative voter? Fine.

Pro-vaxxer? Yup.

Anti-vaxxer? Okay.

Breastfeeder? Good.

Formula feeder? Excellent.

Pro-choice? Fab.

Pro-life? No problem

I believe in some of these, and some go completely against what I think. But that’s cool, because you know, personal choice and freedom.

We all have pretty strong opinions on some things. It’s natural – in fact, if you didn’t feel passionate about something, I’d probably think you were a very dull person. And of course, we all think that our belief or opinion is the right one. Otherwise, well, there wouldn’t be much point in having one.

But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with you.

You don’t have to agree with me. I will listen to you. I will discuss most things with you and engage in a respectful and mature debate. If we’re good friends and we understand each other’s sense of humour, there will probably be some cheeky but friendly banter.

But do not, under any circumstances, force your opinion on me.

That is a deal breaker for me, a friendship-ender. Whatever my thoughts are on a topic, I will never tell anyone that they are wrong and that they are stupid for having an opposing thought or belief to me. I might think it – it would be a lie to say that I wouldn’t, but I am mature and sensible enough to know that my belief is just that – MY belief.

I very recently ended a lifelong – and I mean lifelong – friendship with someone because of differing beliefs. It wasn’t the difference in beliefs that killed it, or not from my side anyway. It was the fact that they took every opportunity they possibly could to ram their beliefs, which were pretty extreme, down my throat. I knew something was brewing up to happen in the weeks leading up to it, as it felt like every status I put on Facebook had a comment or a dig on, pushing their views. It ended up in one big row, and to be honest, I feel no sadness whatsoever. In fact, I feel a sense of relief. I realised that I possibly was holding back on my own opinions and beliefs to avoid them pushing theirs on me. I couldn’t even have a discussion or debate with the people involved, because if you don’t agree with them you’re brainwashed, you’re stupid, you’re ignorant.

I am none of these. I just have a different belief.

I had no issue with what they believed in. In fact, I think I was really supportive of them – I asked them questions about it, wrote a blog post that supported it and to an extent, promoted it. Another very close friend has exactly the same belief, and other than a bit of friendly banter both ways, it’s never had any impact on our friendship because we both respect each other’s beliefs.

If someone chooses to believe in something and live a certain way, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else, it’s their choice to make. 

Friendship should be based on respect for each other for who they are. My friend didn’t respect me, didn’t want me to be me. They wanted me to be someone else. That’s pretty hurtful, but I haven’t taken it personally. They’re choosing to surround themselves only with people with the same belief system, and alienating anyone who thinks differently. That’s a really unhealthy way to live.

Stupidly, their constant pushing did the opposite to what they wanted it to do. Instead of making me supportive of their choices, it’s driven me to be quite resentful and dismissive of it. The understanding and empathy that I had has gone.

I am not saying for one minute someone shouldn’t speak out for their beliefs. Quite the opposite. I’m always interested in hearing a different perspective, and I have, on the odd occasion, changed my thoughts about something. I’m open to debate and discussion. I’m not open to judgement, criticism and pushing.

You’re entitled to your beliefs…but don’t force them on me



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13 thoughts on “You’re Entitled To Your Beliefs…But Don’t Force Them On Me

  1. Me and one of my sisters had a very similar conversation last night, it ended in a complete rant as we finished one of our walks but luckily we had the same views, although on some points I don’t think we were quite as understanding as you! (ps I know I do it a lot but do you mind if I link to blog crush with this post?)

  2. So sorry to hear it came to that with your friend, it’s always sad to end a friendship. I am certain I would have done the same thing as you though, I can’t stand that either. I’m glad you’re not sad to lose them as a friend, it sounds like they had already alienated themselves by not allowing you to have an opinion.

  3. “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone”, well it hurts the animals.. you’re just conditioned not to see them as sentient creatures. That’s a you problem. When it comes to veganism, your opinions are worthless because you sound like a racist slave owner defending his ‘right’ to own slaves, or Adolf Hitler defending his ‘right’ to torture and murder Jews, or a rapist defending his ‘right’ to rape women. When you lifestyle choice has a victim, then you have no rights and I most certainly CAN and WILL force my opinions on you. Rachel, I’ve weighed you and measured you and found you desperately wanton.

      1. You can cry if you want to.. but we’re not going to stop being a voice for the voiceless to make you more comfortable. The very fact that all you can cry about is you, you… you, in the face of the magnitude of man’s outright hatred towards any creature that has the misfortune of being born non-human, tells us everything we ever needed to know about you. The truth is, it’s not about you. When vegans are all up in your business, it’s for the 5,500+ innocent and sentient creatures who are murdered each and every second that you (and others just like you) infest this planet. Trying to wake your type up is a complete waste of precious vegan time.

        You’re an analogue device on a digital network. A relic of a bygone era. Future generations will learn about and subsequently look back in horror at these very dark times. People like you are desperate to cling onto the old ways.. living in fear that vegans are going to take your cheeseburger away from you.

        PS; Your fears are justified. The party’s over, we’re turning on the lights and you’ve been making out with a pool cue for the past half an hour.

        1. Sobbing my heart out here. So scared of losing my cheeseburger, I don’t think I will sleep at all tonight.

          1. It must be tough to be on the wrong side of history. To know that history won’t even record you as a footnote. To know that there is no place for you and people like you in the future that vegans worldwide are working tirelessly to create. We don’t take days off, hell, we don’t even take breaks.

            Your little blog on some obscure and rarely visited crevasse of the Internet is no match for us. Because we’re not fighting for ourselves.. we’re fighting for others. Others who you would far too casually dismiss as food or raw materials for clothing. Creatures who kick and scream and who cry just as you or I would in their position. Creatures who want to live no less than we do, who feel pain and ultimately gruesome betrayal no differently to us.

            Your last word will have to be for your little echo-chamber because for me this conversation was over hours ago already.

        2. I really want to know what’s going to be done about the lions and tigers. Surely they need to be punished for their carnivorous diets!

          1. Is that it? Do you fancy yourself a carnivore? LOL

            … I’ll let someone else enlighten you as to the differences between a carnivore, an omnivore and a herbivore. Spoiler alert, you are neither a carnivore, nor an omnivore.

            But in a nutshell: in order to determine what is natural, one first needs to remove all technology. Fire for cooking is an example of technology. So, if you drive past road-kill and your stomach churns in hunger.. then you’re likely an omnivore. If not, and if you find the aroma and flavor of fruit palatable raw, with an oscillating jaw, long digestive tract for slowly digesting plant material, fingers for foraging, poor eyesight in any lighting conditions etc. then, you’re likely a herbivore. .. and carnivores cannot consume anything other than raw flesh off the carcass.

            But I’ll let someone else explain that to you. The only reason I came back is because a friend told me that there is a laugh to be had. I came, I lol’ed.. I’m out of here!

          2. Karen, basing your actions against what lions do is highly irregular. First off, if you’re doing to base your actions on what lions and tigers do, then don’t cherry pick. Some lions eat their cubs on occasion.. of course it would be madness for a human mother to eat her baby. Right? The carnivore brain is wired a LOT differently to a herbivore. Humans are much lower in the food chain than you clearly realize. We’re talking about 2000+ on the food chain, somewhere between muskrats and rabbits in fact. That means there are 2000+ animals just like the tigers and lions you mentioned that are more than capable of making a light snack out of us. We’re meat on 2 sticks for a carnivore, even a hungry omnivore would find killing us (in a pack if needs be) to be a worthwhile. If I offered you a slab of raw meat, and an apple.. you know what, never mind. You figure it out for yourself.

        3. WOW just WOW, any valid point that you were trying to “enlighten” us with has been lost in a load of twaddle and a useless tirade of insults. You dear sir are a cockwomble – an idiot of the highest degree

  4. Amen! I feel exactly the same way you do when it comes to opinions and beliefs. I have been consciously trying to not be so judgy of other people’s beliefs when they differ wildly from my own. I usually just keep my thoughts to myself if stuff comes up in conversation. 😉 #blogcrush

  5. It’s sad that we are divided and pushed away by differing beliefs when, irinicaly as you say, people are trying to hard to recruit others into their own camp! We had such an emotional time recently in Ireland over the abortion referrendum, this debate caused some harsh words and most probably many ‘unfollows’ on social media. So sorry to hear you’ve lost an old friend over differening beliefs though, I hope you are able to be reconciled inspite of your differences. On a positive note, congratulations on having your post selected by another blogger as a #blogcrush, feel free to pop over and grab your ‘I’ve been featured’ badge! xx

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