I have been a vegetarian all my life so far and plan to stick to it strongly in the future as well.
Everyone in my family in India is vegetarian. So, the idea of trying non-vegetarian food did not occur as such. But as I grew up and especially after coming to US, things did get tricky at times. My extended family is here and they all eat non-vegetarian food pretty often. I do not even take egg (Not that I am a vegan. I do take milk products). However, I have still managed to stay by what I wanted to be - a veggie.
The decision to strongly stick to vegetarian diet came with religious beliefs. But recently in last few months or years things have changed. My reasons for not having non-vegetarian food is not limited to spiritual concerns now. I feel, it has become more of a personal choice, my own decision.
I realized over time, that somewhere I have to be happy and confident with my decision rather than just being a follower of a religious belief or ritual. I have to truly believe in it to be able to follow it for the rest of my life. If I adhere to a vegetaian diet only because God (supposedly) says that or our religion advocates that, then I will start feeling suffocated. I would feel like breaking the rule. I will have arguments.
In hindsight, I believe there are two things particularly that gave me strength to stick to this decision of staying vegetarian:
1. The fact that I feel that it is MY decision makes it very easy to follow it. Think about it - whenever in life we do something out of our own free will, even if it goes wrong, we are not as upset as we will be, if we did it because so-and-so person asked for it. Also, we would try our best to make things work in the first shot.
When we do things because lets say, your family wanted that whereas it was not of your interest (as an example, think of parents expecting their child to do for engineering but he/she wants to pursue another field), then the moment something goes off the track, not only we will feel frustrated but we will jump onto the blame cart. We will start regretting and blaming the other person. In some cases, we may not even put in as much effort to bring things back on track because subconsciously we are not decicated to them. I have started following this principle in my life from last few months, which is:
Taking 100% responsibility of my actions.
If I say that I am doing this for lets say my family, then also it is a choice that I made. I could have went against their wish. I might say that I do not want to hurt them. But then, that makes it MY decision. In that situation, I should myself - Yes, I am taking this step only because of my family. But it is not only to make them happy but also it will give me happiness/contentment in some way. So, this is a decision I have made.
2. I just do not feel the need. It comes back to compassion for animals. With respect to the religion aspect, I would just say that my conscience does not allow me to change in this regard. Now, please know that this is just my personal opinion. With absolutely no offense to anyone who enjoys a non-vegetarian diet.
In some decisions in our lives, where we can hear our conscience very clearly, I think we should stick by it rather than conforming to someone's else expectations and likes or dislikes. I discussed this topic of vegetarian/non-vegetarian diet more as an example to convey this thought.
Stand up for what you truly believe in and do introspect once in a while to understand and listen to yourself. We are usually so caught up in the cacophony of the world around us that it becomes hard to even know what we really want.
Thanks for reading.