4 Essential Steps To Explain Your Ethical Lifestyle Without Pissing People Off

Explaining your ethical lifestyle involves talking about ethics and values. This can turn innocent discussions into arguments. Here’s how to explain your ethical lifestyle without pissing people off. #ethicalliving #ethicallifestyle #sustainableliving

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Discussions are always better than arguments…
Arguments find out who is right
Discussions find out what is right

Ethical Living Crash Course

Many people think that ethical living is an extreme lifestyle for “those hippies” who want to end child labor and/or climate change by buying soap made from sticks.

…it’s not that simple. (I wish it were!)

This is a lifestyle that sparks positive change.

Living ethically involves making conscious decisions that reflect the ethics and moral values in regards to causes such as:

  • what you buy (consumerism)
  • maintaining ecological balance (sustainability)
  • protecting the environment (environmentalism)
  • animal welfare
  • human rights
  • etc.

^ These moral priorities drive decisions that influence our daily actions.

Ethical living is…

  • a personal choice
  • a philosophy
  • a lifestyle

But more specifically, the ethical lifestyle involves…Intentional Daily Action

Ethical Living Is NOT…

  • an organized social movement
  • “just a trend” – it’s more than that! 😉

An ethical lifestyle is important because big changes on the institutional level begin with small changes on the individual level.

Let me break it down a bit…

  • living = small, consistent actions
  • ethical living = small, consistent actions with a positive impact in the short and long-term

With more and more people choosing to live ethically, more companies and bigger institutions will change the way they operate to respect our choices and moral values.

Big institutions make decisions based on where the money is. As consumers, we can make mass change by changing the way we live.

Not everyone needs to live ethically, but we need millions of people living ethically to generate the change that we all deserve as humans.

So…

How do you explain the ethical lifestyle without pissing people off?

3 Tips For Effortless & Charming Discussions

Tip #1 – Know that you are not always right in every single argument.

This is especially true if you’ve never challenged your own belief system (political, religious, or any other topic). In fact, you might be responding to people with conditioned answers.

To overcome this: You need to genuinely try to understand other perspectives so you can get a more accurate view of the world. (simple but not easy!)

Tip #2 – Enter discussions knowing that you could change your mind/viewpoint. That doesn’t not make you “weak” or “stupid”! Quite the opposite. Humans share experiences and those experiences shape your worldview. It’s an ever-changing part of the human experience.

Tip #3 – They most likely are NOT evil.

If you’ve taken the time to understand the other person and they’re still wrong and/or attacking you, it’s almost never because they are evil.

It’s because they are still somehow ignorant.

To overcome this: Engage in a dialogue without triggering their defense mechanisms. This is one of the only rational ways to lift that ignorance.

“If you have ideas you believe in, you should be willing to engage or be willing to test those ideas against somebody that you don’t agree with.” – Trevor Noah

How To Explain The Ethical Lifestyle Without Pissing People Off

Step 1: Slow Things Down

The last thing you want is for this to end as a nasty argument.

Slowing things down indicates that you aren’t here to fight.

In fact, right at the beginning, it’s the first step to prevent emotions from getting too heated.

How do you prevent emotions from getting too heated?

  • Pause what you’re saying to reduce the tension and open the other person up to their perspective.
  • Nod while taking a subtle but conscious breath as you are about to speak.
  • End your sentences/questions with upward inflection as to de-escalate and reassure others that you’re not to control them.
  • Make a joke! Simply poke fun at the fact that both sides usually try to tear each other apart. (Note: If you make jokes, you need to laugh at jokes when they target your side)

Step 2: Ask Questions, Don’t Make Statements

STOP!

Don’t try to throw those 50 facts into the battlefield yet.

Ask questions instead of making statements. Why?

Questions tend to come across as less confrontational than statements. The key is to ask questions that are NOT provocative or accusatory.

There are 2 types of questions…

Question Type #1: Genuine questions aimed at trying to understand the other person’s view.

Here’s the thing: you do not know someone’s personal beliefs simply by knowing one of their affiliations.

You need to genuinely try to understand what they believe as an individual.

How do you do that?

Genuine questions that work towards understanding are the only way there to make sure that you truly understand someone correctly.

Question Type #2: Reword their beliefs in your own words after genuinely trying to understand them. Then, do not continue the discussion until they confirm that you understand their personal viewpoint and beliefs.

The goal: try your best to understand someone’s position.

But why?

Well, so that you can frame your disagreements in the form of questions that gives the other person a chance to respond without feeling cornered.

Remember…this is a discussion and no one wants to get offended or attacked.

“The goal of argument is not to be right. It is to get it right.”

Step 3: Give Validation + An Explanation

Careful!

When you think your beliefs are challenged unfairly, it’s easy to get offended and escalate the discussion to an argument.

Your goal: confidently defend yourself without sounding hostile.

But HOW?

It’s simple!

Use this formula:

[ “Yes, but” ] + [ explanation – WHY the accusation is natural, not that bad, etc.]

Here’s an example that I made up…

Yes, all climate change solutions cost money. In fact, it’s natural and absolutely necessary to think about expenses. But everything costs money. And in the case of climate change, our biggest expense is losing lives. We will lose human, animal, and plant life if we don’t take care of our environment by investing in climate change solutions right now. So yes, every solution costs money but, to me, it’s worth it.

Basically, you want to find a way to validate them by saying “yes” to something about the person or the person’s argument.

The “yes” could validate:

  • The entire accusation
  • Part of the accusation
  • The person’s intentions

It may seem subtle, but finding any area of agreement can be critical to moving forward without making enemies.

When it comes to explaining the ethical lifestyle, you will definitely run into people who want to start an argument.

Why?

Because talking about the ethical lifestyle means talking about ethics and values!

Even if your position is perfectly logical…

Even if you have genuinely positive intentions…

People’s egos get tied up in their arguments. That means that, oftentimes when you reject someone’s viewpoint, they feel personally attacked.

Step 4: If Nothing Makes Sense: Recognize Their Intentions

Okay…let’s be honest.

Sometimes, you run into someone who WANTS to argue or just says stuff that doesn’t not make sense.

This is what to do:

  • Simply recognize that they probably have positive intentions and truly believe what they’re saying.
  • Reaffirm what you agree with and what you disagree with.
  • Recognize that they most likely are not attacking you personally.
  • Use the script below to explain YOUR ethical lifestyle one last time before trying to leave the discussion.

Scripted Template: How To Explain YOUR Ethical Lifestyle To Friends & Family

Ethical living looks different for everyone so there’s no “one size fits all” script on how to explain your lifestyle to other people.

But here’s a good start. 😉

Ethical living looks different for everyone. For me, it means that I ___(am vegan, buy reusable products, buy fair-trade certified products)___ so that ___[ explain the causes that you support and why ]____.

Doing all of this is a personal choice and I can tell you more about it if you’re interested.

I always like to encourage people to look into making small ethical lifestyle changes so that together we can generate the change that we all deserve as humans.

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Explaining your ethical lifestyle involves talking about ethics and values. This can turn innocent discussions into arguments. Here's how to explain your ethical lifestyle without pissing people off. #ethicalliving #ethicallifestyle #sustainableliving

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