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There are days when I feel powerless and overwhelmed by all that happens. What can I do? What can we do? How can I ever feel I've done enough? It's easy to lose hope and direction. To be angry, sad, disappointed and afraid.
When I feel that way, there are a few things i need to remind myself of:
Your feelings are real, true and wise.
What you know is true. Your grief and anger over the state of the world are justified, it is a very reasonable response. You feel this way because you choose to see things as they are and not turn a blind eye. That you choose not to numb yourself.
Surround yourself with people who understand this, and who would never tell you to stop exaggerating or that you should get a grip. (And please do not say those things to yourself either.)
Remember what you want (not just what you do not want).
What is important to you and why, what are you passionate about? Do not let misery cloud your view, turn off Facebook and the news if you need to, for you to hear your own inner voice. Remind yourself of what kind of world you want to create, repeat that vision for yourself, let it empower you.
When your vision is stronger than your fear, the paralysis releases it’s grip and you can move forward again.
It's easy to let your thoughts be hijacked by the news or by social media. To get stuck in beeing reactive, to fight one dragon after the other without vision or strategy. That’s exhaustive and not very effective. Look up and direct your focus. What is important to you?
Choose the way you want to contribute right now.
Take out pen and paper and draw three circles that overlap in the middle. One circle represents your vision, what you want to contribute, what matters to you. The next circle represent what you are great at, your superpower. The third circle represents what you like to do, what lights you up, what makes you feel alive.
What's in the overlap? Choose how you want to contribute right now, in a way that suits you, How can you make a difference in an area that matters most to you, while using your unique gifts.
Perhaps you want to take in some other perspectives when you make your choice. For example, how can you choose something lets you be with people you love, or how can you choose something that matches the amount of time and energy you currently have.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to get engaged in a political party. Sometimes a more short-term commitment is a better idea, maybe something where you can contribute a couple of hours a week. Supporting an organization with your membership or a financial contribution are other options. The important thing is that you choose a way to channel your frustration into action. Keep in mind that every piece of the puzzle is equally important, no matter how big or small it is.
Eat good food. Get enough sleep. Allow yourself to enjoy a walk, an ice cream, a bath, a conversation with a good friend. It's so easy to feel insufficient or impatient, or to feel ashamed because you're safe and sound and have a roof over your head, when so many others are suffering.
But you deserve to feel good. You are entitled to enjoy your life. Yes, you have a responsibility for the world, but you share that responsibility with all the other people on this planet. Just as we all share the right to a good life. You make no one happier because you deny yourself happiness.
Remember, you're more powerful than you imagine. And you're not alone. We are many, many who cry, and then get up, organize and keep on changing the world, one step at a time.
Note to self, for hopeless days: breathe. And read this blog post again.