Bringing Balance to our Activism
Do pleas for help flood your inboxes and mailboxes? Just this week I received such an email, outlining the present plight and giving a call to action. This email even went so far as to include links that provided contact information, making it easier to jump into action.
My immediate reaction is to feel the need to click on the links and respond. After all, it is my civic responsibility. What if everyone thinks someone else will respond, so no one does? The reality is many will respond. I do believe each voice makes a difference. I don't believe my voice always has to be heard.
I get dozens of these calls to action a year...usually multiple each week. How should I use my time with respect to activism? If I respond to each and every call to action, is that a wise utilization of my time? What criteria do I employ when deciding to get involved?
Well, first, it isn't my responsibility to save the world. I can't do everything. No one (but me!) expects me to do everything. When I fall into the mentality of I have to respond to every plea to keep the world from spinning off its axis, then I am allowing the Superwoman Syndrome to creep back in. So first, I give myself permission to NOT respond.
Second, I have to be discerning -- discerning about what the present plight and call to action are, and what they are not. In our age of media sensationalism, the "good guys" are as guilty of overstating their cause as the "bad guys". Who you deem "good" and "bad" will depend on your particular world view...but the reality is everyone has a tendency to skew literature to their benefit. So I rarely take anything at face value. Before I decide to act, I try to make sure I have all the information, asking the right questions to the right people.
Third, I listen to the little nudge that says, "You need to pay attention to this." If I don't get that nudge, I hit delete without another thought. I can now actually throw away mail without even opening it! Remember, I've already given myself permission to NOT respond!
So many activities vie for my time and attention. When we bring balance to our activism we have more time and energy to truly make an impact for the organizations that we do choose to become involved with.
A reader suggested "Bringing Balance to our Attitudes" would be a good start to this series. An excellent idea, but since we discussed attitudes recently, I thought we'd cover another topic. Please keep your ABC ideas coming!