How to feel like your’ doing enough…
And how to move past all the guilt and actually make a difference in the world
I’ve been thinking about all the things that need fixing in America (and the rest of the world). It’s overwhelming really, which is probably why most people fail to act on the things that they say outrage and bother them.
I go through that a lot lately. The thing I’m most passionate about right now is helping women speak-up and be heard. As far as I’m concerned bridging that gap is the key to gender equality. So I start reading and writing about these issues, and the next thing you know I feel like I should also be addressing intersectional feminism, racial inequality as a whole, reproductive rights, sexual and socio-economic discrimination, as well as what it’s like to be a man who has to contend with so much change and blame.
I get pulled left. I get pulled right. I feel guilty and derelict for not addressing it all. I start a post, write something completely different than I meant to, then erase it all because it’s too much to process.
I’m not alone, there’s a lot to address if we‘re serious about building the world we want. Top on my list is social change, but for you the big issue might be what your kids are fed in school, gun laws (pro or against), how your religion, culture or values are represented in the world, or simply getting your community to keep your parks and playgrounds clean.
There are definitely times I feel stuck. I’m not sure where to start or what to focus my efforts on, that’s when I remember to go back to the basics and figure out what’s right for me.
I remind myself that I have to stop worrying about doing it all, or even about doing the RIGHT thing, and instead I need to just focus on doing SOMEthing. I go back to being true to who I am and I make choices that reflect my values and needs.
I overcome that feeling of overwhelm by focusing on a single issue to work on now, and I know that in the future should I feel compelled to address something else then I can and will.
Bridge the Gap this week by…
My SOMEthing is bridging the gap. It’s getting people to talk to one another, to combat the discrimination and inequality in our world by connecting and working together. My focus with bridging the gap is gender equality, which doesn’t mean I ignore other forms of discrimination or inequality, it just means women’s rights are my starting point.
The topic is broad, the issue longstanding, systemic and entrenched, so I start small, practical and with actions that realistically align with my values and my world as it is.
Whatever your something is, you too can bridge a gap:
- Take 5 minutes to think of a pet peeve or an issue that’s near and dear to me.
- Finding at least one other person who will listen as you share your thoughts or passion on this topic. (Bonus points if this person doesn’t see things your way but is willing to engage in civil discussion on the topic)
- Look for tangible ways you can actively speak up and bridge the gap. For me it’s sometimes as simple as helping a client or patient find her words, or explaining to my sons why Serena Williams’ fine, although based on US open rules, still reeks of bias and inequality in the standards applied to men and women.
- Share your activism on social media, and let the world know what you care about.
- Don’t forget to add the #bridgethegap, #speakup and/or tag @lifeinfocussd so I too can be part of your movement.
Together we are stronger. Your voice and your choices matter, even the smallest actions. They add up to making you the person you are and hope to be. They also matter to all the people who are not yet ready or allowed to speak up.
For some extra motivation and inspiration, I’ll leave you with the words of one of history’s more daring and trailblazing women: